After being formally introduced as the Kings head coach Monday, Michael Malone didn't discourage speculation about his new team's possible pursuit of free-agent-to-be Chris Paul. Among other things, the Clippers point guard is upset because Clips owner Donald Sterling told reporters that coach Vinny Del Negro was fired because his most important players - Paul and Blake Griffin - weren't fans. More importantly, Malone, who spent 12 years as an NBA assistant before landing the Kings job, became close with Paul when the two were with the New Orleans Hornets.
"Obviously, Chris would look pretty good in a Sacramento Kings uniform without a doubt," Malone said. "He's a great friend, somebody I had a great relationship with when I spent time with him in New Orleans. We stay in touch. He's got a lot of things going on right now. As I told him recently, I care about him. I hope he's okay, and whatever decision he makes is best for him and his family, and I'll always be rooting for him."
And, by the way, the name is Michael. Malone's father, Brendan, who will be an assistant on the Kings coaching staff, said no one in the family has ever called him "Mike." The family's deep Irish Catholic roots were apparent during the media session: Michael Malone's daughters, Caitlin (8) and Bridget (6), have thick red hair.