Storyline: Magic Coaching Job

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David Fizdale, a frontrunner from the start of this process, has reportedly “gained serious traction” to becoming the next Knicks coach. A source confirmed that language reported by Yahoo! but also emphasized a deal with Fizdale was not finalized. As of Wednesday evening, other candidates had not been informed they were out of the race, according to multiple sources. Fizdale also interviewed – or was reportedly scheduled to interview — for the jobs in Charlotte, Phoenix and Orlando.

Q: Not a Blazers fan, but what do you think they should do next? — (Alex, Sacramento) Marc STEIN: I’m guessing you’re asking about the roster, but first we have to deal with the status of the coach (Terry Stotts) and the general manager (Neil Olshey). Throughout the Blazers’ first-round sweep by New Orleans, there were rumblings around the league that Stotts’ job was in jeopardy and that teams such as Orlando and Phoenix were ready to pounce if he indeed became available. But that talk has largely quieted since Portland’s early exit.

The only people who understand the highs and lows that NBA players go through and the grind of an 82-game regular season, Orlando Magic veteran center Marreese Speights said, is someone who actually played the game at the highest level themselves. “You want to play for a guy who has already played the game,’’ Speights said last week at the conclusion of the Magic’s season. “When you look at a Steve Kerr, Lionel Hollins or Mark Jackson, you want to play for them because they have been in the trenches and they’ve done the same stuff that you are doing (as a current player). They know the game a little bit more because they have been in your shoes.’’

Like the veteran Speights, Magic guard Arron Afflalo has played for all types of coaches over his 11 years in the NBA. Six of his 10 former coaches – Michael Curry, Brian Shaw, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Karl and Vaughn – played in the NBA prior to going into coaching. Afflalo said the essence of the player/coach relationship depends far more on relatability than whether or not a mentor once played NBA basketball. “It’s more of a communication thing,’’ Afflalo stressed. “Sometimes former players relate to other players and sometimes guys who didn’t play in the NBA are just really great communicators and motivators. They know the game and know how to teach the game. So, I can’t stand here and say for a fact that a former player would be better, but communication and accountability will always be the key with any coach.’’
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September 18, 2018 | 9:21 pm EDT Update

Courtney Lee wants out?

Courtney Lee arrived a week and a half ago at the Knicks’ Tarrytown training center for voluntary workouts, gearing up for Monday’s start of training camp. The Knicks guard just doesn’t know how long he’ll be there. According to an NBA source, Lee’s preference is to be dealt to a playoff team or a contender. It’s an understandable wish formulated during an offseason spent in Orlando and Los Angeles as he saw the Knicks franchise’s youthful direction.
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Prior to this new promotion, Brand was expected to dedicate time to the big league club and be part of the parent club’s ultimate decision-making process, a source told PhillyVoice in late August. The Sixers, as they did when he was brought back as a player in the dog days of “The Process”, expected him to serve in some capacity as a “big brother” to their players. But the meatier part of his August promotion was gaining input on front-office decisions for the 76ers.