The Utah Jazz has agreed to hire former great Karl Malone to be a player consultant. He will primarily mentor power forward Derrick Favors and center Enes Kanter, but could work with the other big men on the team as well.
Malone is widely considered one of the greatest power forwards in the history of the NBA. In fact, he ranks second all-time behind only the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 36,928 points and is sixth in league history with 14,968 rebounds. He was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, 14-time All-Star, three-time All-Defensive First Team, two-time All-Star Game MVP, 11-time All-NBA First Team and two-time All-NBA second team. He also is a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and his No. 32 was retried by the Jazz in 2006.
Malone managed to follow up winning a Gold Medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics with two straight NBA Finals appearances. Unfortunately, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were victorious both times. Malone did manage to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003 in an attempt to win a ring before he retired. Once again, his trip to the NBA Finals was a failure as the Lakers were defeated by the Detroit Pistons in five games.
The 49-year-old will look to improve Favors and Kanter as both players could very well become starters next season with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson both testing out free agency. Considering Utah will only be able to financially keep one of the two big men if they are lucky, either Favors or Kanter will be relied upon in the fall.
“With his success as a power forward in the NBA and the length of his career, he’s obviously got a lot to teach,” Jazz CEO Greg Miller said, according to ESPN.com. “We’re fortunate that he’s now willing to make himself and his expertise available to us.”