Okay, so this is news I guess. The Orlando Magic just fired Jacque Vaughn. Via ESPN:
The Orlando Magic have fired head coach Jacque Vaughn, general manager Rob Hennigan announced Thursday.
Vaughn, 39, was in his third year as Orlando's coach and had a 58-158 record. A former Spurs assistant coach under Gregg Popovich, Vaughn was hired to guide the Magic in their post- Dwight Howard era.
"Jacque has been a trusted friend and colleague," Hennigan said. "We thank him immensely for his contributions and sacrifices in bringing our team to this point, and we greatly appreciate his unwavering commitment to our organization. We have tremendous respect for Jacque and certainly wish him the best as he embarks on the next phase of his career."
Vaughn, in a separate release, thanked Magic owner Rich DeVos and the DeVos family.
"I am a stronger and wiser man and coach because of the opportunity," Vaughn said in the statement. "I look forward to seeing this group continue to grow."
Hennigan said assistant coach James Borrego has been named the interim coach. The team is set to hold a news conference Thursday afternoon.
The Magic dropped their 10th straight game -- and have lost 16 of their past 18 games -- with a 110-103 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday.
First of all, thank you Utah Jazz for not losing 10 straight this year. And second, Vaughn has coached the Magic for two and a half seasons, and managed a 58-158 record. Let's be real here, though, the Magic were in bottom out mode and now are trying to develop. They are like the Jazz. The best players Vaughn had were Nikola Vucevic (2nd year going forward), Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, Maurice Harkless, J.J. Redick, Glen Davis, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Evan Fournier. This isn't the same thing like a dude like Tyrone Corbin being handed Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams / Devin Harris, and a bunch of vets and failing to make a dent in the tough Western Conference. This is a guy bringing together a lot of young players and 'never-beens' and getting fired for not winning.
That's absurd. You can't actually win now if your roster isn't built to win now. Sure, he's been the head coach for a while, but I think that this news is unfair. But this is the season for unfair coaching moves, the Sacramento Kings got rid of Mike Malone after they went 11-13 to start the season.
I like Vaughn. He's a Utah Jazz guy. He started his career in Utah. He played four seasons in SLC. But I guess if your front office doesn't have your back, or the ownership doesn't champion stability, you will get moved soon. Corbin had the stability and was allowed to coach for year after year, despite not making the team better (my opinion). Was Vaughn making the Magic better? In his first season they won 24.4% of their games. Last season they won 28.0% of the games they played in. And this season they were winning 28.8%. So improvement every season, but perhaps the W/L record wasn't forgivable.
But, again, you can't win now if your roster isn't built for win now. This season's Magic is built around Nikola Vucevic (24 years old), Tobias Harris (22), Channing Frye (31), Evan Fournier (22), Elfrid Payton (20), Victor Oladipo (22), and down the line, maybe Aaron Gordon (19). So this is clearly not a team built to win now. Firing a guy because of a lack of wins is cowardice. If there were other reasons for the firing I can see that. Corbin was fired not for a lack of wins, but for a lack of ability to get on the same page with the GM Dennis Lindsey. As far as I could tell, Vaughn was on the same page -- the young guys were playing a lot, the team was winning more, but there's no Walt Disney ending to Vaughn's tenure as head coach. Personally, Vaughn was one of the nicest, most accessible coaches I've spoken with at NBA events. He was smart, and capable.
Someone who appears to be incapable is Brian Shaw. He recently told the media that he felt like his team was losing games on purpose in order to get him fired. How do you talk to your team after saying that? He may very well be the next head coach to get fired. What do you think?
Co-incidentally, I was on the Phil Naessens show to talk about how crazy these coaches are getting, and which ones are on the hot seat. This was recorded BEFORE the Vaughn news, and most of it is talking about how poorly things are being handled by the Denver Nuggets. Listen to it all at Phil's site here, or below.
The coaching talk starts at about the 20:15 min mark.
I feel like the Vaughn thing is bad, but the Shaw thing is just insane. Verily, in the membrane.