Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Digest

Article excerpt

Magic hire Vaughn as head coach

The Orlando Magic hired Jacque Vaughn, 37, as head coach on Saturday, bringing the latest 30-something member to the basketball operations department following the hiring of 30-year-old general manager Rob Hennigan last month.

Vaughn becomes the 10th coach in team history and replaces Stan Van Gundy, who was fired May 21 despite compiling a 259-135 regular- season record, a franchise-best .657 winning percentage and a 31-28 playoff record.

Hennigan chose Vaughn from finalists that included Phoenix Suns development coach Lindsey Hunter and former Detroit Pistons head coach and current Philadelphia 76ers assistant Michael Curry.

A 12-year NBA player before retiring in 2009 with San Antonio, Vaughn's career included 80 games for the Magic in 2002-03. The former Kansas Jayhawks standout has no experience as NBA head coach, but he has spent the past two seasons as an assistant at San Antonio, where he also won a championship as a player in 2007.

Orlando also had preliminary interviews with Golden State assistant Mike Malone and Indiana associate coach Brian Shaw, who, like Vaughn, are considered in NBA circles to be rising prospects among the assistant coaching ranks.

However, before Vaughn was announced, the potential choice received criticism after Vaughn moved to a front-runner position.

Former Magic player and current television analyst Shaquille O'Neal posted a scathing assessment of Vaughn likely succeeding Van Gundy, stating on Twitter: "Orlando magic is about to hire jock Vaughn over are u kidding me, wow, good luck winning wit Dat team Dwite Howard."

O'Neal has friendship ties to both having played with Shaw as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He also briefly played under Malone, who was an assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That criticism aside, the biggest unknown is what - if anything - Vaughn's hire will do to quell or exacerbate Magic center Dwight Howard's desire to leave town. Howard reissued his trade demand to Hennigan last month in Los Angeles where the pair met for the first time, singling out the Brooklyn Nets as his desired landing spot. After recent efforts by Orlando to make that happen fell through, along with possible trades to other teams, Howard told Hennigan in another meeting that he has no desire to return to Orlando next season for the final year of his contract. …

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