Eric Musselman's basketball career has come full circle back to Southern California.
Musselman is the new coach of the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the D-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team made the announcement Thursday. Musselman, former Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings head coach, has now worked in some capacity for every NBA franchise in California. He began in the Clippers organization. Musselman is currently coaching the Venezuelan national team and using crutches for an Achilles injury.
"I remember growing up in San Diego and going to sleep listening to Chick Hearn do Laker games on the radio and was a die-hard Lakers fan as a young kid," Musselman said in an email from Argentina, where his team was set to play Cuba on Thursday night. "How many San Diego kids get a chance to work for four pro organizations in California? I feel blessed to be able to work in the state we as a family love so much."
The D-Fenders are returning to the D-League this season following a one-year hiatus. Musselman spent last season with the Reno Bighorns — affiliate of the Warriors and Kings — and guided them to the D-League playoffs after they won the Western Conference.
"He has vast experiences in both the NBA and NBA Development League and will be a great addition to our franchise," team President Joey Buss said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Eric and having a successful season."
The 46-year-old Musselman has a proven track record in the game's minor leagues.
Musselman went 270-122 during seven years as head coach of the Continental Basketball Association's Florida Beach Dogs. From 1990 through 1997, Musselman had 24 players called up to the NBA, the highest number in the league during that span.
"I can't wait to get started," Musselman said.
The Kings fired Musselman in April 2007 after a 33-49 season. He led the Warriors from 2002-04. Golden State fired him after the franchise missed the playoffs for the 10th straight year in his second season at the helm. Golden State went 37-45 in his final season and he led the Warriors to 38 victories in his first year.
After being dismissed by the Warriors, Musselman spent two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant under Mike Fratello.
His first NBA coaching experience came with the Minnesota Timberwolves under his late father, Bill, in 1990-91. Musselman also worked as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks under Lon Kruger and as an assistant for the Orlando Magic under Chuck Daly and Doc Rivers.
Musselman played for the University of San Diego, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament two times.