The Magic have hired Scott Skiles as their new head coach, the team announced in a press release. Skiles replaces interim coach James Borrego, who took over the team after former coach Jacque Vaughn was fired. The arrangement is a four year one, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports! tweets. The 51-year-old owns a career regular season coaching record of 443-433, and has a career playoff record of 18-24. He has been a head coach for the Suns, Bulls, and most recently, the Bucks.
“Scott clearly distinguished himself as a tremendous fit,” said Orlando GM Rob Hennigan. “Our young roster will benefit greatly from Scott’s extensive head coaching experience and commitment to teaching smart, physical, unselfish basketball. We believe in Scott’s ability to establish a culture of winning habits and accountability that will help guide our team in a positive direction.”
“As we began our search, our internal discussions centered on finding a head coach with a solid resume of NBA head coaching experience, great leadership qualities, a motivating communication style, and someone with a strong strategic acumen,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We feel Scott brings a balanced approach in all those qualities and we look forward, with great confidence, to him leading our young men in helping us reach our collective goal of sustainable success.”
Skiles was named the front-runner earlier this week, and he was reportedly the preferred choice of the Magic’s ownership, which has been enamored with him since his stint as a player for the franchise back in the 1990s. The former point guard also fit the criteria that Hennigan had set for the team’s next coach, which included having a successful résumé as a coach, and having a strong background on emphasizing defense and accountability.
One subplot that bears watching regarding Skiles is his relationship with forward Tobias Harris, who will be eligible this offseason to become a restricted free agent, provided Orlando tenders him a qualifying offer worth $4,433,683. Skiles reportedly did not have a good relationship with Harris when the duo were together with the Bucks. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders did note that league sources informed him there is no lingering issue between the two sides, and that Harris would like to continue to be a part of what the team is building.
The Magic had also interviewed Clippers assistant Mike Woodson for the position. Former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had also been rumored to be in contention for the post, though the team was leery of providing Chicago with compensation prior to Thibs being let go. Scott Brooks, formerly coach of the Thunder, had also been mentioned as a possibility, though Brooks is reportedly contemplating taking next season off. Alvin Gentry was another name reportedly in the mix as well.