SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Memphis assistant coach Eric Musselman is scheduled for a second interview Wednesday with the top brass of the Sacramento Kings, whose search for a new head coach has stretched into a fourth week.
Musselman, who coached the Golden State Warriors for two surprisingly successful seasons from 2002-04, traveled to Las Vegas for a Wednesday night meeting with Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof and president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie at the Palms, the Maloof family's casino.
Musselman, Mike Fratello's top assistant with the Grizzlies, was among the coaches who interviewed for the job last week. Golden State assistant Mario Elie and Sacramento Monarchs coach John Whisenant, a longtime Maloof family friend thought to be the initial front-runner, also got initial interviews.
The Maloof brothers dismissed coach Rick Adelman on May 9 after eight consecutive winning seasons and the longest sustained run of success in franchise history. Sacramento reached the playoffs this spring for the eighth straight season, but lost a first-round series with the San Antonio Spurs in six games.
The Maloofs said they wanted a coach with a strong defensive mindset and winning NBA experience -- but after their first round of interviews, Whisenant reportedly was their top choice despite no
experience playing or coaching in the NBA.
The Kings didn't even interview P.J. Carlesimo, an assistant on San Antonio's last two championship teams, despite initially expressing interest in the former Golden State and Portland coach.
Musselman would be a more logical choice, given his extensive experience at all levels of pro coaching and scouting. He was a
head coach for seven seasons in the CBA, getting his first job at
23, and was an assistant with Minnesota and Orlando before landing
the job with Golden State in 2002.
Musselman went 75-89 in two seasons with the Warriors, making the longtime losers competitive for the first time in a half-decade, but was fired after clashing with players and Chris Mullin, the club's incoming top executive.
Musselman has a disciplined, defense-oriented approach that would be welcomed in Sacramento, where the Kings' defensive shortcomings were part of Adelman's downfall despite his 395 victories.