Jeffrey D. Allred, Jefffrey D. Allred
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz just saw one longtime member of the family leave, but they're welcoming an even bigger one back into the fold.
Jeff Hornacek is out.
Karl Malone is in.
In a surprise, The Mailman announced that he's accepted a part-time job to help coach the Jazz big men.
"We as a Jazz organization have got a great stable of big guys," the Hall of Fame power forward said Wednesday on the team's radio station during an interview with CEO Greg Miller. "I'm excited."
"I think your involvement with our bigs," Miller replied, "is going to help us win more ball games."
It's also made at least one of the Jazz bigs a happy young man.
Jazz power forward Derrick Favors' desire to improve was one of the impetuses leading to Malone landing a role he's lobbied for in the past. Favors, who turns 22 in July, reached out to management in hopes of receiving personal tutoring from The Mailman this offseason.
"You can't find too many better people to work with your bigs," Favors' agent, Wallace Prather, said. "I think it's great for everybody involved — from Derrick, to Enes (Kanter), to Jeremy (Evans) to whoever else finds their way into the organization."
It is unknown how much time Malone will spend as a coach on Tyrone Corbin's staff, but while being interviewed on the side of the road with his hazard lights blinking "down in the country of Louisiana," The Mailman expressed excitement and a serious commitment. Malone used words like proud, happy and honored to describe his feelings about working with the Jazz again for the first time since he left Utah to join the Lakers in 2003.
"I think it's going to be a lot of fun," Malone said during the 1280 The Zone interview. "I know a lot of people are going to have a lot of questions about how much time it's going to take, but I think we'll all have a lot fun with it. I'll be looking forward — time and schedule permitting — to working with the big guys."
As for the details, Malone said there aren't any specifics just yet. He travels to Utah a couple of times a month and hopes to work with the post players during those periods this summer.
"We haven't discussed nothing other than that I'll be coaching the bigs," Malone said.
Miller said the Jazz and Malone are in somewhat of an experimental mode, which is similar to Hornacek's previous role from 2007-11 as the team's shooting coach. Neither party is sure if this could lead to a more permanent position on the bench.
"Right now, our agreement is he's going to come in on a periodic basis and help our guys," Miller said. "If it develops into more than that, it could be a good thing."
Malone has already had a one-on-one workout with Favors. He's also met with Kanter, who continues to rehab from his April shoulder surgery and won't be able to go 100 percent until later this summer. Malone said he has and will keep in close contact with Corbin to shape the sessions and strategy.
“It is great to have Karl as a resource for the team,” Corbin said in a statement. “He is one of the most talented big men to have ever played this game.”
Malone, an original Dream Teamer, is the NBA's all-time second-leading scorer and a two-time MVP during his Jazz career. He was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2010, joining teammate John Stockton and coach Jerry Sloan. He also has a statue in front of EnergySolutions Arena and a street next to the building named after him.
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