After just 47 days of unemployment, former Hornets coach Steve Clifford is back in the game.
Steve Clifford has agreed to a four-year contract to become the new head coach of the Orlando Magic, league sources tell ESPN. Magic will hold a news conference today to introduce Clifford, who led Charlotte to two playoff appearances.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 30, 2018
Clifford was an assistant on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Orlando from 2007 to 2012, during which the Magic won over 50 games four times.
The state the Magic are in isn’t quite as good as it was during Cliff’s first go ‘round. After a disastrous three year stretch under first time head coach Jacque Vaughn, the Magic have seemingly abandoned the young up and comer route and have gone exclusively to hiring coaches with previous head coaching experience. Clifford becomes the third such Magic hire in the last four years, joining Scott Skiles and Frank Vogel, who combined to win 36.2% of their games over the last three seasons, each season worse than the previous.
While it’s nice to see Clifford land on his feet after being let go by the Hornets, it’s hard to imagine there being a worse situation for a head coach to fall into. The Magic have been in disarray ever since they let go of Dwight Howard and have shown no indications of turning that around. After all, this is the same team that flipped Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Domantas Sabonis for Terrence Ross and the 25th pick in the 2017 draft via a series of bad deals centering around Serge Ibaka after giving away Moe Harkless for free during the prior offseason.
Good luck Cliff. You’ll need it.