With no championship aspirations this season, the Magic must evaluate Jacque Vaughn‘s performance as head coach on intangible factors, such as leadership, communication, and how he has helped develop young players, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. And by those standards, the team is very happy with his work, and plans to keep him as its coach for the foreseeable future, according to general manager Rob Hennigan.
“We’re very proud of the job that Jacque has done,” Hennigan said. “His leadership has set the foundation. He understands the process. He isn’t in a rush to skip steps. He’s a great teacher. He’s done a noteworthy job of being unselfish, realizing we’re building for the long haul…. He knew what he was signing up for as I knew what I was signing up for. We believe in the foundation we’re establishing.”
Here are a few more items of interest from Schmitz’s conversation with the Magic’s GM:
- None of the Magic’s veteran players have asked to be traded, says Hennigan.
- Orlando intends to explore its options as February’s trade deadline approaches, but the front office is “not looking to shake up the team.”
- Hennigan, on whether the Magic intend to wade into the free agent pool in 2014 after not making a splash in 2013: “We haven’t even looked at the water in the pool, haven’t even put in the chemicals yet. We’re ready if an opportunity presents itself.”
- Asked whether the best way to continue improving the Magic is through free agency, the draft, or trades, Hennigan suggested there’s no exact blueprint or perfect model the club will follow.
Jacque Vaughn, whose quiet approach has been the polar opposite of Stan Van Gundy's, has provided patience and poise to a franchise that has been looking to move on after last year's turbulent atmosphere with Dwight Howard (Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel). Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel says that although the Magic are enduring some growing pains, the young club has been showing encouraging signs of development. We have a few more miscellaneous links to share out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
You can find the miscellaneous links we've gathered up out of the Eastern Conference below:
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel believes that although Magic coach Jacque Vaughn would preferably bring young players along slowly to gradually build their confidence, he may have to expand the roles of rookies Moe Harkless and DeQuan Jones much earlier than he would like now that Hedo Turkoglu is out with an injury. Here is the rest of tonight's edition of Eastern Notes:
There are seven preseason games around the NBA tonight, and not one of them involves a team from the Southeast Division. But that doesn't mean their aren't links coming surrounding the division that houses the current NBA champs. Let's keep track of them here:
- Ramon Sessions talked with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo!, explaining why he decided to opt out of his contract with the Lakers to sign a 2-year deal with the Bobcats. Sessions, who has bounced between teams throughout his career, was concerned that the Lakers may move him and was looking for some destination certainty, which he found in Charlotte.
- Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that should the Hawks stick to the 15 player roster limit, the last two spots will come down to James Anderson, Damion James and Anthony Tolliver. Point guard Carldell Johnson is still with the club, but will almost definitely miss the cut. Vivlamore adds that it is no guarantee the Hawks keep a roster of 15, but they need to get down to at least that by October 29.
- New Magic coach Jacque Vaughn says that, despite the loss of Dwight Howard, he intends to instill his own defensive philosophy this year which revolves around protecting the paint, says Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Robbins is skeptical is they have the personnel to do it, but Vaughn says, “The way we’re playing defensively is definitely geared toward the personnel that we have right now, for sure. It is a team defense based around five guys being in the right position at the right time."
- Brian Schmitz of the Sentinel writes that the Magic have essentially had a superstar in 19 of 20 years of the franchise's existence if you don't count the first three. Without Howard, Schmitz opines that the team's history tells us that it is only a matter of time before they find the next one. The question is, how long can they keep him once he arrives, whoever he is.
The Lakers will retire Shaquille O'Neal's #34 jersey on April 2nd at Staples Center before the team faces the Mavericks, tweets Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register. He adds that the team will also retire center Jamaal Wilkes' #52 jersey on December 28. Also, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's statue will be unveiled on November 16, according to Ding (via Twitter). Here's what else we're hearing from the NBA this evening…
- Tyler Wilkerson has received an offer to attend training camp with the Spurs after a standout performance with their summer league team, says Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation. McCarney cited a tweet from NBA agent Seth A. Cohen for making the announcement.
- John Denton of NBA.com highlights Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn as he prepares for his first season with Orlando and obtains some thoughts regarding his newly hired assistant coaches.
- According to an ESPN.com survey of "100 of ESPN's best basketball minds", the Lakers received 56 votes and the Thunder finished with 42 on the topic of who will be the Western Conference champions this year.
- Moke Hamilton of SheridanHoops.com reviewed a list of the remaining NBA teams with cap and trade exceptions.
- Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio doesn't think that the Cavaliers are actively trying to move Daniel Gibson, contrary to what other rumblings might suggest (Twitter link). In a separate tweet, he asserts that Kyrie Irving is ahead of his recovery schedule and should be ready by training camp on October 1.
- Head coach Doug Collins likes the pieces that the 76ers have heading into training camp and is excited to start work, writes Marc Narducci of Philly.com.
MONDAY, 3:43pm: The Magic have officially hired Vaughn, introducing him in a press conference today (link via NBA.com). According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter), Michael Curry was the only other coaching candidate to meet with the DeVos family.
SATURDAY, 9:55am: The Magic are set to hire Jacque Vaughn as their next head coach, a team official told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Orlando has issued a press release confirming the news and will introduce their new coach to the media on Monday afternoon.
Vaughn, 37, has spent the last two years as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. While the former point guard shared responsibilities with the rest of the Spurs assistant coaching staff, he was not technically among the top three to sit on the bench as those spots belonged to Mike Budenholzer, Don Newman, and Brett Brown.
Magic GM Rob Hennigan has history with Vaughn as he was working for the Spurs when the signed the guard in the summer of 2006. Hennigan cast a wide net in his coaching search, also conducting first-round interviews with Michael Curry, Jeff Hornacek, Michael Malone, Lindsey Hunter, and Brian Shaw. Hunter and Curry both made the final three, but Vaughn was reported to be the frontrunner for some time.
Vaughn will become the successor to Stan Van Gundy, a coach who compiled a 259-135 record during his time in Orlando and guided the club to the 2009 NBA Finals. Of course, Van Gundy's breakup with the Magic was anything but smooth as the coach battled with star center Dwight Howard and upper management.
The question now is whether Vaughn will have the opportunity to coach Howard. Earlier this week, Luke Adams ran down the possible destinations for the six-time All-Star.
3:44pm: The Magic hope to have a deal by early August, reports Sam Amick of SI.com (Sulia link).
3:04pm: Magic officials continue to hold out for the best Dwight Howard deal, and are unlikely to trade him in the next few days, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld writes. The Rockets, a major player in trade talks, will be tied up while waiting for the Bulls to decide whether to match their offer sheet to Omer Asik, and it won't be clear what kind of cap space and assets Houston will have available until that situation is resolved, Kennedy says.
The Rockets and Lakers have been forced to bid against each other for Howard, and the Magic will weigh their final offers once the Bulls make their decision on Asik, according to Kennedy. Asik has signed the offer sheet but the Bulls have yet to see it, meaning the three-day period Chicago has to match is not yet under way. Last night, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio also noted the Magic's patient approach, but heard from an opposing team's GM who said there's no way the Magic can bring Howard to training camp in late September. I'm not sure if that deadline holds much weight, however, since Howard and the Magic already co-existed last season amid plenty of trade speculation, and there's no guarantee Howard's back will be healthy enough to allow him to make the start of camp anyway, though the big man insists he'll be ready for the season.
If Howard is still with the Magic come January 15th, when the Nets can trade Brook Lopez, Newsday's Rod Boone believes Orlando and Brooklyn would reinitiate talks, but obviously much can happen between now and then (Twitter link).
The Magic remain focused on their coaching search in the meantime, which is down to assistants Jacque Vaughn of the Spurs, Michael Curry of the Sixers and Lindsey Hunter of the Suns, Kennedy says. With the second round of interviews complete, Vaughn still appears to be the frontrunner, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, with Hunter the next choice. The next step involves meeting with the DeVos family, the owners of the team (Twitter links).
Jacque Vaughn looks like the frontrunner to replace Stan Van Gundy as the next head coach in Orlando. While nothing is concrete yet, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld tweets that Vaughn appears to be in the lead for the job, while ESPN.com's Ric Bucher tweets that the Spurs assistant is a "good bet" to secure the position.
The Magic have been conducting their coaching search over the last few weeks, with Michael Malone, Brian Shaw, and Jeff Hornacek all falling out of contention. Michael Curry and Lindsey Hunter are said to be the other candidates still in the mix. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote a week ago (via Twitter) that Vaughn's candidacy had "gathered momentum."
The Magic figure to make a decision in the near future, and likely won't make any decisions regarding Dwight Howard until hiring a coach, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
2:57pm: Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel confirms (via Twitter) that Vaughn, Curry, and Hunter are indeed the three finalists for the Magic coaching job.
12:59pm: A day after we heard that Brian Shaw and Michael Malone are no longer candidates to coach the Magic, Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that another name is out of the running. Jeff Hornacek was informed by the team that he's no longer being considered for the head coaching job, according to Luhm.
"It was good to go through the process and talk to them," Hornacek said. "I guess I wasn’t what they were looking for…. We always believe what’s meant to be is meant to be. I guess this wasn’t meant to be."
According to Luhm, Hornacek is expected to return to the Utah bench as an assistant under head coach Tyrone Corbin. Meanwhile, the Magic's coaching candidates seem to have been reduced to Jacque Vaughn, Michael Curry, and Lindsey Hunter, with Vaughn viewed as the favorite.