SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — The Sacramento Kings hired Eric Musselman on Friday as their new head coach, choosing the Memphis Grizzlies assistant to replace Rick Adelman.
After a search that stretched nearly four weeks but included only three clear candidates, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof filled the NBA's only coaching vacancy with Musselman, one of the league's most respected young minds.
Musselman, a veteran NBA assistant and a former minor-league head coach, led the Golden State Warriors to two surprisingly successful seasons from 2002-04. He succeeds Adelman, who became the winningest coach in franchise history during eight standout seasons before the Maloof family dismissed him May 9.
The Kings scheduled a news conference today to announce Musselman's hiring, spokesman Troy Hanson said late Friday. The team still was working on contract details.
Musselman and Joe Maloof didn't immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
The 41-year-old Musselman is the 20th head coach in the history of a franchise that began life as the Rochester Royals in 1948. Adelman easily was the most successful coach in the club's 58 seasons, winning 395 games - 100 more than Les Harrison, who coached the franchise to its only championship in 1951.
Adelman enjoyed eight consecutive winning seasons and subsequent playoff trips after taking over the Kings in 1998, earning two Pacific Division titles and going as far as Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference finals.
But the Maloofs decided not to renew Adelman's contract, primarily citing years of sub-par defense from one of the NBA's most exciting teams.