Even so, Malone has grumbled in the past about how the team hadn't reached out to have him be more involved after he retired from the NBA. Miller and the vocal 6-foot-9 behemoth got into a public feud in 2012 before resolving their issues and, ironically, beginning the framework for his return to the organization.
Miller was impressed when he recently saw Malone work with the 21-year-old Favors. He could tell Malone had put in a lot of prep work, asked a lot of valid questions and effectively ran the workout.
"My expectations were high, but he exceeded them," Miller said. "It was just exciting for me to know that Karl was that committed to doing it. I was absolutely excited."
Favors also had a ball.
"He was ecstatic," Favors' agent said of his talented 6-foot-10 client, who'll join Gordon Hayward at their second Team USA mini-camp this July in Las Vegas. "He's looking forward to working with him and learning as much as possible from him. He hopes to be on that level some day."
Malone said it'd be "a waste" just to come in and try to work with Favors on his shooting. Rather, he hopes to fine tune "the little small nuances," such as working in the post, running the floor, putting pressure on smaller guys and getting out wide.
In other words, Malone added, "All the things that Jerry Sloan taught me."
Malone, who still has an auto dealership in Draper, said his love for Utah has grown since the days he played for the Jazz from 1985-2003. Every time he returns and looks at the Wasatch Front mountains, Malone said he tells himself, "I miss this."
Malone added that the Jazz are "such a classy, storied organization," and admitted he took that for granted during his playing days. That's something he'd like to make sure his new pupils are well aware of while they're young.
"It just made a lot of sense from an organizational standpoint," Miller said, "to have one of the greatest players to ever play the game offer his services to our up-and-comers."
Malone's announcement comes a day after his former teammate, Hornacek, was hired to be the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns.
With only two full-time assistants on staff — Sidney Lowe and Michael Sanders — the search is on for Hornacek's replacement. Malone made it clear that he realizes he isn't an all-out assistant and that Corbin is the main man.
"I don't have all the answers," Malone said. "But I tell you what, I wouldn't mind sharing with these young kids my experiences that were positive as well as negative — my shortfalls as a man that they don't need to do. It's not just about basketball."
When they were exploring this working relationship, Miller said he jokingly told Malone: "Karl, I know what your work ethic's like and our bigs are important to us, so don't kill them on the first workout."
Judging Favors' reaction, that didn't happen.
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