The Orlando Magic’s coaching search has been a slow, deliberate process. It is unclear when it will end. But the Magic should take time and get it right.
Information is power in the NBA.
The job of front offices — from president of basketball operations all the way down to the scouts — is to collect information. They have to gather as much intelligence as they can on upcoming players in the draft, personnel around the league and each other. All looking for that little bit of an edge to help them make their teams better.
The league is a zero-sum game at the end of the day. Only one team will win the championship just as only one team can win every game. There are no ties in the NBA.
Every decision holds importance and sets a team down a path for better or for worse. Fans obviously are left waiting to see what will happen.
They too are thirsting for information. It is why Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania get their tweets put on alert the moment they send out information. It is why tweet storms react when the NBA landscape makes the sudden changes it makes throughout the offseason.
The Orlando Magic have had nearly four weeks without a coach since the team relieved Frank Vogel of his duties the day after the season ended. The process has been painstakingly slow.
Fans, hungry for information, have sat and waited as other teams had their coaching searches happen out in public — Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN essentially tweeted out the Milwaukee Bucks’ full interview list on Monday. The Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks already made their hires, taking two candidates some fans favored in Igor Kokoskov and David Fizdale.
The reports on who the Magic have interviewed have been few and far between. The Magic reportedly interviewed Fizdale. They also reportedly spoke with Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool, Raptors 905 coach Jerry Stackhouse and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka.
That is about all fans know based on reports and rumors. That is probably not a full list. And now that the Toronto Raptors are out of the Playoffs, they seem likely to get an interview with assistant coach Nick Nurse. He has long been connected to the Magic job especially with Jeff Weltman’s connections to the Raptors organization.
Still, if you look at just the raw information out there, the Magic have been quiet.
It is here that fans must remember what Jeff Weltman said following the end of the season as the coaching search began. He said the Magic were going to make sure they did this search right. . . not fast. Obviously the quicker the better. But they were not going to rush their process.
There would be no cutting corners to find the right guy. Weltman may not have been with the team during the six years, but he would not make the mistake the Magic made in their rebuild. He was not going to go after the big fish or the publicly popular figure. He was not going to interview through the media or name favorites.
It appears Weltman and the Magic are going to make sure they cross their t’s and dot their i’s before making a final decision. And that is the kind of deliberation and attention the team should take to this decision.
The reality for the Magic is they are in a position where they are likely to undertake a longer-form rebuild. They are an attractive job in the potential the Orlando market has as a free agent destination. But the team is still a long way away from playing even that game.
Right now, choosing to come to Orlando is a leap of faith.
It is a faith that Jeff Weltman and his group can build a new program from the ground up that will develop into a winning team — using the players already on the roster like Aaron Gordon (probably) and Jonathan Isaac and the potential of future draft picks.
That is an uncertain future. And the Magic’s last six years, even with Weltman not a part of that group and that rebuild, are not exactly going to inspire confidence.
This is all why the Magic are being patient. They are making sure they get the right guy in as the head coach. Someone who can set the culture Weltman wants to build and grow with. This is a coach who will set the foundation for whatever the Magic will become.
So if Weltman wants to make sure he interviews every candidate and makes sure he turns over every stone. It is about finding the right guy.
That guy may not be one whom the media has reported on already. That guy might be someone no one expects.
But what is important is that Weltman is sure he is the right guy. And if that takes a little longer and if that comes a little quieter, then the Magic will be better for it.