The Orlando Magic are launching a full rebuild, and they’ve already made one major change.
The Magic announced on Saturday that they’ve decided to part ways with head coach Steve Clifford. The move isn’t a firing, but reportedly a mutual decision.
Clifford, 59, became Magic head coach ahead of the 2018-2019 season. He led the team to a 42-40 record and a 33-40 record in his first two seasons, both of which ended with trips to the playoffs. They were eliminated in the first round both times, but even a quick trip to the playoffs is preferred to the outcome of the most recent season.
The Magic limped to a 21-51 record this season, which was the third-worst record in the entire NBA. Clifford still had one year left on the four-year contract he signed in 2018, but recent conversations between him and basketball operations president Jeff Weltman reportedly led to the “mutual” decision to end the partnership.
“We would like to thank Steve for his contributions to the Orlando Magic,” Weltman said in the statement released by the team. “We appreciate the many sacrifices he has made as our head coach and understand the timeline of our new path does not align with his goals as a head coach in our league.”
What’s next for the Magic?
With teams continuing to make coaching changes, there will be no shortage of established candidates or head coach-hopefuls for the Magic to consider. But one has already floated directly to the top: former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, who lost his job on Friday. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Magic are interested.
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