10:01am: The Magic expect, in addition to hope, that they will soon reach a deal with Skiles, Stein writes in a full story.
FRIDAY, 9:38am: Skiles and the Magic have begun to talk contract, and Orlando hopes to reach a deal as soon as today, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
THURSDAY, 8:21am: The Magic are convinced that Skiles is the guy they want and the sides are on the verge of negotiating a contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Skiles and the Magic will continue to converse today in Orlando, Wojnarowski adds, though the Magic apparently have competition for Skiles from the Pelicans. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel suggests that Skiles will have to meet with the DeVos family, who own the Magic, before receiving an offer, as is typical with Magic head coaching searches, though the owners already like Skiles, as Wojnarowski noted earlier.
SATURDAY, 11:09am: Scott Skiles has emerged as the front-runner to become the next head coach of the Magic, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Orlando GM Rob Hennigan has discussed the opening with several possible candidates, but Skiles has clearly separated himself in the process, league sources told Wojnarowski. Although the team hasn’t been in a rush to make a coaching hire, discussions could soon advance into contract negotiations, Wojnarowski relays.
The 51-year-old Skiles is 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 Yahoo! scribe notes. The former point guard also fits the criteria that Hennigan has set for the team’s next head coach, which includes having a successful résumé as a coach, and having a strong background on emphasizing defense and accountability, Wojnarowski adds.
Skiles 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. The former player has developed a solid reputation of turning bad teams into competitive ones, and improving his team’s defensive numbers, Wojnarowski writes. But Skiles also carries with him the reputation for burning out his teams and eventually wearing out his welcome.
One other subplot that bears watching regarding Skiles is his relationship with Magic 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, so that could be a situation worth watching if Skiles is indeed hired by the franchise, Wojnarowski adds. The Yahoo! scribe also estimates that Harris will likely command a salary in the $12-$14MM range on his next deal.
The Magic’s coaching vacancy has also been linked to current Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, though recent reports stating that the Orlando job is Thibodeau’s for the taking are said to be off-base. The Bulls are widely expected to demand significant assets in return for letting Thibodeau walk away from his contract, which runs two more seasons, and another report indicated that Orlando would be willing to give up one or two second-round picks for the right to hire coach Thibs. But Wojnarowski’s sources have informed him that the Magic don’t want to give up any compensation in return for Chicago’s current head coach.
Former Thunder coach Scott Brooks has also been mentioned as a possibility, though Brooks is reportedly contemplating taking next season off. Alvin Gentry is another name reportedly in the mix as well.