Steve Clifford becomes Magic head coach as Orlando begins rebuilding

Steve Clifford becomes Magic head coach as Orlando begins rebuilding

The Orlando Magic are the third NBA team with a head coach vacancy, joining Portland and Boston.

The Magic and Steve Clifford have agreed to go their separate ways, the team said in a statement Saturday.

We appreciate the many sacrifices you have made as a head coach and understand that the timeline of our new path does not match your goals as our league’s head coach, Magic des president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said in a statement.

Clifford spent three seasons with the Magic, guiding them to the playoffs in 2019 and 2020. He was 96-131 with Orlando, including 21-51 this season in which injuries and COVID 19 health and safety protocols hampered the game. progress.

Before the trade deadline, the Magic distributed Nik Vucevic in Chicago, Evan Fournier in Boston and Aaron Gordon in Denver in exchange for first-round picks in 2021, 2023 and 2025. It was a clear sign that the Magic have entered in a rebuild.

The Magic caused players to miss 414 games due to injury or illness. Mo Bamba was limited to 46 games, Markelle Fultz played in just eight games, Michael Carter-Williams missed 41 games, James Ennis missed 31 games, Chuma Okeke missed 27 games, Terrence Ross missed 26 games, and Jonathan Isaac missed. all season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in the bubble last season.

It has been an honor and a privilege to coach this team in this community, Clifford said Saturday.

Clifford, 59, is a respected coach throughout the league. He has faced health issues over the years and wasted time this season after testing positive for COVID-19. Before Orlando, he coached Charlotte for five seasons.

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