Coach Malone?

Could happen.

Multiple reports say retired Jazz star Karl Malone may become an assistant coach at his former school, Louisiana Tech, which is expected to soon hire longtime Utah high school coach and former University of Utah assistant Kerry Rupp as its head coach.

According to FOXSports.com, "the 43-year-old Malone ... is seriously considering joining Rupp's coaching staff."

"I am more excited about Tech basketball than I've been in a long time, along with a lot of other people," a Tech supporter, Lee Fletcher, told the Monroe (La.) News Star. "You've got to respect the opportunity to get someone of Karl Malone's enormous presence at the helm or involved in the program."

Malone has been pushing the candidacy of Rupp, most recently an assistant coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

More intriguing to those with the Jazz, though, is the notion of the two-time NBA MVP and longtime Jazz power forward working the bench as a college assistant.

"I don't think there's any question he has what it takes to be a coach," said Jazz guard Derek Fisher, who played one season with Malone when both were with the Los Angeles Lakers. "But it still would be funny to see Karl on the sidelines, it really would. Consultant more than coach would be the right role for Karl.

"Obviously he loves the game and has a lot of passion for the game. He'll enjoy being able to pass some things along to young guys to help them develop," Fisher added. "But to the hours spent watching film, renting cars, going on the road and recruiting, I don't know if he's cut out for that. The rental cars aren't built for him. I think he'll be more of a consultant than a coach, but hey, we'll see."

OW: Jazz starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko (fractured thumb tip) missed his third straight game Wednesday and again was replaced in the opening lineup by rookie Ronnie Brewer.

The Jazz also played Denver without backup shooting guard Gordan Giricek, out because his already sore ribs were aggravated Monday at Golden State.

Point guard Deron Williams, who exited Monday's game early after aggravating an existing groin strain, started the loss to the Nuggets and finished with a game-high 14 assists.

ARAUJO VOLUNTEERING: Jazz and ex-BYU center Rafael Araujo will join other current and former NBA players in serving this summer as a camp coach for youths at the league's Basketball Without Borders program in his native Brazil.

Sao Paulo is one of four locales for the NBA camp this year, along with Paris, France; Shanghai, China; and Johannesburg, South Africa.

ALUMNI UPDATE: With both Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson out with sprained left ankles, Seattle on Wednesday signed ex-Jazz guard Randy Livingston from Idaho of the D-League to back up Mike Wilks at the point for the Sonics' final four games of the season.

"Injuries have left us with a substantial hole in our guard rotation and we were fortunate to find a guy out there like Randy, who has some NBA experience," Sonics general manager Rick Sund said in a statement released by the team.

Livingston, who played 17 games for the Jazz during the 2004-05 season, has been with nine different NBA teams in 10 seasons. This is his second stint in Seattle. He averaged 12.3 points and a league-high 10.6 assists for Idaho, the D-League affiliate of Utah and Seattle.

ALUMNI UPDATE II: According to the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune, former Jazz forward and current Phoenix assistant coach Marc Iavaroni's name has "surfaced" as a possible replacement for Seattle coach Bob Hill should Hill be relieved of duties after the season."

Iavaroni also has been mentioned as a candidate for jobs in Memphis and, should it open up, in Toronto.

QUICK QUIZ: With the Jazz retiring Adrian Dantley's old No. 4 uniform number Wednesday, which other ex-Jazz players wore 4? Answer: Kenny Boyd and Fred Boyd before Dantley, and Kelly Tripuka for two seasons after Dantley.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com