Report: Penny Hardaway rising in Magic coaching search

Former Orlando Magic star Penny Hardaway
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Penny Hardaway is a Magic legend.

Could the former star guard become Orlando’s next coach?

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway interviewed for the Orlando Magic head-coaching job and has emerged as a serious candidate, sources tell The Athletic.

According to The Athletic’s Josh Robbins, the Magic also requested permission to interview Suns assistant Willie Green and Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and are expected to interview Denver Nuggets assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. as well as three assistants on ex-coach Steve Clifford’s staff: Tyrone Corbin, Pat Delany and Steve Hetzel. Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, who was a finalist for the Blazers opening, has already interviewed with Orlando.

The Magic will reportedly also interview Jamahl Mosley.

Orlando hasn’t been competitive within, let alone won, a playoff series in a decade. The Magic traded most of their best players – Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier – before the last trade deadline. Jonathan Isaac is the centerpiece of the rebuild, but he’s injured.

Hardaway would create excitement around a stale team.

But those warm feelings of nostalgia would be fleeting if Hardaway isn’t a good-enough coach. Orlando should evaluate him on the merits.

Hardaway has done well at Memphis. He looks like he could be capable of developing young players and instilling a strong culture around them.

That has earned him consideration for this job. But determining whether he’s the best person for it is more difficult.

The Magic are working through that process now.