The Magic appear ready to move on from Dwight Howard, and step one of rebuilding the franchise is finding a new coach and leader.
Doing that has taken a bit longer than expected as likely the top candidates are waiting to see what Orlando puts together in a Dwight Howard trade package. Rob Hennigan though is moving forward with Orlando’s coaching search.
Wednesday, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reported the Magic plan to interview at least four candidates — Golden State assistant Michael Malone, Indiana associate head coach Brian Shaw, San Antonio assistant Jacque Vaughn and Lakers assistant Quinn Snyder. Robbins reports the Magic are going to begin the first round of interviews this week and it is unclear if there are any more candidates added to the pool.
Shaw and Malone are considered two of the top assistant coaches in the league and many believe either of them are ready to step into the main head coaching role despite a general lack of experience on the bench (and certainly head coaching experience).
The problem is that no one is quite sure what kind of team the Magic will have.
Orlando is still sorting through its options in trading Dwight Howard and it is unclear what kind of package the team will get in return … or how long the rebuilding/reloading project will take. You can see why a coach might be hesitant to dive into the mess before it gets resolved. The future is not very clear right now.
But it is an opportunity to put a fresh stamp on a new team and likely an opportunity to make some mistakes without the most dire consequences.
Orlando remains an intriguing destination.
There is no telling at this point which way Rob Hennigan will go either. Hennigan stated he wanted a young, energetic coach who could relate to players through his own experiences. So it is no surprise that three of the four coaching candidates the Sentinel mentions are former players.
Malone and Shaw have to be considered the favorites. Their names have been bandied about as possible replacements for Stan Van Gundy since his firing in May.
Nobody is quite clear what the Magic’s roster will look like or even what they want or the style of play they will have. That could be incredibly promising to one of these coaches.
Until then though, Orlando waits to trade Dwight Howard and will have Mark Price coach the summer league team next week in Orlando.