Former Magic assistant coach and defensive guru Steve Clifford will accept an invitation from Lakers head coach Mike Brown to join his coaching staff in Los Angeles, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Previously this offseason, Clifford was under consideration for the Magic and the Blazers head coach openings before both organizations went in different directions. Clifford was still in the mix for an assistant position in Portland before deciding to join the Lakers.
His decision comes in the wake of last week's blockbuster that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers, effectively "reuniting" Clifford with the anchor of his defenses in Orlando. With Howard at center and Clifford on the bench, the Magic never finished worse than 11th in the NBA in team defense spanning five seasons. According to Haynes, Clifford considers the Van Gundy brothers his mentors and models himself after Tom Thibodeau. It should be interesting to see how Clifford's expertise supplements the already defensive-minded Mike Brown in the Lakers quest for their 17th title.