Rebuilding teams preach process over results amid early struggles and rightfully so. At what point, though, does that mantra devolve from prudent organizational mindset to simple excuse for lack of success? There’s no obvious answer, but the Orlando Magic seem to have reached one nonetheless. According to multiple reports, the team is close to firing coach Jacque Vaughn.
Whispers of Vaughn’s seat growing hotter have lingered since fall and hardly quieted as the Magic have shown little progress during his third season on the sidelines. In as many years since trading Dwight Howard and tearing apart the team that made the 2009 NBA Finals, Orlando has merely taken baby steps to winning – its on pace for 27 victories this season after notching 23 and 20 wins, respectively, in 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 despite an infusion of young and veteran talent.
Understandably and evidently, that’s not enough for GM Rob Hennigan and the Magic’s front office brass. Here’s Yahoo Sorts’ Adrian Wojnarowski:
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.
Vaughn will not be replaced before Orlando meets Dallas on Saturday at Amway Arena, but his job security beyond the start of the two-game trip to Oklahoma City and San Antonio beginning on Monday is uncertain, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
It’s easy to understand why Orlando has lost patience with Vaughn. The opportunity exists in 2014-2015 for an up-and-coming squad to take advantage of the weak Eastern Conference middle class and make a surprising run to the playoffs – Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks are doing just that despite a rash of injuries to key players.
Why aren’t the Magic? There certainly seems to be enough talent on hand for the team to do so. Some believe Nikola Vucevic is an All-Star caliber big man; Victor Oladipo has made strides this season after a somewhat promising rookie campaign; Tobias Harris has emerged as a productive, versatile scorer and improved defender; and Orlando boasts a wealth of solid pieces behind them young and old.
Frankly, the Magic’s whole has been considerably less than the sum of their parts this season. And the team’s wild inconsistency – it won consecutive games against the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets before this latest skid – coupled with an oft incomprehensible on-court identity makes Vaughn an easy scapegoat for Hennigan and company. Considering this is his third year on the job, that’s not an unfair assessment.
We’ll keep you updated as news on this developing story becomes available.
What do you think?
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