Penny Hardaway

Florida Notes: Heat, Magic, P. Hardaway, Atkinson

The Bucks‘ run to the NBA Finals might reveal what the Heat lacked this season, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. In addition to perpetual All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and occasional All-Star swingman Khris Middleton, Milwaukee added borderline All-Star guard Jrue Holiday to the mix this season. Holiday’s excellent two-way play and ball-handling abilities helped take Milwaukee to the next level.

The Heat, on the other hand, have two stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but currently lack a third two-way threat. Winderman notes that promising second-year guard Tyler Herro could become that player, but cautions that a healthy star-studded Nets team will most likely be the class of the East going forward, and that Miami must be ready with reinforcements.

There’s more out of the Sunshine State:

  • After the Heat were swept out of the first round by the Bucks, it seemed apparent that offseason roster changes would be coming. Now, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel suggests that exactly what transpires could be predicated on how certain timing elements shake out. The club’s front office, led by team president Pat Riley, will have to decide on expensive team options for former All-Stars Goran Dragic, 35, and Andre Iguodala, 37, on August 1. The club holds a $15MM team option on Iguodala and a $19.4MM option on Dragic. If the club wants to use its 2028 first-round pick in any trade, it will have to wait until after the July 29 draft. If the Heat want to use role players Duncan Robinson or Kendrick Nunn as sign-and-trade fodder, the team will only be able to do so after August 6.
  • Though he was up for the head coaching position with the Magic, Memphis head coach (and former four-time Orlando All-Star) Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway never seemed like a leading contender for the gig, opines Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. Hardaway withdrew his name from consideration and opted to remain in the NCAA for now.
  • Former Nets head coach and current Clippers assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who oversaw a successful rebuild in Brooklyn, appears to not be one of the major candidates for the Magic head coaching job, writes Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel. Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Suns assistant Willie Green, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and three assistants of now-former Magic coach Steve Clifford all will interview or have already interviewed for the job. Hays wonders why Atkinson’s name hasn’t also made the cut, given his track record as a solid coach adept at developing young talent.

Penny Hardaway To Stay At Memphis

Penny Hardaway will stay in his position as head coach of the University of Memphis, Hardaway announced in an Instagram post. He was under consideration for the head coach job with the Magic, and he expressed a future interest in that position, even if the time wasn’t right now.

One day in the future I would love to coach in the NBA, and wouldn’t that be great if it were the Orlando Magic?” Hardaway said. “But today isn’t that day.”

Memphis has a 63-32 record under Hardaway’s leadership, in which time he coached 2020 No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman and No. 20 pick Precious Achiuwa and won the 2021 NIT championship.

Today I’m here with my players, with the fans, with the city, working as hard as I can to try to bring us a national championship,” Hardaway said.

It’s unclear whether Hardaway – a Magic legend in his own right – withdrew from the search or was informed by the team he was no longer under consideration. Either way, Orlando will look elsewhere for its next head coach, with Kenny Atkinson and Terry Stotts among those viewed as strong candidates.

Penny Hardaway Emerges As Serious Candidate For Magic Job

The Magic interviewed University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway for their head coaching position, with Hardaway now emerging as a serious candidate for the job, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.

Hardaway, who played six seasons with Orlando from 1993-99, has coached at the University of Memphis for the past three years. He’s considered to be one of the top guards in Magic history, making the All-Star team four times during his tenure with the franchise.

The Magic and coach Steve Clifford parted ways earlier this month after finishing the season 21-51 — that was the third-worst record in the league. The team has missed the playoffs in seven of its last 10 seasons and is currently in a rebuilding phase.

Along with Hardaway, Orlando has requested to interview Suns assistant Willie Green and Bucks assistant Charles Lee, according to The Athletic’s Josh Robbins.

The team has already interviewed Spurs assistant Becky Hammon and is expected to interview current assistants Tyrone Corbin, Pat Delany and Steve Hetzel, along with Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., says Charania. In addition, Marc Stein of The New York Times also reported (via Twitter) that Orlando requested to interview Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley.

Penny Hardaway Drawing Interest As NBA Coaching Candidate

NBA teams are making calls to gather intel on University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Hardaway is expected to get offers to interview for NBA jobs this offseason.

A four-time All-Star as an NBA player, Hardaway has slowly been climbing the coaching ladder over the last decade. After several years in the high school ranks, he was hired by Memphis in 2018 and has landed top recruits like James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa in recent years. The Tigers haven’t made the NCAA tournament since Hardaway joined the program, but had a 20-8 record and were NIT champions in 2020/21.

It’s not clear which teams might offer Hardaway an interview – or if he’d be open to leaving Memphis – but the Celtics, Pacers, Magic, and Trail Blazers currently have head coaching openings.

Another noteworthy college coach, Juwan Howard of Michigan, continues to draw NBA interest as well, but he has been telling teams that he has no interest in leaving the Wolverines, according to Wojnarowski. Howard, who was specifically identified as a potential Blazers candidate, also rebuffed NBA interest in 2020.