Orlando Magic: Welcome back, Coach Clifford!
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John Denton: New @Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford was a Magic assistant under Stan Van Gundy from 2007-12. Those teams reached the playoffs 5 straight times, went to the 2009 NBA Finals and 2010 Eastern Conference Finals.
David Baumann: Here’s what Stan Van Gundy tells me about the @Orlando Magic-Clifford hire: “I think it is great for Steve and a great hire for the Magic. Steve is a great teacher and coach who connects with players. His teams are always fundamentally sound, play hard and defend. He is a great person who will represent central Florida with class and integrity. Give the Magic credit for a thorough process that yielded a great hire.”
Josh Robbins: Magic execs Jeff Weltman and John Hammond interviewed Steve Clifford on May 16 in Chicago and conducted a second interview with him on May 24. Then, Clifford met with the DeVos family yesterday in Michigan: thesent.nl/2xoiIvm.
Sirius XM NBA: “I think it’s a really good fit for him (Steve Clifford)” @Brian Scalabrine twitter.com/wojespn/status…
Marc Stein: Kelvin Sampson confirms to @Mark Berman that he will remain at the University of Houston after meeting with the Orlando Magic “multiple times” about their coaching vacancy twitter.com/markbermanfox2…
Adrian Wojnarowski: Steve Clifford has agreed to a four-year contract to become the new head coach of the Orlando Magic, league sources tell ESPN. Magic will hold a news conference today to introduce Clifford, who led Charlotte to two playoff appearances.
Clifford, 56, flew to Michigan on Tuesday to meet with ownership from the DeVos family. A news conference is expected Wednesday to introduce Clifford in Orlando, sources said. Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman considered Clifford the right combination of tactical coach, teacher and disciplinarian for a young, developing roster.
Marc Stein: The Magic are interviewing former Hornets coach Steve Clifford this week, according to league sources. As it has throughout its coaching search, Orlando declined comment today
Marc Stein: The known candidates in Orlando’s deliberate search: Steve Clifford (formerly a Magic assistant) and University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, who worked with Magic execs Jeff Weltman and John Hammond in Milwaukee twitter.com/TheSteinLine/s…
Michael Scotto: The Orlando Magic have expressed interest in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for the team’s head coaching position, league sources told The Athletic.
According to some NBA officials, Kelvin Sampson is the clear frontrunner for the Orlando Magic head coaching job. Sampson, now the head coach at the University of Houston, was once an assistant coach under Scott Skiles in Milwaukee. Orlando execs John Hammond and Jeff Weltman were the Bucks GM and assistant GM, respectively, at that time.
Marc Stein: No team has kept its coaching search quieter than Orlando, but there is a growing belief among league insiders gathered in Chicago this week that University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson has emerged as the Magic’s prime target
Weltman and GM John Hammond are continuing to search for a coach to replace Frank Vogel, who was fired on April 12. Weltman declined comment when asked Tuesday if he and Hammond have finished interviewing prospective candidates. Weltman said: “The process has been, I think, deliberate and thorough, and we’re very pleased with some of the guys that we’ve interviewed, and we continue to move forward.”
Mitch Lawrence: Why didn’t top candidate Jerry Stackhouse get the Magic job? Let’s just say he didn’t exactly wow ‘em in his interview, per sources… Joshua Robbins: False. Utterly false. The Magic have not interviewed Jerry Stackhouse for their coaching job, league sources told me.
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.
Of that list, Budenholzer is probably the most accomplished candidate – at least recently. However, sources believe he will end up as the next coach at Milwaukee if he doesn’t choose to sit out a year and collect his money from the Hawks. Stackhouse is a frontrunner for the Orlando job and Blatt – a good friend and college teammate of Mills – has a drama-filled stint in Cleveland that shrouds his aspirations of getting back into the NBA.
Josh Robbins: The Orlando Magic have an interview scheduled with David Fizdale for the Magic’s head-coaching job, sources said.
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.
San Antonio assistant Ime Udoka will interview for the Orlando Magic coaching job this week, league sources tell ESPN. Udoka has also met with Charlotte.
Chris Haynes: Orlando has been granted permission to interview Portland assistant David Vanterpool for its vacant head coach position, league sources tell ESPN.
Marc Stein: The murmurs have already started In coaching circles that 10 consecutive playoffs defeats will cost Terry Stotts his job in Portland, but league sources say Orlando would register immediate interest in Stotts if he becomes available
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.’’
Sources have indicated Orlando is hotter on Stackhouse’s trail, and he reportedly has an interview there shortly. Charlotte has expressed interest, too. Knicks GM Scott Perry was in the Pistons’ front office, overlapping for two seasons when Stackhouse played in Detroit.
Shams Charania: Sources: Charlotte and Orlando plan to interview Jerry Stackhouse, coach of Raptors’ G League team, for their head coach openings. Stackhouse also has interview with the Knicks this week.
Josh Robbins: In his press conference, Jeff Weltman did not offer specific reasons why Frank Vogel was fired today or many specifics about the qualities he’ll look for from Vogel’s successor.
The Magic’s search could include such candidates as Toronto Raptors assistant coach Nick Nurse, San Antonio Spurs assistants James Borrego and Ime Udoka, Portland Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov, and Toronto 905 G League coach Jerry Stackhouse, league sources said.
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November 15, 2018 | 8:58 pm EST Update
Fizdale procured a motivational tool – an actual tool – by bringing an ax into the locker room, having the players sign it and hoping that it will hold them together in hard times. But it seems more likely right now that a player will either chop down a locker room in frustration or someone will lose a finger.
“My thing to these guys is what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to chop down a big tree,” Fizdale said. “If you’re paying attention to if the tree is falling, you’re never going to get that tree down. We signed a covenant as a group, every guy. I said, ‘Hey, let’s make a commitment that no matter what happens that we stick together and we keep chopping this tree together.’ So the ax is just a symbol of us chopping this tree. Every day putting in the work with the right attitude. The right respect for what we’re trying to accomplish. And not let things linger, but keeping our eyes on the task of getting better.”
Tom Orsborn: #Spurs come into tonight’s game ranked 20th in the NBA in points per game at 107.7. Since scoring 110 in a 7-point loss to Orlando on Nov. 4, they haven’t reached 100. They’re averaging 94.8 points in that 4-game span.
Andrew Greif: Avery Bradley is further along in his injury rehab than Luc Mbah a Moute, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. Bradley “looked good” in practice and worked out today as well but won’t play tonight.
Tim MacMahon: Isaiah Hartenstein has some potential as a developmental prospect, but he isn’t ready for significant minutes on a team with title aspirations. Source says Rockets hope Nenê (calf) is ready within next 10 days or so.