Since the start of the 2015-16 NBA season, 13 teams have changed coaches — almost half the league. Now there are only openings left, and two of them could be filled this week, maybe as soon as later today.
The Orlando Sentinel‘s Josh Robbins is reporting that the Orlando Magic are close to hiring Frank Vogel to replace Scott Skiles, who unexpectedly resigned last week:
Additionally, The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Mike D’Antoni is on track to get the Houston Rockets job:
If these hires go as planned, both make perfect sense for where these two teams are at. Vogel shares Skiles’ defensive mentality, but his demeanor fits much better with the Magic’s young, growing roster and he has a strong track record of developing talent from his five-plus years in Indiana. Paul George blossomed into a star under him, and Roy Hibbert developed into one of the league’s best rim protectors. Lance Stephenson played his best years under Vogel as well. He’s the perfect combination of demanding and encouraging for this roster — Skiles veered too far in the former direction, at times at the expense of developing players like Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja.
If D’Antoni gets the Houston job, it cements one thing that was already pretty obvious: Dwight Howard will not be back in a Rockets uniform next season. D’Antoni was the coach during Howard’s lone year as a Laker, and it didn’t go well. D’Antoni’s two years in Los Angeles have unfairly damaged his reputation as a coach: He was thrown onto a team expected to contend for a title, and his very hire was the result of a power struggle between Buss siblings. Jeanie Buss’ first choice was her fiancé, Phil Jackson, while her brother, Jim, wanted D’Antoni. He was put in an impossible situation. But he’s a good coach who’s had success in the league, and his fast-paced offensive system could maximize James Harden’s strengths if Daryl Morey puts the right players around him this summer.