ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com Trail Blazers Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)
GoldenState Warriors' assistant coach, Michael Malone, is viewed by most asthe hottest head coaching candidate out on the market. CSNNW.com haslearned that Malone would have a great deal of interest in thePortland Trail Blazers head coaching position, according to multiplesources.
Whenpressed, his agent, Steve Kauffman, who does not like to discussthese matters publicly, admitted that Portland is a prime situationfor any potential head coach.
"TheBlazers have great ownership, it's a beautiful diverse city andprobably has the best fans in the NBA," Kauffman told CSNNW.com.
Malone, 39, was named the best assistant coach in the league in an NBA.com GMsurvey. He has interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats head coachingvacancy and will be looked at by the Orlando Magic shortly.
Speakingof the Magic, Malone is the son of Orlando's assistant coach BrendanMalone.
TheTrail Blazers are in the process of a thorough search for their nextgeneral manger and president Larry Miller says the ideal situation isto allow the next general manger to bring in his own staff.
However,Miller has said if there's a coach of interest available, they willnot hesitate to change plans and pursue that individual.
CSNNW.comspoke with Miller on Monday and he said they're still focusedprimarily on the general manager search.
Witha prospect as coveted a Malone, why wait?
It'sbeen over a year since the Trail Blazers have had a general managerin place and their timing could come to bite them on the backside ifthis search is prolonged any further.
TheTrail Blazers could miss out on key coaching candidates.
It'svery possible the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers very well could be lookingfor their next head coach real soon and you can bet Malone will be ontheir short list, as well.
Afterthis 28-38 season the Trail Blazers just endured, a spicy name such asMalone to go with (potentially) a couple of first round picks in theupcoming NBA Draft is exactly the kind of splash this organizationneeds this off-season.
Noone truly knows how good of a head coach Malone will be, but If themajority of the league thinks he's one of the up-and-coming greatcoaches in the association, the decision to interview Maloneimmediately should be automatic on the Trail Blazers' part.
Malonehas 11 years of NBA coaching experience with previous stints in NewYork, Cleveland, and New Orleans.