5 candidates for the Orlando Magic’s latest coaching search

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Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers
Terry Stotts experienced success with the Portland Trail Blazers but never could get the team over the hump. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Terry Stotts

The first place to start is with the only coach with any substantiated connection to the Orlando Magic at the moment.

Marc Stein of The New York Times was the first to report the Magic had an interest in interviewing former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts after he was similarly relieved of his duties in Portland. Indeed, the Magic hoped to interview him in 2018 during their previous coaching search when it looked like the Blazers might let him go.

Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers /

Portland Trail Blazers

Stotts’ record at this point is pretty unassailable. He coached the Blazers for nine seasons, making the playoffs in eight of those seasons including one trip to the Western Conference Finals. During that time, he helped foster the Blazers through Damian Lillard’s entire career.

Terry Stotts is essentially the mirror image of Steve Clifford.

Where Clifford’s teams have constantly been searching for offense to match his defensive coaching and foundation, Stotts has been constantly chasing a functioning defense to match the offensive firepower and ingenuity his team had.

Having Lillard sure helps, but the Portland Trail Blazers this past year had the No. 2 offense in the league (just a hair behind the vaunted Brooklyn Nets) but the second-worst defense in the league. That was never a formula to win. And while the Blazers certainly struggled to put together a strong roster to defend.

All of their best seasons under Stotts came when the team was able to defend.

Stotts’ name is going to be bounced around every coaching vacancy — the Indiana Pacers might be interested if they move on from Nate Bjorken. In the end, as a veteran coach, Stotts’ goals may not align with another rebuild.

It should be noted too that Stotts went 52-85 in his first coaching stint in Atlanta for two years and then 63-83 in two years with the Milwaukee Bucks, going from a playoff berth in 2006 to 23 wins in 2007.

He may not be the right coach for such a deep rebuild.

Other former NBA coaches to consider: Kenny Atkinson, Alvin Gentry