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Report: Magic, head coach Steve Clifford agree to part ways

Orlando is in the middle of a heavy rebuild and Clifford is stepping away from the team after three seasons.

Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford reacts to a call during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on May 07, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic and head coach Steve Clifford have mutually agreed to part ways, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday afternoon. Clifford had met with Magic brass over the past few weeks and the two sides decided this would be the best decision. The Magic plan to commence a coaching search, per Woj, with a name already popping up in the rumor mill.

Marc Stein of the New York Times is already reporting that former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts is drawing interest from the Magic. The Blazers and Boston Celtics are the two other teams currently looking for a new head coach so far post-regular season.

Clifford will finish his tenure with the Magic having a 96-131 record, which included two playoff appearances. The Magic finished this season 21-51 and will have a few more top assets coming onto the roster this summer for next season. Orlando has the 3rd best odds to win the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery and also owned the rights to the Chicago Bulls first-round pick if it lands outside the top 4; the Bulls have the 8th best odds to win the lottery.

There’s a decent amount of appeal in taking this job (outside of getting to live in sunny Florida). The Magic have a handful of young talent starting in the backcourt with Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony. The team also traded for 2020 first-round pick RJ Hampton and Terrence Ross is still hanging around. In the front court, Wendell Carter Jr. was acquired in the Nikola Vucevic trade with Chicago. Mo Bamba, Chuma Okeke and Jonathan Isaac all have a lot of upside as well.