One day he wants to be a policeman, the next a politician.

Remember Gov. Malone?

The Mailman has never actually run for office. But the one-time actor, ex-pro wrestler and occasional monster-truck driver does oversee a logging operation at his Arkansas ranch. And now NBA retiree Karl Malone is thinking, again, about another profession.

First step toward answering the latest calling came Monday, when the league's No. 2 all-time scorer spent the morning as a talent evaluator.

But fear not, Paula Abdul. Ol' No. 32 does not aspire to be an "American Idol" judge. At least not this week.

Rather, the current fancy filling the former power forward's mind is a return to the game that kept him employed in Utah for 18 years and made him a multimillionaire.

Scout? Coach? General manager?

Who knows?

"Am I looking one day to be more involved and more active in (basketball)? Absolutely," Malone said as he sat at the Jazz's practice facility after helping franchise brass assess four first-round prospects — Duke power forward Shelden Williams, and centers Hilton Armstrong of UConn, Mouhamed Saer Sene from Senegal and Patrick O'Bryant of Bradley — for the June 28 NBA Draft. "But it's just a step — kind of like starting off again, at the same place.

"I don't mind starting at the bottom, being on the sideline," he added. "When I came out of college (Louisiana Tech, in 1985), I did the same thing."

Malone said that since his 2004 retirement, after he capped a 19-year career with one season away from Utah playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, multiple NBA teams have contacted him about joining their organization in one capacity or another.

One — before Hurricane Katrina prompted their supposedly temporary relocation from his native Louisiana prior to the start of the 2005-06 season — was the New Orleans Hornets, who for at least another year will play most of their home games in Oklahoma City.

"We had really good dialogue last year, but I didn't want to just jump back into it," Malone said. "We had a great conversation with (Hornets owner) Mr. (George) Shinn, and we talked candidly about a lot of things."

This year, Malone said without being specific, "a couple teams other than the Jazz" have made overtures as well.

"I've had opportunities to learn," he said, "from people that say, 'Hey, when you're ready to do this, come here.'"

"Each time, Malone — who has publicly pondered a coaching or front-office career since long before he stopped playing, and had Jazz owner Larry H. Miller broach the subject again at his retirement announcement — felt he was not ready to take the plunge.

"I said, 'Well, let me get my feet wet first,'" he said.

When asked to watch Monday's audition, however, Malone decided to at least test the water — on his own dime, he let it be known.

"I've been talking to the Jazz, really, for the last couple months," he said. "They called, and (asked) would I be interested in coming up and seeing what I think. And I said, 'Why not?'

"This is the reason I came," Malone added. "I wasn't 'passing through.' ... I have ambitions of things that I would like to try. It's 'a step.'"

Where the road leads, though, is anyone's guess.

"I didn't know what I would feel once I got here," he said. "But I liked it a little bit. ... I like this, for no more reason than I like to see young kids that want to play."

Besides watching the big men, Malone — who did not play — offered advice to each.

"That's a guy I used to look up to, and try to take some things out of his game and into my game. And for him to watch us is a great experience," said Williams, who dined Sunday night with Malone. "He said, 'Don't try to put too much pressure on yourself. Whether you make shots or you miss shots, all you can do is show a lot of effort ... and whatever happens from there happens from there.'"

What happens with Malone, as so often is the case, remains to be seen.

Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's senior vice president of basketball operations, seemed to downplay The Mailman's presence Monday.

"We'd like to keep him involved in the program," he said.

"We asked if he'd have an opportunity to do that, and he was gracious enough to come out," O'Connor added. "We're happy to have his input, to be honest with you."

Such was also the case, O'Connor suggested, when retired point guard John Stockton helped scout a pre-draft camp in Chicago last year and when retired shooting guard Jeff Hornacek worked with swingman Andrei Kirilenko on his shot.

"We like to keep those guys involved as much as they can," O'Connor said. "But, you know, they have full-time lives."

Even Malone admits he isn't sure if he's interested in a 40-plus-hour basketball workweek.

"I know being a coach — assistant, head coach, whatever — that's 'the grind' all over again," he said. "Another level, you have a little more leeway.

"I don't know if it will be 'full-time,'" Malone added. "In some capacity, who know? I'm not saying I'm throwing my hat in the ring. But it would have to be the right situation for me. And it would have to be the right situation for a team."

Which team?

Not surprisingly, Malone was noncommittal.

"I'm not after anybody's job here," he said. "That's not the case at all. I just came here because I was invited.

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"Now I'll go back home (to Louisiana)," Malone added, "and just look at options."

NOTES: Armstrong, a possible Jazz pick at No. 14 overall, said Saturday's was "probably my worst workout" of the three he's had with NBA teams so far. "I didn't do too terrible bad ... but I didn't shoot too good," he said. ... The Jazz will work out four shooting guards this morning, including Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy winner J.J. Redick of Duke. ... Also in town today: Villanova's Randy Foye, who like Redick is a possible lottery pick; West Virginia's Mike Gansey, whose game is compared by nbadraft.net to that of Hornacek; and 21-year-old Brad Newley, whom ESPN.com's Chad Ford calls "the best young player in Australia the last two seasons."


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com