#1. Firing Mike Malone
How could anything be worse than passing on a generational talent who will likely win multiple MVP awards and championship trophies? Well, the foundation for that highly questionable decision was laid back in 2014 with the firing of head coach Mike Malone.
Malone was in his second season as the head coach of the Kings, and despite a 28 win campaign in his first year, he was thought to be the right man for the job. He was the Kings sixth head coach since Rick Adleman left seven years prior, but showed the attributes of a coach who could provide some stability.
Most importantly, he got along well with hard-headed super star DeMarcus Cousins.
Malone is now the head coach of the Denver Nuggets, who have improved in the win column each and every year since he took over at the helm. He is widely regarded as one of the top coaches in the league, and his job couldn’t be more safe and secure in the Mile High City.
Somehow, the Kings overlooked Malone’s abilities. Sacramento started off the 2014-‘15 season as hot as they’d been in a decade, jumping out to a 5-1 record. They were 9-6 on November 28th when Cousins began missing games with an unknown illness. The Kings began losing without their star player, and fell to 10-10 before it was revealed that Cousins had viral meningitis.
Seven days later, the Kings were 11-13, and Mike Malone was fired.
The firing altered the Kings franchise forever. The coach that could have provided a winning culture and much-needed stability was inexplicably let go, and went on to become the coach that Sacramento needed all along.
But hey. At least we have Luke Walton.