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Cross Mike Malone off the list -- Warriors assistant hired by Kings

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Warriors assistant Mike Malone, rumored to be a candidate for the Clippers head coaching job, has been hired by the Sacramento Kings as their new head coach.

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Looks like Peter Vecsey was right after all -- the Sacramento Kings moved quickly and got the coach they wanted. According to Adrian Wajnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Kings have reached an agreement with Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone to become their new head coach. The deal is for four years and $9M -- with the fourth year being a team option.

That's a pretty generous contract for a first-time-ever Head Coach, but Vivek Ranadive and his ownership group just spent a hell of a lot more than $9M to buy the Kings, so getting the coach they wanted must have felt a bit like chump change in comparison. It also seems like Malone was using the Clippers as a stalking horse for the Kings -- Sam Amick reported on Wednesday that Malone was going to interview for the coveted Clippers job and on Wednesday he signs a long term contract with the Kings. Well played, Steve Kauffman (Malone's agent) -- well played.

Malone replaces Keith Smart as the first change under the new ownership regime.

The hiring leaves the primary candidates for the Clippers job as Byron Scott, Brian Shaw, Nate McMillan, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and the brothers Van Gundy. Dan Woike of the OC Register reports that Jeff Van Gundy and Shaw top their wish list.