Magic fire coach Jacque Vaughn, weigh Scott Skiles as replacement
The Orlando Magic fired Jacque Vaughn as coach Thursday after 2-1/2 seasons, ending the tenure of the first-time head coach brought in to help rebuild the franchise.
General manager Rob Hennigan announced the move, following a 15-37 start to the season and after a series of lopsided losses during a 10-game losing streak. It is the Magic's second skid of at least five games since the start of 2015. The team is set to hold a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Assistant James Borrego has been named interim coach.
Yahoo! Sports/FOX Sports 1 Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Magic will use the All-Star break, which begins Feb. 13, to find their next permanent coach.
Wojnarowski reported that Scott Skiles is the most serious candidate for the job. Skiles played for the Magic from 1989-94 and last coached in the 2012-13 season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Jacque has been a trusted friend and colleague," Hennigan said in a release from the team. "We thank him immensely for his contributions and sacrifices in bringing our team to this point, and we greatly appreciate his unwavering commitment to our organization. We have tremendous respect for Jacque and certainly wish him the best as he embarks on the next phase of his career."
Orlando was also 15-37 through 52 games last season.
The 39-year-old Vaughn ends his Orlando tenure with a 58-158 overall record.
"We went into this season wanting to see some progress," Hennigan said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. "We wanted to see growth. We just didn't feel like we were seeing the type of growth we wanted to see. We're finding ourselves in sort of a rut...but it's a road bump, not a road block."
Vaughn's dismissal comes having the fourth-year option of his contract picked up by the team this this past offseason.
"There's never an ideal time to make a change of this magnitude," Hennigan said. "As season progressed, we just felt like a change needed to be made and this was the time to do it. Plain and simple.
"We were trying to get our hands around the inconsistency we were seeing on the floor. There's a a lot of reasons for that. Jacque's not the only reason for that."
Vaughn struggled to help his team show improvement after a massive offseason influx of players, which included the addition of free agent Channing Frye.
The final tipping point came following the Magic's 110-103 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday, which despite a strong start displayed many of Orlando's recent on-court woes.
Despite being as healthy has the Magic have been all season, the Magic have given up 100 or more point in 14 consecutive games. They've also lost five of their last six at home, where they are just 5-17 this year.
The most recent losing streak has also included perplexing losses to some of the NBA's worst clubs in Detroit, Charlotte, L.A. Lakers, and New York.
Both Vaughn and general manager Rob Hennigan were hired three seasons ago to lead the rebuild of the club following the departure of former franchise stalwart Dwight Howard. In picking up the option year for Vaughn and Hennigan this summer, the belief was that team management wanted to give both an opportunity to lead a team built to make the playoffs.
"We're just not where we feel we should be today," Magic CEO Alex Martins said. "We felt like this was the season where we were going to turn the corner. And we haven't turned the corner."
This past offseason also included the club's most extensive roster makeover since their arrivals. The moves brought in eight new players, including veterans Frye and Ben Gordon, to fortify a roster that already featured a young core of Victor Oladipo and Nik Vucevic.
But the team struggled out of the gate when both Oladipo and the free agent pickup Frye (signed for four years, $32 million) suffered preseason knee injuries. Frye only missed the opener with a sprained left ACL. Oladipo followed up his right MCL sprain with facial fracture that caused him to miss the first nine games.
It seemed to throw off early chemistry as the Magic started the season 10-20. In all Orlando's players have missed 89 games collectively to injury. The list includes this past draft's fourth overall pick Aaron Gordon, who just returned to action after missing 31 games with a broken left foot.
The offensive spark that the team hoped Frye would provide also hasn't been there, with the veteran 3-point specialist averaging just 7.9 points per game.
Through the injuries Orlando has also struggled to find a cohesive lineup. Orlando used 11 different starting lineups this season.