Denver’s Michael Malone gets All-Star Game coaching nod
Michael Malone could coach Nikola Jokic in the All-Star Game. He might also have the rare chance to drag her against him.
Malone and the Denver Nuggets staff landed their trip to Salt Lake City for All-Star weekend. Malone will coach Team LeBron — the team that will be drafted by LeBron James from the Los Angeles Lakers — in the Feb. 19 game.
Boston’s interim coach Joe Mazzulla will coach Team Giannis, the team that will be drafted by Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Malone and the Nuggets staff were locked into the All-Star trip Wednesday night when Portland beat Memphis. That put Denver in first place in the Western Conference when play ends Sunday; All-Star coaches are based on the teams with the best record in each conference two weeks before the game.
Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone and his team will coach Team LeBron in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. pic.twitter.com/FFhLXAoxjZ
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) February 2, 2023
“I say that every year and I’ve said that to our players. There are teams that are dying to get to the All-Star Games and can’t wait to get to Cancun,” Malone said. we keep our eyes on the prize and we have to make sure we play until the break.”
If Malone was planning on going to Cancun or anywhere else during the break, he will depart from Salt Lake City.
Jokic, the Nuggets center and two-time reigning NBA MVP — and certainly a candidate to make it three in a row — is the only Denver player who will start. The Nuggets could have more players selected Thursday when the NBA announces the seven Eastern Conference players and seven Western Conference players who will be reserves.
But there is no guarantee that Malone will coach Jokic. It’s up to James and Antetokounmpo to decide; one of them will draft Jokic, and if it’s James, he’ll be with Malone for the game.
Coach Malone and staff are leaving for Utah! 🌟 pic.twitter.com/i90ie4obkr
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 2, 2023
This is Malone’s second time as an All-Star coach. He coached Team LeBron against Team Giannis in the 2019 game at Charlotte, 178-164.
He is one of three coaches to make it to the All-Star Game as the Nuggets coach. Larry Brown got the job in 1977 and George Karl got it in 2010.