The Orlando Magic announced Saturday, following multiple media reports including the first from the Orlando Sentinel, that they have hired 37-year-old former NBA player and Spurs assistant Jacque Vaughn as their new head coach.
The move is not a surprise, as Vaughn has been in the running for weeks, and held a second reported interview with the Magic brass during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Vaughn missed a game coaching the Spurs’ Summer League team to interview.
Vaughn only retired from playing in 2009, and has spent the past two seasons with the Spurs under Gregg Popovich. Magic GM Rob Hennigan is himself a former Spurs executive having worked with Sam Presti there before joining Presti in Oklahoma City prior to his hire by the Magic. It’s clear that the Magic are trying to emulate the Spurs’ approach. Not an easy thing when you consider the relative success of some of the disciples, but if you’re going to model yourself after someone, that’s the team to do it.
Vaughn came under fire from Shaquille O’Neal recently who questioned why Mike Malone or Brian Shaw was not hired. O’Neal admitted in an interview with NBATV after the schedule release Thursday that he doesn’t know Jacque Vaughn at all, which should come as absolutely zero surprise to anyone.
The Magic managed to keep the interview process under wraps and clearly went in a direction away from more known candidates and towards ones that espoused the kind of quiet approach Hennigan has taken to management early on. Vaughn better get ready to speak a lot, though, with the Dwight Howard situation still unresolved and a roster that could change dramatically at any moment.
The Magic went young, they went with someone from a tree they trusted, they went with someone who comes highly recommended. It’s a gamble, but maybe the kind the organization needs to make.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.