Malone's status will bring uncertainty this offseason

April 10, 2012, 5:16 pm
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Theres a school of thought out there among some Warriorsfans in which things really begin to come together during the 2012-13season.The Warriors finally have a center, and Andrew Bogut is apretty good one when hes healthy. Stephen Curry, fingers crossed, willhopefully return and his right ankle will be completely healed.And theres also the matter of the Warriors draft pick. Ifthe Warriors get a break or during the NBA lottery, theyll end up getting atop-seven pick and be able to add to their talent pool.In other words, things seem to be locking in.But theres a wild card out there, and unknown that couldwind up throwing a monkey wrench into the plans. That wild card is MichaelMalone.Malone, of course, is the Warriors top assistant coach andhes sure to get a few sniffs come this offseason. But hes more than just theWarriors No. 1 assistant. Malone is considered one of the best young assistantcoaches in the game and it seems only a matter of time before he becomes a headcoach.And if this is Malones time to get a head job, then theWarriors will be negatively impacted.As far as assistant coaches go, few if any have moreinput and influence than Malone. If you sit outside a practice at the Warriorsfacility, it is Malones voice mostly heard echoing within the gym.When the Warriors are in a tight game, and need a bucket, itis Malone who draws up the plays in the huddle. When head coach Mark Jacksonpaces the sidelines, it invariably is Malone who approaches him with asuggestion or gives him advice.The Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Portland TrailBlazers and L.A. Clippers, and maybe another team or two, figure to have headcoaching openings this offseason.And its likely Malone will be a candidate in one or more ofthose places. It sure seems like Malone could have a busy summer. There alreadyhas been a report that the Magics Dwight Howard wants Malone to be Orlandoshead coach. And there is a history between Clippers point guard Chris Paul andMalone, both of whom were in New Orleans.In other words, the Warriors have all their importantplayers signed and under contract for next season. The big unknown, however, iswhether their top assistant coach will return.