Report: Magic close to firing Jacque Vaughn

17 Comments

Jacque Vaughn was already on the hot seat.

The Magic’s 15-point loss to the Bucks last night, Orlando’s 13th defeat in its last 15 games, might bring things to a head.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Orlando Magic are close to firing coach Jacque Vaughn and a change could come soon, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

As embarrassing losses accumulate, Vaughn is rapidly running out of time to show the progress needed to make it through the next several days –never mind the fourth and final year of his contract in 2015-16, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

“It isn’t a matter of ‘if,’ anymore, but ‘when,’ ” a source close to the decision-making process told Yahoo Sports about Vaughn’s fading job security.

In fact, the lack of a natural candidate to promote to interim head coach from a young, inexperienced staff of assistants has played a part in Orlando management’s hesitancy to have already made a change, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Vaughn has gone 20-62, 23-59 and 15-33 in three seasons with young post-Dwight Howard teams in Orlando.

Under his watch, Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris have become players worthy of All-Star discussion. Victor Oladipo has developed well. Evan Fournier has made strides, and so have Elfrid Payton and Kyle O’Quinn.

But, by signing Channing Frye to a four-year, $32 million contract and Ben Gordon to a two-year, $9 million contract this offseason, management was clearly eying more immediate returns. By failing to deliver those and burying Maurice Harkless on the bench – a reported source of disagreement between the coaching staff and management – Vaughn opened the door for his ouster.

The growth of players who might have developed with or without him probably won’t be enough to save him.

If the Magic fire him, whoever follows Vaughn as permanent head coach – who would follow an interim stint by James Borrego, Wes Unseld Jr. or Brett Gunning – will be walking into a better situation than Vaughn faced. This is a young and talented team, one likely to rise in coming years.

I’m not sure Vaughn could have done more in Orlando, but I’m also sure he didn’t do enough to prove his coaching chops. Whatever role he played in setting the table, it seems someone else is going to enjoy the meal.