The Magic have requested permission to interview three assistants with no previous NBA head coaching experience, sources tell Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The requests involve Suns assistant Willie Green, Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Nets assistant Ime Udoka.
Orlando may be seeking a younger coach to oversee its rebuilding process after moving many of its veteran players at this year’s trade deadline. Former head coach Steve Clifford reportedly decided to part ways with the team because he didn’t want to commit to a rebuilding situation.
Green, 39, came to Phoenix in 2019 when Monty Williams was hired as head coach. He also served as an assistant coach with the Warriors and finished out his 12-year NBA career with the Magic in 2014/15.
Lee, 36, has been an assistant for seven seasons, working under Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks and Bucks. He has also been mentioned as a candidate for head coaching vacancies in New Orleans, Boston and possibly Milwaukee if the organization decides not to bring back Budenholzer.
Udoka, 43, has been a candidate for several openings in recent years. He is in his first season with Brooklyn after previously serving as an assistant with the Sixers and Spurs. Robbins notes that the Magic interviewed Udoka after Frank Vogel was fired in 2018, but Clifford was chosen for the job.
Orlando has already sought permission to interview Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Lakers assistant Jason Kidd and Nuggets associate head coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Robbins speculates that Rick Carlisle, who resigned as Mavericks coach on Thursday, could be another name to watch because he and general manager John Hammond spent two years together in Detroit. However, Carlisle is expected to receive offers from teams that are ready to be competitive right away.
There’s more on the NBA’s coaching search:
- Carlisle could be the Bucks‘ top candidate if they fall short in the playoffs and decide to replace Budenholzer, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to Real GM). MacMahon also cites rumors about Carlisle returning to the Pacers, where he coached from 2003-07, and speculates that he never would have left Dallas unless he was sure that another opportunity was awaiting.
- On the same podcast, MacMahon named Jamahl Mosley, Terry Stotts and Kidd as three likely candidates to replace Carlisle with the Mavericks. Mosley, who is also a candidate for other openings, has been an assistant in Dallas since 2014. Stotts served as an assistant to Carlisle with the Mavs before the Trail Blazers hired him as head coach.
- Zach Harper of The Athletic considers the Celtics‘ job the best one available in his coaching vacancy power rankings. He names Carlisle as the best choice for Boston.