Tyrone Corbin

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.

Magic’s Steve Clifford Cleared To Return On Wednesday

Magic head coach Steve Clifford, who has been in the NBA’s health and safety protocols for over a week, has been cleared and is on track to coach the team on Wednesday vs. Boston, the team announced today (via Twitter).

We heard back on April 24 that Clifford had registered a positive test for COVID-19. However, he had just received his second vaccination shot and reportedly didn’t experience any symptoms following his diagnosis. Despite not feeling ill, Clifford had to clear the league’s protocols before being given the go-ahead to be around the Magic again.

Clifford has missed five games so far and also won’t be available for Monday’s game against the Pistons, since the team has already traveled to Detroit for that contest. He’ll be ready to go when the Magic return home to host the Celtics on Wednesday.

In Clifford’s absence, Tyrone Corbin temporarily took the reins as Orlando’s acting head coach. He has led the team to a 2-3 record so far, with wins over Cleveland and Memphis.

Magic Coach Steve Clifford Tests Positive For COVID-19

7:11pm: Clifford held a Zoom call with reporters tonight, saying he has no COVID-19 symptoms and feels fine, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Clifford said he had a positive test Thursday night, followed by two negative tests Friday and another positive this morning. He underwent another test today and will be tested again Sunday morning.

Clifford added that one of the officials from Tuesday’s game in Atlanta tested positive for the virus, which put the Magic in an enhanced protocol (Twitter link). Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin would take over if Clifford isn’t cleared to coach Sunday (Twitter link).

“I don’t see a way that I coach tomorrow night. Monday, maybe,” Clifford said. “Then I guess if all these tests are negative it could be a chance by the time we go on the road.” (Twitter link)


5:40pm: Magic head coach Steve Clifford has returned a positive COVID-19 test, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sources tell Charania that Clifford has received his first vaccine and is considered asymptomatic, and there’s hope that the test result is a false positive.

The Magic canceled today’s practice, according to Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link), but a team official said they are hopeful they can play Sunday’s game against the Pacers.

Results of the test are considered inconclusive, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Clifford could be cleared to coach tomorrow night if he tests negative two times before the game begins.

Clifford, 59, is in his third season as head coach in Orlando.

Tyrone Corbin To Join Magic’s Coaching Staff

Tyrone Corbin will be the next addition to Steve Clifford’s coaching staff in Orlando, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.

Corbin had been with the Suns for the past two years and was promoted to lead assistant under Jay Triano when Earl Watson was fired in October. Corbin began his coaching career with the Jazz in 2004 and later became head coach in Utah, compiling a 112-146 record in a little more than three seasons. He also had a brief stint as head coach of the Kings, posting a 7-21 mark in 2014/15.

Before turning to coaching, the 55-year-old had a 16-year playing career that included time with nine NBA franchises.

Corbin will be the fifth assistant named by Clifford since he was hired as Magic head coach in late May. The others — Mike Batiste, Pat Delany, Steve Hetzel and Bruce Kreutzer — all worked with him in Charlotte.

Suns Notes: Assistants, Watson, McDonough, Bledsoe

Three Suns assistants were fired Sunday along with head coach Earl Watson, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPNNate Bjorkgren, Mehmet Okur and Jason Fraser were all dismissed after a meeting with management Sunday night. Bjorkgren served as a bench coach, while Okur and Fraser were part of player development.

Bjorkgren is a former G League head coach and an original member of Watson’s staff. Okur, who played 10 years in the NBA, joined the Phoenix staff at the start of last season. Fraser had been with the team since 2015.

Tyrone Corbin will be promoted to lead assistant under interim coach Jay Triano. A former head coach with the Jazz and Kings, Corbin is in his second season on the Suns’ staff.

There’s more news this morning out of Phoenix:

  • Watson had a tumultuous relationship with GM Ryan McDonough during his two and a half seasons as head coach, Wojanarowski writes in the same story. They clashed frequently over a variety of topics, and owner Robert Sarver ultimately sided with McDonough. Watson, who leaves with an 87-142 record, offered a farewell message to the team and his fans. “Thank you to my Suns family, the Phoenix community and everyone who has supported me through this journey,” he said. “Life has unpredictable pivots that I embrace humbly and with great purpose.”
  • Suns star Eric Bledsoe received a lot of attention for Sunday’s tweet that read, “I don’t wanna be here,” but it wasn’t the first time he expressed a desire to get out of Phoenix, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). The eighth-year guard met with with management before the season started to tell them he wanted to be dealt. On top of the losing, Bledsoe was unhappy when the team decided to shut him down because of soreness in his knees last March.
  • Bledsoe was excited about the possibility of being traded to Cleveland over the summer as part of a rumored deal for Kyrie Irving, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. The teams were close to completing the trade and Bledsoe was “depressed” when it fell through, a source tells Amico.
  • The Suns’ problems stem more from the roster McDonough put together than Watson’s coaching, writes Mitch Lawrence of Forbes. Phoenix is trying to compete with four rookies and four second-year players, including a 19-year-old in Dragan Bender and three 20-year-olds. Lawrence states that Bledsoe and fellow veteran Tyson Chandler aren’t pleased with the youth movement. He also notes that McDonough hasn’t been able to find a franchise player despite picking fourth twice, fifth and eighth in the past five drafts.
  • Former Suns stars Steve Nash and Dan Majerle are among the potential replacements for Watson suggested by Jordan Greer of The Sporting News. Others are Adrian Griffin, Ime Udoka, Monty Williams, Sean Miller, Jerry Stackhouse, Mark Jackson and Brent Barry.

Pacific Notes: Gay, Pierce, Calathes, Kings, Suns

After Rudy Gay made some interesting comments that conveyed his dissatisfaction with his situation in Sacramento, Kings general manager Vlade Divac was asked about the disgruntled forward. As James Ham of CSN California details, Divac downplayed Gay’s comments about a lack of communication between him and the Kings as trade rumors swirl.

“He has my number,” the Kings GM said. “If I do something, I will call him. Obviously, if I didn’t call him, we didn’t do anything. … I was a player, 16-17 years in the league, nobody called me everyday and tell me what management is doing. Management was doing their job. If something big happened, they called and told me. Obviously, nothing big happened (so) I’m not going to call anybody.”

Let’s check in on a few other items from out of the Pacific division…

  • Paul Pierce has yet to formally announce a decision one way or the other about his future, and a source tells Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links) that the veteran forward will take a few more weeks to weigh his options and make a final call. However, another source suggests to Turner that Pierce is planning to return to the Clippers for one more season.
  • As we heard earlier this week, the Kings made an effort to land Nick Calathes, but the former Grizzlies guard is “bound to return” to Panathinakos in Greece, according to international journalist David Pick.
  • The Suns have officially announced Earl Watson‘s coaching staff, confirming in a press release that Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren will be assistants, with former Raptors coach Jay Triano serving as the club’s associate head coach.
  • After signing a three-year deal with the Suns, Jared Dudley has penned a piece for The Players’ Tribune about returning “home” and aiming to get the Suns back to their “2010 vibe.”

And-Ones: Whiteside, Brown, Williamson, Griffin

Hassan Whiteside hopes to make a decision on his future on Friday, the first day teams can negotiate with free agents, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 27-year-old center says several factors will affect his ultimate choice, but a sense of loyalty to the Heat won’t be among them. “I really don’t think it’s about loyalty,” Whiteside said. “I think it’s just about the best situation for myself and that’s what I think it is.” Whiteside said he had a “good” meeting with team president Pat Riley recently to discuss his future in Miami. “So it’s not that I’m really counting the Heat off or I’m counting on another team,” Whiteside said. “It’s just open.”

There’s more news tonight from around the league:

  • Former NBA head coach Mike Brown is a “strong contender” to become an assistant coach with the Warriors, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Brown and Tyrone Corbin were believed to be the finalists for the position, but Corbin will join Earl Watson’s staff in Phoenix. Brown has a 347-216 record as head coach of the Cavaliers and Lakers.
  • The Magic interviewed Corliss Williamson Friday about becoming an assistant to new coach Frank Vogel, tweets Chris Mannix of The Vertical. Williamson is still a member of the Kings‘ coaching staff, so no decision has been made, tweets James Ham of CSNBayArea.
  • Cavaliers GM David Griffin doesn’t expect to make any major changes to the NBA champs this summer, Stein tweets. “We intend to keep this group together and see what we’re capable of,” Griffin said today during an appearance on ESPN Radio.
  • The Spurs will consider bringing over 6’10” Slovenian power forward Erazem Lorbek this summer, according to Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio acquired the rights to the 32-year-old in a 2011 deal that sent George Hill to the Pacers. At one time, Lorbek was among the best big men in the Euroleague, but he sat out last season and the Spurs aren’t sure if he is in NBA shape.

Tyrone Corbin To Join Suns’ Coaching Staff

The Suns will hire Tyrone Corbin as an assistant to head coach Earl Watson, tweets Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com. This is Corbin’s first coaching job since he was dismissed as head coach of the Kings midway through the 2014/15 season.

He started his coaching career in 2004/05 as an assistant with the Jazz. He was promoted to head coach in the middle of the 2010/11 season and compiled a 112-146 record in three and a half seasons.

Corbin landed an assistant’s job in Sacramento in 2014/15 and was appointed interim head coach when Michael Malone was fired. He held that position for 28 games, posting a 7-21 record, until the Kings hired George Karl.

Earlier this month, Corbin was mentioned as a candidate for the lead assistant’s position with Golden State.

Warriors Consider Tyrone Corbin, Mike Brown

Tyrone Corbin has emerged along with Mike Brown as the top candidates to be the lead assistant in Golden State next season, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Brown has been linked to the position before, but Corbin, a former teammate of Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, is a new name in the mix. (Twitter link).

Corbin is a former head coach with the Kings and Jazz and has been out of coaching since being relieved of his interim position with Sacramento when George Karl was hired in 2015. He has been working as an adviser to the Kings’ front office ever since.

Brown served as head coach of the Cavaliers and Lakers and has been out of coaching since Cleveland fired him after the 2013/14 season. Brown reportedly turned down an assistant’s position in Memphis last week.

The Warriors’ lead assistant job will be open once the NBA Finals are done and Luke Walton leaves to become head coach of the Lakers. He held the position in Golden State for one season, taking over when Alvin Gentry left to take the reins in New Orleans.

Kings Eye McMillan, Ewing, McHale, Blatt, Others

1:27pm: McHale appears unlikely to take the Kings job, and Del Negro is the most realistic candidate, Mannix suggests.

THURSDAY, 1:02pm: Nate McMillan is also in the mix, sources told Stein (Twitter link).

10:15pm: The possibility of hiring McHale is gaining traction within the Kings organization, Chris Mannix of The Vertical tweets. Sacramento is intrigued by the possibility of McHale working with DeMarcus Cousins, Mannix adds.

3:09pm: The Kings are also considering Patrick Ewing, league sources tell Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

12:40pm: Kevin McHale and Mark Jackson are also under consideration, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Kings do have strong interest in Thibodeau and Brooks but acknowledge they’ll be tough gets, Stein adds. McHale is just a few months removed from having been fired by the Rockets, while Jackson last coached in 2013/14 with the Warriors.

WEDNESDAY, 11:53am: The Kings, poised to fire George Karl, will consider a group of candidates that includes David Blatt, Vinny Del Negro, Jeff Hornacek, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga and Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks, who frequently draw mention as top NBA coaching candidates, are uninterested in the job, as Wojnarowski hears from league sources.

Blatt, whom the Cavs fired as their head coach in January, is also reportedly under consideration from the Knicks, though he’s reportedly a long shot for that job. The Nets have reportedly been eyeing him as well, and he has ties to the Brooklyn organization, having coached the Russian national team, which received significant financial backing from Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Sacramento reportedly contacted Del Negro about its head coaching job in December 2014, when the team fired Michael Malone. Del Negro, a former Kings player, hasn’t coached in the NBA since the 2012/13 season with the Clippers, but Wojnarowski reported that he interviewed for the Pelicans job last summer.

Chatter about Hornacek has been quiet since the Suns fired him in February, though he earned respect around the league when he led Phoenix to a 48-34 record in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season during his first year as an NBA head coach. The Suns have regressed since then, and Hornacek wound up 101-112 overall in Phoenix. He was an assistant under former Kings coach Tyrone Corbin on the Jazz.

Wojnarowski wrote in February that Larranaga and Atkinson weren’t particularly eager to land the Kings job if it were to open. The assistants both reportedly interviewed for the Sixers job three years ago and have drawn frequent mention as a possible NBA head coaching candidate since. Larranaga was reportedly a contender for the recent opening at Georgia Tech that Josh Pastner ultimately filled.