After agreeing to a deal with Frank Vogel on Thursday, the Orlando Magic completed a whirlwind eight days by announcing their new head coach.
The team confirmed reports Friday that Vogel had been hired and will be formally introduced Monday.
“While we were conducting our search, it became very evident that Frank is a terrific fit for our organization,” Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan said in a statement. “He is a strong, hardworking and experienced leader, who will continue to instill smart, physical, unselfish and defensive-minded basketball in our group. We welcome him into the Magic family, as we move forward in a positive direction.”
Vogel, 42, replaces Scott Skiles, who surprised the organization when he resigned May 12. Vogel comes to Orlando as a proven head coach with playoff experience, having led the Indiana Pacers to the postseason the last five seasons.
Raptors back at home
After two bad games in Cleveland, Kyle Lowry isn’t lacking confidence as the Eastern Conference finals shift to Toronto.
Still, if Toronto’s All-Star guard doesn’t step up soon, the Raptors look likely to become the latest victim of a Cleveland sweep.
Lowry made only eight of 28 shots, going one for 15 from long range, in Games 1 and 2 at Cleveland. Both were blowout wins for the Cavaliers and they started the postseason 10-0, two shy of San Antonio’s NBA record set in 1999.
Now, Lowry is hoping a return home will help Toronto against LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 3 Saturday.
“I think we’ll be better at home,” Lowry said practice Friday. “We’re supposed to be better at home. We’re down 2-0 but we haven’t played on our home floor yet.”
Toronto is 6-2 at home in the playoffs after going 32-9 at Air Canada Centre in the regular season.
“We’ve got to go out tomorrow night and hold down our fort,” DeMar DeRozan said.
Lowry has certainly had an up-and-down postseason. He scored 96 points over the final three games against Miami, but has seven games with 10 or more attempts in which his shooting percentage was below .300. The only player to do that more often in a playoff season is Hedo Tukoglu with eight for Orlando in 2009.
Changes in Minnesota
New Minnesota Timberwolves GM Scott Layden has announced sweeping changes to the team’s front office and coaching staffs, starting with the departures of former GM Milt Newton and vice president of sports performance Arnie Kander.
Layden announced the changes Friday night, a few weeks after he and Coach Tom Thibodeau were hired to take over the team’s coaching and front office. Vice president of basketball operations Rob Babcock, assistant coach Sidney Lowe and scouts Milt Barnes and Jason Hervey were among the others let go.
Newton worked closely with the late Flip Saunders to reshape the team’s roster and bring in the young talent that has generated so much optimism.