June 18, 2021 | 1:34 am EDT Update
The Athletic has learned through league sources that the Magic have asked permission to interview Phoenix Suns assistant coach Willie Green, Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee and Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Ime Udoka. Green, 39, is completing his fifth season as an NBA assistant coach. A former NBA shooting guard, Green worked three seasons as an assistant coach/player development for the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr before he joined Monty Williamsâ coaching staff in Phoenix in 2019.
The Magic have begun their interview process, sources said, but their coaching search is expected to be wide-ranging and almost certainly will include candidates in addition to Green, Hammon, Kidd, Lee, Udoka and Unseld. Tyrone Corbin, Pat Delany and Steve Hetzel â assistant coaches under Clifford who currently remain under contract with Orlando â could be interviewed, if they havenât been interviewed already. Many league insiders who work for other teams think the Magic could have interest in as many as three members of the LA Clippersâ coaching staff: associate head coach Dan Craig and assistant coaches Kenny Atkinson and Chauncey Billups.
Last week, ESPNâs Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Penny was receiving interest from NBA teams. On his podcast this week, FOX Sports college basketball analyst Aaron Torres said that he has heard similar talk. Torres specifically said there is some buzz about Hardaway possibly going to the Magic. There is history between Hardaway and the Magic that makes sense for him to be a candidate.
Jay Williams thinks a Luka Doncic-Knicks union is possible amid the ongoing drama in Dallas. âEarlier in the year I said New York could be a potential opportunity [for Luka] and people killed me for it. Itâs feasible,â Williams argued on his âKeyshawn, JWill & Zubinâ show Thursday â one day after the Mavericks parted ways with GM Donnie Nelson.
Later on Thursday, Doncic said Nelsonâs exit was âtoughâ for him. âThere are feasible scenarios, where you start looking at, where will Luka want to go and build if it doesnât work out in Dallas,â Williams continued, noting that âNew York isnât the only option. âBut I will say thereâs a lot of rumblings, and [Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban needs to put water on that fire.â
Playing a desperate team facing elimination, the Nets got off to yet another maddeningly slow start. And it cost them dearly in a 104-89 Eastern Conference semifinal Game 6 loss before a sellout crowd of 16,310 at Fiserv Forum. Kevin Durant, whoâd been superhuman in carrying the Nets to a Game 5 comeback two days earlier, was merely brilliant Thursday. He had 32 points and 11 rebounds. James Harden looked more like himself in his second game back from a hamstring injury, with 21 points, eight boards and five assists. But it wasnât enough.
Brooklyn went big with Jeff Green at power forward next to Durant, Joe Harris sliding down to off-guard and Bruce Brown going to the bench. But the Nets still got beaten on the boards, run off the court 26-4 in fast-break points, and left in an 11-2 early hole that reached 21 and proved too much to overcome. âThe biggest thing is just how we start,â Landry Shamet had warned beforehand. âEven going back to the other night in Game 5, slow start, struggled to find our rhythm early, didnât play with the right physicality. Things really that we can control that we did really, really well in Game 1 and Game 2, jump out to a big lead. âThose are the biggest things that weâre missing in the two road losses. Itâs our energy, how we start the game. Thatâs all we can control, so thatâs our plan going forward.â