Magic, coach Steve Clifford “goes out”, team announces
The Magic and third-year coach Steve Clifford have mutually agreed to “go their separate ways,” the team said in a press release on Saturday. The split has to do with the different success schedule of games for the team.
Clifford, 59, led the team to the NBA playoffs in each of its first two seasons – the first time since Orlando made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season. The team failed to make it through the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs in the two years.
“We would like to thank Steve for his contribution to the Orlando Magic,” said Jeff Weltman, president of basketball operations, in a statement. “We appreciate the many sacrifices he made as a head coach and understand that the timeline of our new path does not match his goals as the head coach of our league.”
Clifford said: “I want to thank the DeVos family, the management of Magic and the entire staff, and I certainly wish everyone the best of luck. It has been an honor and a privilege to coach this team in this community. . “
The Magic (21-51) have had a promising start to the 2020-21 season, starting with a 6-0 record and becoming the last undefeated team in the league. But multiple injuries to key starters (including season ends for Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac) derailed their season. Orlando also traded all-star center Nikola Vucevic, goalkeeper Evan Fournier and forward Aaron Gordon to multiple teams on the NBA trade deadline for future picks, ending any chance the team would make it to the NBA playoffs for a third year.
According to a ESPN Report, Clifford had several meetings with management that led to the two parties ‘mutual decision’ to go their separate ways.
Clifford ends his tenure at Magic at 96-131 and two playoff trips in three seasons. Orlando will immediately begin a coach search, joining Portland and Boston to fill head coach vacancies.