View Full Version : Sources: Kings hire Musselman as Adelman's replacement

06-02-2006, 08:19 PM
Sources: Kings hire Musselman as Adelman's replacement

By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings hired Memphis Grizzlies assistant Eric Musselman on Friday as their new head coach, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.

Musselman coached the Golden State Warriors during two surprisingly successful seasons from 2002-04. He will replace Rick Adelman, who became the winningest coach in franchise history during eight standout seasons before the Maloof family dismissed him May 9.

After a meandering search that stretched nearly four weeks but included only three clear candidates, the Kings have filled the NBA's only coaching vacancy with Musselman, one of the league's most respected young minds.

The club planned a news conference Saturday to announce the deal, according to the two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because final details of the contract still were being worked out.

The 41-year-old Musselman will be the 20th head coach in the history of a franchise that began life as the Rochester Royals in 1948. Adelman easily was the most successful coach in the club's 58 seasons, winning 395 games -- 100 more than Les Harrison, who coached the franchise to its only championship in 1951.

Adelman enjoyed eight consecutive winning seasons and subsequent playoff trips after taking over the Kings in 1998, earning two Pacific Division titles and going as far as Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference finals.

But owners Joe and Gavin Maloof decided not to renew Adelman's contract, primarily citing years of sub-par defense from one of the NBA's most exciting teams. Adelman also had spotty communication with the brothers, who could be seen yelling criticism at their coach from their courtside seats late in the season.

The Kings' record had declined in four consecutive seasons during a wholesale roster overhaul that left guard Mike Bibby as the only remaining player from the 2001-02 club. Though Adelman led an impressive midseason revival when the Kings acquired Ron Artest in January, Sacramento lost to San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs.

Sacramento also interviewed Golden State assistant Mario Elie and Sacramento Monarchs coach John Whisenant for the job, but Musselman won over the entire Maloof clan -- including Colleen Maloof, mother of the four sons who preside over the family's extensive business empire -- and president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie.

Musselman, a former University of San Diego point guard, has been a coaching prodigy since getting his first head job in the Continental Basketball Association at just 23. After compiling the second-highest winning percentage in CBA history behind George Karl, Musselman was an NBA assistant in Minnesota, Orlando and Atlanta.

In 2002, he was hired to coach moribund Golden State, where he went 75-89 despite two largely unimpressive rosters. He was the runner-up for the NBA's coach of the year award in 2003, won by San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

Though his teams were more competitive than any Warriors clubs in the previous half-decade, he was fired when he clashed with players and incoming boss Chris Mullin. Many Warriors didn't appreciate a sometimes autocratic management style compared by many to his hard-nosed father, the late former Cleveland and Minnesota head coach Bill Musselman.

But when the Maloofs went looking for a charismatic, defense-oriented coach who will apply more discipline than Adelman, Eric Musselman fit the bill.

Musselman also is known for wowing potential employers in interviews. Former Golden State general manager Garry St. Jean reportedly hired Musselman for the club's top job after first interviewing Musselman only as a possible assistant.

He spent the last two seasons as the top assistant in Memphis coach Mike Fratello's defense-heavy system. He interviewed for the head coaching vacancies in Minnesota and Orlando last year.

Whisenant, a longtime friend of the Maloofs who never played or coached in the NBA, was thought to be the family's choice for the job last weekend -- but reports of his candidacy were widely blasted by fans and media in Sacramento, and Whisenant never got a second interview in Las Vegas.

06-02-2006, 08:27 PM
I was hoping they'd hire the WNBA guy. Would have been a better story.

06-02-2006, 08:38 PM
nice pickup... should do great there

06-02-2006, 09:08 PM
good to see this guy getting another shot..let's see what he does with his opportunity.

Definitely a better mix of players than he had in Golden State.