From Joseph Zucker of B/R:
Anfernee Hardaway will be remaining at Memphis and will not take the Orlando Magic’s vacant head-coaching position, according to multiple reports.
Hardaway would have represented a connection to the Magic’s golden era. Orlando reached the 1995 NBA Finals and appeared to be a budding dynasty until Shaquille O’Neal left for the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of the 1996-97 season.
Following a lengthy playing career, the 49-year-old went into coaching and climbed up the ladder to return to his alma mater, Memphis, in 2018. The Tigers have gone 63-32 in his three seasons at the helm.
The Magic finished the 2020-21 season with the NBA’s third-worst record (21-51), which was a far cry from reaching the playoffs in the previous two years. But the front office signaled the start of a rebuild in March by trading away Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic.
In general, Orlando had been stuck on the proverbial treadmill of mediocrity.
The franchise enjoyed a stroke of good fortune when it received the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 NBA draft lottery for the second straight year, which led the league to tweak the lottery format. The draft gods enacted their vengeance across the 2010s as the Magic were adjusting to the post-Dwight Howard era.
They made the playoffs in 2011-12 and then endured a six-year postseason drought. Here’s where they finished in the league and where they fell in the draft lottery during that time.
- 2012-13: 30th (20-62); No. 2 overall (Victor Oladipo)
- 2013-14: 28th (23-59); No. 4 overall (Aaron Gordon)
- 2014-15: 26th (25-57); No. 5 overall (Mario Hezonja)
- 2015-16: 20th (35-47); No. 11 overall (Domantas Sabonis)
- 2016-17: 26th (29-53); No. 6 overall (Jonathan Isaac)
- 2017-18: 26th (25-57); No. 6 overall (Mo Bamba)
Taking Mario Hezonja was a mistake in 2015, but Orlando wasn’t the only team that failed to see the potential in Devin Booker, who was off the board at No. 13. Trading Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka was pretty bad as well.
The Magic also managed to fleece the Milwaukee Bucks when they acquired Tobias Harris in February 2013 and then found themselves fleeced when they dealt him to the Detroit Pistons three years later for Ersan İlyasova and Brandon Jennings.
There were undoubtedly some big missteps when Rob Hennigan worked as the general manager.