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Report: Magic hire Steve Clifford as coach

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 27: Head coach Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets yells to his team during their game against the Chicago Bulls at Spectrum Center on February 27, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Every Magic coach since Stan Van Gundy – Jacque Vaugh, Scott Skiles and Frank Vogel – has failed in Orlando.

Will former Hornets coach Steve Clifford snap the skid?

He’ll get a chance.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Clifford, who missed several weeks last season due to health issues, said he wanted to coach next season. This proves it. Not just because he took a job, but because he took this job.

Magic president Jeff Weltman hasn’t had much opportunity to overhaul a talent-lacking and unbalanced roster, and Orlando faces another bind this summer. The Magic’s top player, Aaron Gordon, will be a restricted free agent. Keeping him could require a sizable payout, and it’s not certain he fits with Orlando’s other most promising player, Jonathan Isaac. Losing Gordon would mean taking a step back while not gaining much flexibility.

It’d be really nice for the Magic if Clifford helps this team win at even a moderate rate, which would raise everyone’s trade value. Given his tenure in Charlotte, that seems possible. Clifford is a good coach – a straightforward communicator who schemes a sound defense and gets players to buy in.

Before coaching the Hornets, Clifford was Van Gundy’s assistant in Orlando under a different front office for five years. The Magic made the playoffs each of those five seasons, won a series most of them and peaked at a Finals appearance.

Orlando hasn’t returned to the postseason since.

For the Magic to break that drought, they’ll first and foremost need to upgrade the roster. But hiring Clifford is also a good step.