As the Timberwolves prepare to face the Phoenix Suns Friday, Wolves coach Flip Saunders has brought in another former NBA coach join the Wolves on the remainder of the road trip.
Former Sacramento coach Mike Malone was at the Wolves practice on Thursday. He will remain with the team for the rest of the trip, which includes games on Saturday and Monday.
Malone, who was fired last month, is familiar with several of the Wolves already. He coached Mo Williams in Cleveland and knows Kevin Martin.
Saunders, who doubles as the team's President of Basketball Operations, spent months trying to find the right coach to take over the Wolves in the offseason, before eventually deciding to take on the job himself.
Does this make Malone a candidate to take over at some point?
Saunders brushed any such talk aside. He told the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda that he's done it before with other coaches, who have been fired because "the first three days you get 120 calls. Everyone tells you how great you are and two weeks later, no one talks to you."
Malone's Sacramento team got off to an 11-10 start before an injury to DeMarcus Cousins caused them to slip. The Kings slid to 16-22 and Malone was let go in December.
But as 1500 ESPN writer Derek James notes, Malone's presence may be a way for Saunders to take a look at how Malone handles the Wolves' youngsters.
"Saunders may see bringing Malone around for an extended period of time as not only a way to wet Malone's coaching appetite, but see if maybe there is something for the young Timberwolves to absorb."
Malone is described as a defensive specialist. If nothing else his presence might help the Wolves – who are currently last in the league in defense – gain some outside perspective.