By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Serbia coach Igor Kokoskov talked about Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone potentially joining the national team’s staff in the future. Kokoskov said that it was Malone who offered to become a part of the team during a congratulatory phone call after he was named the new head coach of the “Orlovi.”
“What I can say is that from our side, we did everything to be professional and transparent,” Kokoskov said in the press conference ahead of the EuroBasket Qualifiers games of Serbia vs. Finland and Georgia. “When that idea came up, we were there to welcome him. After my appointment, I got a call with his [Malone’s] congratulations and his proposal to join us. That was one very nice [form of] congratulations to me. If not recognition.”
“We said OK,” Kokoskov added. “He asked for some time, we said OK. He asked for the club’s permission, we said OK. He asked for that information to be kept to ourselves for some time and we again said OK. So the situation from our side was handled very professionally and responsibly. We did absolutely everything to welcome him.”
In January, the Serbian Basketball Federation announced that Malone “confirmed to join the national team following the end of the season in the NBA”. According to Marc Stein, the talks between the two sides were regarding the role of a “top aide and consultant.”
Malone denied that any official agreement is in place. He later mentioned that there are ongoing conversations and he’s “definitely” interested in becoming a part of the team.
“The desire to cooperate still exits,” Kokoskov said. “He’s a prominent NBA coach. If he’s willing to be here, that’s fine. The team won’t be based on Igor or Mike Malone but on the players and, most importantly, on them being here.”
Since 2015, Malone has been coaching Nikola Jokic, one of Serbia’s superstars, on the Nuggets.
Photo: Getty Images