Check out quotes from Monday’s press conference, featuring Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé and Head Coach Michael Malone.
Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Coach Mike Malone is our new head coach, and I’d like to welcome him and his beautiful family to the Kings family. Welcome, Coach.
“I’ve known Coach for more than two years now, and I’ve had the opportunity to watch him up-close. I’ve seen him in practice, I’ve seen him at games, I’ve seen him in timeouts, sat next to him at the Draft last year – without question, he’s the best out there. So when I had the opportunity to make him our head coach, I jumped at that chance. Now, I’m not a person who shoots from the hip or makes quick decisions – I’m a deliberate thinker. But this was not a case where I was 90 or 99 percent sure I had the best person – I was 100 percent sure I had the absolute best person and it’s a real privilege and an honor for me to introduce Coach Mike Malone as our new head coach.”
On how Coach Malone fits vision for franchise:
“We believe in excellence at all levels. We’re going to have a high bar. We think we have the best fans in the NBA, and we need to give them excellence across the board. I believe Coach Malone exemplifies all of that. We’re going to have a value system of hard work, of integrity (and) of working together.
“It’s a process – it’s going to take a couple of years – and our success criteria aren’t going to be wins and losses right off the bat. If we see player improvement, if we see a system in place – we don’t want to be last in all defensive categories, so we want to see improvement there.”
On DeMarcus Cousins:
“The first thing I did after the deal was approved was actually reach out to DeMarcus, and I had a nice exchange with him. I said, ‘My friend, Steve Jobs, liked to say, “Let’s put a dent in the universe,” and ‘DeMarcus, let’s do something big.’ He said, ‘I like the sound of that.’ So, I’ve had numerous exchanges with him, I’ve spoken to him on the phone.
“We want to create a global brand here, a global franchise, and I said, ‘I’d like nothing better than a billion Indians to know who DeMarcus Cousins is.’ He is one of the most talented big men out there, he’s a tremendous athlete. I’ve seen how Coach has worked with other people, and I have no doubt it’s going to be a big plus for DeMarcus.”
Kings Head Coach Michael Malone
“I wanted to start off by saying, ‘Thank you’ to Vivek, to Mark (Mastrov) and to the entire ownership group for selecting me as the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
“I’ve been around this business for a long time and I don’t take this lightly at all. The fact (Vivek) believes in me as much as he does means the world to me and to my family. I’ve given him my word, and I give all the great fans of the Sacramento Kings my word that we’re going to do everything in our power – starting today – to turn this franchise around and get back to where we were in the glory days of Kings basketball – where they were in the Playoffs every year. That is definitely going to be a goal of ours. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and it’s going to be a great challenge, but it’s one my staff and I will embrace whole-heartedly. (We’ll) leave everything on that floor every single night (so) our fans can be proud of us on the floor, as well as in the community.”
On coaching staff:
“As of right now, I have not hired anybody officially. There is a certain member of my family who has a good chance of joining my staff, in my father. As I told people recently, I’m not hiring my father because he’s my father. I’d be hiring my father because he has 25 years of experience in the NBA as a head coach (and) as an assistant coach. He’s seen and lived through almost every experience possible you can go through as an NBA coach. He’ll be on the staff at some point, but right now, this is Day 1, hopefully in a very long journey, and I’ll start addressing the staff probably within the next couple of weeks.”
On talking to current Kings players:
“The one player I have an existing relationship with is Marcus Thornton. I coached Marcus in New Orleans, and we’ve exchanged texts. Isaiah Thomas and I have exchanged texts with each other. But really, aside from that, it’s been a crazy couple of days, and now that we have this press conference out of the way, my plan is to get out on the road and to meet with as many of our players face-to-face, for them to get a feel for me, introduce myself, tell them what my vision is for this team moving forward. You get a chance to meet them and listen to them, because they’ve been here, they’ve been in that locker room, and they can offer some insights to me and educate me as to what’s gone on here. (I’ll) listen to some of their suggestions, as well.”
On quick turnaround with the Kings:
“We’re not going to guarantee the Playoffs in the first year, like we did in Golden State. There’s a lot of talent on (the Kings). When you look offensively, the Sacramento Kings were a very efficient offensive team. The thing that is so exciting about this team, this opportunity, is working for a terrific and committed ownership group like Vivek and Mark and the rest of the guys.
“Defensively, obviously, we all know – it’s no secret – they were a very poor defensive team. That’s going to be one of the keys this year – establishing ourselves as a defensive-first team, and that takes hard work. But if we can get our guys to commit and buy-in, and maintain some of the offensive efficiency they’ve shown, I think there could be a fairly quick turnaround.
“For me, Year 1 will not be based on wins and losses. It’s going to be more based on changing the culture, becoming a defensive team and developing every player on our roster so they’re improving throughout the season.”
On excitement in joining the Kings:
“It’s a great opportunity. I know we’re going to embrace this challenge, and with the support of our great ownership group, I think we have a chance to do some great things in Year 1, as well as moving forward.
“Once the season ended, I had a chance to speak to Vivek, and I saw how passionate he was about getting this team, along with the Mayor, Kevin Johnson, and the great fans. Once they got it, they had 20,000 people show up at the Long Live The Kings Rally. This really was a dream come true. Out of all the jobs I could’ve been involved with, this is one that excited me the most.”
On DeMarcus Cousins:
“Whether it’s DeMarcus, Tyreke (Evans), Isaiah – whoever it is – I’m very much looking forward to having the chance to sit with all of those guys, DeMarcus included, and let him get a feel for who I am, what my expectations are, what my vision for this team is.
“At the end of the day, these players are all going to have a choice to make – you’re either going to embrace the change or you’re going to resist – and I anticipate all these guys embracing it because … I can’t imagine anybody in that locker room likes losing or likes being a part of a losing team year-in and year-out. So, if I can give them just a vision and get them to buy-in and believe and accept coaching, whether it’s DeMarcus or anybody, that’ll be the first step in turning this program around.
“With that being said, I’m not going to go in with any preconceived notions about DeMarcus … I’m going to accept him with open arms because we all know, on any given night, he’s the most talented big man in the NBA.”