CINCINNATI — Perhaps no coach in the NBA better understands the situation Jacque Vaughn inherited with the Orlando Magic than the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Byron Scott.
Scott was hired as the Cavs’ coach on July 1, 2010, just one week before LeBron James announced he would leave the Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat via free agency. Vaughn became the Magic’s coach about two weeks before the Magic traded away their franchise player, Dwight Howard.
Before the Magic faced the Cavaliers at U.S. Bank Arena on Monday, Scott predicted Vaughn will benefit from having no ties to Howard.
“I know LeBron from a personal standpoint from being around him, but I had no attachment,” Scott recalled. “And same thing with Jacque: He’s coming into a new situation where he has no attachment to Dwight Howard.
“So for him it’ll probably be easier to just kind of move on. For the city, it’s a little bit more difficult. For the organization, it’s a little bit more difficult as well. But I think to have a coach in there that has a clean slate and understands it’s going to take time [is good]. When you lose a franchise player like that, it’s not one of those overnight successes. It’s not going to happen in a year. It’s going to take a little bit of time, but you’ve got to just stick with the process and don’t defer from it.”
Vaughn and Scott don’t know each other well, but Vaughn has known of Scott since the mid-1980s.
Vaughn grew up in the Los Angeles area, and as a child, he rooted for the Los Angeles Lakers.
His first jersey number was 42, in honor of Lakers forward James Worthy. Vaughn once waited outside The Forum, the Lakers’ old arena, and got an autograph from Magic Johnson.
Scott, of course, played 11 seasons for the Lakers, beginning in the Lakers’ “Showtime” era.
“I was a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan — and Byron Scott included,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn, 37, and Scott, 51, have spoken in passing through the years.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Jacque,” Scott said. “I’ve heard a lot about him.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times