Orlando Magic Rumors: Anfernee Hardaway “flattered” but not interested in Magic job

Anfernee Hardaway was quickly rumored for the Orlando Magic's coaching job, but he does not appear ready to leave Memphis. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Anfernee Hardaway was quickly rumored for the Orlando Magic's coaching job, but he does not appear ready to leave Memphis. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

It did not take long for Orlando Magic fans to pick their favorite candidate to replace Steve Clifford. A lot of them had picked their favorite replacement even while Clifford had the job in Orlando.

Anfernee Hardaway has been on the tip of everyone’s lips when it comes to the Magic’s coaching future ever since he took the job with Memphis after building a strong reputation as a middle school, high school and AAU coach.

Now that the job is open and Hardaway has proven both his recruiting chops and some of his coaching chops after winning the NIT this season, Hardaway is the popular choice.

Fans quickly gathered momentum for Anfernee Hardaway to be the next coach of the Orlando Magic. Despite being flattered by the connection, Hardaway does not appear ready to leave Memphis yet.

So popular, in fact, media in Orlando asked president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman about him directly. Weltman said he did not know Hardaway personally and did not want to comment on Hardaway’s interest in the job or jeopardize his status with his previous employer.

As Weltman noted, the team will not reveal who interviewed with the team out of respect for those who interview for the position.

The process is just starting.

But the big question that remained was whether Hardaway was interested at all. He is still a relatively young coach and Memphis is a town he has very deep roots in.

For his part, it appears he does not have much of an interest in the job despite the potential to coach the team he starred for.

Anfernee Hardaway told Memphis’ Sports56’s Greg Gaston and Eli Savoie that while flattered with the interest, he still feels he has work to do in Memphis.

To be sure, Memphis fans were a little bit nervous over the prospect of Hardaway leaving still. When the suggestion hit some national media waves outside of the Orlando fan bubble, it had ripples with the Memphis faithful.

While Hardaway has had some strong recruiting classes and successes, he is still finding his way on the court. The Tigers have gone 63-32 in three seasons but have failed to reach the NCAA Tournament. Memphis did win the NIT last year.

But they seem largely attached to their local hero and the job he has done so far with his alma mater.

The prospect of Hardaway leaving was a big topic in Memphis sports talk radio, 92.9 FM ESPN Radio in Memphis noted that Hardaway certainly does have NBA aspirations. And if the Magic give him a courtesy interview, he likely would take it, it does not seem likely to them that Hardaway would be ready to leave Memphis.

It certainly feels like Hardaway might be on the periphery of the NBA radar, but not interested in making the move quite yet. That will give everyone a bit of a sigh of relief.

This just may not be the right opportunity or time to make the leap. The Magic are probably looking for a coach like Hardaway who can connect to younger players. That part of his coaching attributes and skills is certainly something that would interest the Magic.

Jeff Weltman can align Orlando Magic how he wants. dark. Next

There is still a lot to sort through from the early list of prospects to fill in the coaching chair for Orlando. And it does not seem like there will be a rush to fill the job with the NBA Draft Combine on June 21 as the next big date on the calendar.