Possible replacements for Magic’s Jacque Vaughn abound
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn’s seat is so hot he might need to wear asbestos trousers.
His team is 15-34 and has lost 13 of its last 15 games, including seven in a row. Unhappy with the club’s progress, Magic management has told the Sentinel there is no guarantee that Vaughn will finish the season as the head coach.
That already has led to speculation about Vaughn’s successor. There are plenty of candidates to fill an interim opening or to be hired by the club for a longer term.
• James Borrego: Borrego is in his third season as an assistant coach under Vaughn. He was an assistant from 2010-12 with the New Orleans Pelicans and spent seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs in various capacities, including assistant coach. He played collegiately at San Diego. Borrego is usually interviewed by the Magic television network before the start of third quarters, offering insight on the team’s play.
• Wes Unseld Jr.: The son of Hall of Famer Wes Unseld is in his third season as a Magic assistant. He spent 13 seasons with his father’s former team, the Washington Wizards, working in player development and as an assistant coach. Unseld Jr. played for John Hopkins. He coached the Magic’s summer league team last year.
• Scott Skiles: The 50-year-old, a former Magic fan favorite as a player in the early years of the franchise, has been a head coach in Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee. His teams made six playoff appearances. He has a tough no-nonsense approach that would more resemble Stan Van Gundy’s style more than that of Vaughn. Skiles has a home in the Central Florida area.
• George Karl: The 63-year-old apparently is looking to get back into coaching after parting ways with the Denver Nuggets in 2012-13. He led them to a 57-25 record. Karl has coached five teams in his career, incredibly missing the playoffs only three seasons. Whether he and the rebuilding Magic would be a fit at this time would be the question.
• Mark Jackson: The 49-year-old steadily improved Golden State for three seasons, winning 51 games last season before being fired after the Warriors were ousted in the first round of the playoffs. Although popular with the players, Jackson also struggled with ownership.
• Tyronn Lue: A former Magic point guard and an 11-year veteran, Lue is the right-hand man to Cleveland Cavs coach David Blatt. Regarded as one of the top young coaching prospects, he reportedly is the highest-paid NBA assistant coach at four years for $6.5 million. Lue, 37, was an assistant under Doc Rivers in Boston and with the L.A. Clippers for five seasons.
• John Calipari: If the Magic wanted to play a long shot and make a splash (see Billy Donovan, 2007), they could call on the Kentucky Wildcats coach. Calipari, 55, would have to want to scratch an old NBA itch. He coached the then-New Jersey Nets in his late 30s but was fired after two-plus seasons.
• Michael Curry: Curry, who played in the NBA for 11 seasons, was one of the finalists for the Magic job before the club hired Vaughn. He coached the Detroit Pistons for one season, in 2008-09, reaching the playoffs at 39-43. He is currently in his first season as coach of the Florida Atlantic Owls.
• Adrian Griffin: Griffin played 10 seasons in the NBA and is an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls under Tom Thibodeau. The Magic also had interest in Griffin before hiring Vaughn.
Others: Vinny Del Negro, Michael Malone, Alvin Gentry, P.J. Carlesimo, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.
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