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April 15, 2015 Updates

The Magic should hire Michael Malone. And I'm told through the vine that he's interested in the job. Malone, 44, coached the Sacramento Kings for a year and change, but don't hold that against him. He won over unpredictable star DeMarcus Cousins — something few, if any, coach in Cousins' career can say. Orlando Sentinel

Malone was surprisingly fired last December over what Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro called philosophical differences over the team's style of play. Hmmmm. The Kings eventually hired venerable George Karl. What should get the Magic's attention despite Malone's 39-67 record with Sac-Town: D'Alessandro called Malone "a great defensive coach." And there's this from a current NBA coach regarding Malone: "He's a good coach. Very good." The coaching hire is the most critical decision the Magic will make this offseason, sending a young, impressionable team in a new direction again. Orlando Sentinel

With keen instincts for all the angles that make all the difference between success and failure on the basketball court, Billups is far too smart to accept a no-win job as coach of the Nuggets. If his goal was the daunting task of coaching a bad NBA team, Billups told me Tuesday he could already be set as the lead man on the Minnesota bench for next season. Flip Saunders tried to entice Billups to join the Timberwolves last year as the team's associate head coach, with the understanding Billups would take over the No. 1 job for the 2015-16 season, after a 12-month apprenticeship under Saunders. Denver Post

"In any rebuilding process, I feel like there's probably going to be two or three coaches. And I don't want to be that guy," said the 38-year-old Billups, while standing in the Nuggets' arena, where he served as the keynote speaker at the 39th annual Boy Scouts Sports Breakfast. "I don't want to be fired after two seasons and risk never getting another opportunity to coach." Denver Post

Happily or not, the coaches are doing it on their own, shortening their seasons by resting players. This has worked admirably for the defending champion Spurs, coming off two Finals apperances, but is hard on the core fans paying fancy prices to attend. A management source says an average NBA live gate is $1 million, boosted by the king’s ransom the Knicks and Lakers make–almost $3 million per opening–even with their bedraggled teams. Forbes.com

April 14, 2015 Updates

Hornacek has an ideal relationship with the front office, regularly meeting after practices and games and sharing the same philosophies. It will be interesting to see whether management wants to pick up Hornacek's 2016-17 contract option year and can convince Managing Partner Robert Sarver to do so. It would show their belief in him before next season, his contract's last guaranteed year. Arizona Republic

Borrego and the Magic headed into Monday’s penultimate game at 10-18, having beaten playoff contenders such as Chicago, Portland, Boston, Milwaukee and New Orleans. And to further illustrate how the players have responded to Borrego calm, but firm ways, the Magic have had the lead in the fourth quarter in 18 of the 28 games. ``I absolutely believe that I can do this,’’ Borrego said. ``My confidence is very high and this position has forced me to get there. Give our players credit and our staff credit because they have helped me get through this. ``My focus has always been on the players. From the minute that I took over, it’s been about the players and doing whatever I can to help them,’’ Borrego continued. ``Through that process I had to grow and build a strength and a confidence about myself as a person and a coach. I’ve found that. I’m a ways from where I want to be, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.’’ NBA.com

April 13, 2015 Updates

Tony Jones: Jazz trainer Gary Briggs was super insightful, super funny and super emotional today in his retirement presser. Briggs said he won't miss the daily grind, the consistent travel and time away from home. But he will miss the people he's worked with Twitter @Tjonessltrib

Me: What is the process like between you and Bud or the other coaches when it comes to making suggestions for sets, for tweaks, any types of changes? How receptive are they? Kyle Korver: Very. Bud, I mean, it's such an interactive exchange. Every coach says they have an open-door policy. Every coach says that. But there's also a lot of guys who Bud has a good amount of respect for, and how guys play. No one's out there to draw up plays that I can score on? It's how do we get this concept rolling so we can score on that team? So when you come at it with that point of view, when it's a discussion about the team, I think both sides, we obviously are going to respect whatever Bud says, and I think he thinks the same about us. NBA.com

Karl admits he still has fondness for Nuggets he coached such as Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried. When Karl reads the box scores, he sometimes looks at Denver’s first. “It’s still an emotional moment in my life,” Karl said. “I can’t deny that I miss Denver. I miss the team; I miss the city. It’s a place I love.” Sacramento Bee

Faried admitted it was “awkward” seeing Karl coach another team. “He was my first NBA head coach, and he taught me a lot,” Faried said. “We made it to the playoffs every time I was with him. It was bittersweet. I knew I had a job to do (Sunday), but it was also good to see my former coach.” Sacramento Bee

April 12, 2015 Updates

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