5 candidates for the Orlando Magic’s latest coaching search

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Tyrone Corbin, Orlando Magic, Wesley Iwundu
Tyrone Corbin’s previous relationship with the Orlando Magic should at least get him consideration for their open job. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic are not hiding where they are. They have been in this place before, going through the motions of trying to find the right coach to lead a young team seeking its way.

The players this time might be a bit younger, but president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman has already tipped his hand on the kind of coach he will be looking for. He already found his guy in Steve Clifford three years ago.

The realities of the Magic’s roster development led to a separation from Clifford. The team opted to detonate its roster and start over with a group of young players.

Even as the team tried to drift to the end of the season, Clifford seemed to make it clear what his philosophy was. He was doing his best to help these young players get as much from their time on the court, but the amount of youth without any veteran guidance clearly frustrated him as a teacher.

The repeated statement throughout Weltman’s press conference announcing the parting with the team’s head coach was Clifford’s personal goals and spot in his career no longer aligned with the team’s goals and vision for the future. It makes sense in that case for the team to seek a new voice and leader from the bench.

The Orlando Magic are seeking a new coach once again. And while there is a long list of qualified candidates, there are a few names that are catching our eyes early in the process.

But no doubt, Orlando will be looking for something similar to what Clifford provided. The team picked him, after all, three years ago when the team was trying to crack the playoff nut and get into the postseason.

The team back in 2018 was a bit older. So a more experienced coach like Clifford seemed to fit. Now with the fourth-youngest roster in the league — and possibly three more rookies on the way — the Magic are looking for something different.

Or rather someone different. Because the process and the qualities the team is looking for in a coach probably have not changed.

"“I don’t have a cookie-cutter answer for you,” Weltman said during a media availability Saturday. “I can’t tell you we are going to look for a young guy, or a guy with experience or without. We’re going to meet with a host of bright, sharp coaching candidates and see where they take us. “Obviously, we need to develop a great number of young, talented players. That will figure into the conversations. I don’t think there is a right answer to is there a right age or experience level to be able to accomplish your goals. It’s finding the right person. that’s what we’ll be looking for and that alignment. It’s everything.”"

Orlando will undoubtedly cast a wide net. But the skills that are necessary are someone who is a good teacher, has patience to work through youthful mistakes and can hold the team accountable and to a high standard.

That really does sound like Clifford in many ways. The difference is Clifford was at a point in his career where he did not want to go through a rebuild. That may be a feeling that is present among other experienced coaches.

So it would seem that Orlando is likely to hire a first-time or younger coach to guide this team moving forward. Those are the kind of coaches that might jump at this opportunity.

The reality too is the Magic are likely going to interview a lot of the same coaches who interviewed for the job in 2018. Indeed, the process and the kind of coaches the job will attract are likely not to change.

But here is an early shortlist of candidates.