FEBRUARY 5TH: Vaughn’s firing is imminent, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Magic have called a mandatory team meeting for this afternoon, leading to speculation that the players will be informed then that Vaughn has been fired, as Chris Broussard hears (Twitter link).
2:50pm: Mark Jackson is also among the “names to watch” should the Magic replace Vaughn, Broussard tweets.
9:44am: Orlando’s front office has already decided to fire Vaughn and is simply determining when to go through with the move, a source tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. That echoes the “when” but not “if” sentiment that Wojnarowski heard. No move will happen before the Magic’s game against the Mavs on Saturday, Wojnarowski writes in an updated version of his story. A replacement for Vaughn would likely come from among his assistant coaches, but several executives from around the league have speculated that Scott Skiles will emerge as a favorite for the job, according to Broussard.
JANUARY 30TH, 7:50am: The Magic are close to firing Vaughn, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who hears from a source close to the decision-making process that it’s a question of “when,” not “if.” Orlando has been hesitant to make the move to this point in part because of the lack of a candidate on the coaching staff whom the Magic can promote in Vaughn’s place, Wojnarowski also hears.
JANUARY 29TH, 11:01pm: Magic team management is “not at all happy” with the job performance of coach Jacque Vaughn, Brian K. Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel reports (Twitter link). A team source told Schmitz, “We won’t settle for this,” when discussing the franchise’s recent play. Orlando hasn’t ruled out making an in-season coaching change, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel tweets.
Vaughn’s job security has been the topic of discussion this past month, and when Robbins asked GM Rob Hennigan recently if Vaughn’s job was safe for the remainder of the season, Hennigan was non-committal in his response. “Look, we’re clearly in a rut and we need to find our way out of it together,” Hennigan said. “The buck starts and stops with me. I’m responsible for the team and its performance, plain and simple. I’m constantly evaluating myself and ways in which I can do a better job for our team, and that will continue to be the case, and I’ll continue to make sure I’m evaluating every inch of the organization. It’s my job to make sure that we’re constantly evaluating every aspect of the organization from top to bottom. So, to your question, I’d say that everyone and everything is being evaluated right now. I wouldn’t be doing my job if that weren’t the case. I’ll also say that there’s not one isolated problem or issue and that we need to collectively be part of generating the solution.”
Orlando has lost seven straight games, and the team’s overall record of 15-34 has the franchise five and a half games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff slot. What primarily has Vaughn’s job in jeopardy is his squad’s performance against teams in the Magic’s talent class, Schmitz writes. The team’s front office has also been told by various insiders around the league, even one Western Conference coach, that the club has better talent than its current record, Schmitz adds. Vaughn had said recently that he wasn’t concerned about his job.
Vaughn is in his third season with the team as coach, and he has a career record of 58-152. The franchise had picked up Vaughn’s 2015/16 team option last May, despite two consecutive last place finishes in the Southeast Division. To make Vaughn’s task this season more complicated, the team began the campaign having to integrate eight new players into the fold, and had to endure injuries to Channing Frye and Victor Oladipo. With Orlando playing in the weaker Eastern Conference, team management believes that a coaching change could help the franchise compete for a playoff spot this season, Schmitz notes.