instead. Black and Blue's Orlando Magic Blog: May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Billy Donovan Accepts Offer to Coach Magic SAYS ESPN

Okay...let's try this again.

This time ESPN said on television that NBA officials have confirmed that Billy Donovan will be the next coach of the Orlando Magic.

ESPN typically doesn't mess up, except for when they allow Bill Simmons to write fluff Patriots pieces or having Lavar Arrington on "Dream Job".

I think it's safe to start celebrating.

I think....?

Edit: YES! Done and DONE. Time to party.

Funny Animated MySpace Images
Hopefully this gets that stadium deal done.

Whoa! Yahoo LIED!

Surprise central! Yahoo is full of S**t!

They changed their main page from a statement to a question. Donovan has NOT in fact accepted the job.

This entire situation has turned into a game of telephone. I think the fact will come out at some point next week that everyone misheard Billy Donovan and he had originally agreed to "Roach the Attic".

Stay tuned!

Donovan Agrees!

Well, it's not exactly Ron Burgandy...but close!
Yahoo news reports: Billy Donovan has accepted a guaranteed five-year, $28.5 million offer to become the Orlando Magic's new head coach. The deal includes a one-year option that could make it worth close to $36 million.

Yahoo news is one of the most careful news venues out there, normally reporting things wayyyy after other places if Yahoo News says it, it's the truth!

Breaking News: Magic Expect Donovan To Sign With Them

It is flooding the airwaves. The Magic reportedly offered Billy Donovan a contract for 6 million/year and they EXPECT HIM TO SIGN!

My first reaction was shock, but then by next reaction looked something like this:

I am just hoping it is true. It would be a PR disaster if it isn't. Word is that they have a verbal agreement, but just need him to sign the papers. This would in effect ensure that the stadium deal goes through, which would mean the Magic are staying long term, which would mean they would get the all star game in a few years, which would mean...
Sorry, I just blacked out for a moment.
Where was I? Oh yeah: Also, it would help us entice free agents in this pivotal summer.

Just for old time's sake, let's take a look at Otis in action:

ESPN News reporting it is a done deal. 6 years/36 million.

Great day to be a Magic fan

Edit: ESPN is now reporting he is still thinking it over. Something tells me this is going to be a huge 24 hours.

More Names Pop Off The List, What Are We Left With?

In terms of the Magic coaching search, yesterday was one big, swift kick in the junk.

Yes, twas a bad day for our coaching prospects as Marc Iavaroni reportedly signed with Memphis and the Gators are setting up a press conference, meaning that Billy Donovan re-upped with Florida. Many believe Iavaroni chose Memphis because of their open GM position, which Memphis whill most likely try to match perfectly to their new coach (as opposed to the situation in Orlando, where Otis is looking for his perfect match). As for Billy, he will return to Florida because...well, it's a sweet position and he seems happy remaining a college coach. I do not hold this against him because history is certainly not on the side of college coaches having success in the NBA.

With these two extremely popular candidates off of the board, the argument could justly be made that the Magic waited far too long to begin their coaching search. The NBA finals haven't even begun yet, and already prime candidates in Rick Adelman, Sam Vincent, and Marc Iavaroni are gone. Rather than dwell on this oversight, I think it's time to clamp down and take a look at what the future know, before these coaches also get swept up right under our noses. Arg! Can't dwell!

The first candidate I have spoken about in length already: Stan Van Gundy. In my opinion, this guy was one of the best prospects for us right from the get go. It boggles my mind how our team has not brought him in for an interview yet. The fans are chanting his name for consideration, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears for now. If this coaching search goes by without us so much as talking to Stan, we really dropped the ball in my opinion.

Another fan favorite for consideration is Rick Carlisle. Yes, his style of play really doesn't fit Otis' 'run and gun' technique...but the fact remains that he still is a great coach who is still relatively young. He also could help develop Dwight's game since he seemed to work wonders with Jermaine O'Neal. More than anything, like Stan the Man Rick Carlisle has been a great evaluator of talent over the years and would at least ensure we put the best product on the floor.

These two names are nice and all, but the name mentioned more heavily than any other the past few days has been that of Mr. PJ Carlesimo. Why has his name come up? Because many people are looking squarely at Otis Smith and Dave Twardzik's ties to him from their time in Golden State. A lot of Magic 'insiders' are even going to the length of reporting that PJ already has the job in Otis' mind, and the Magic are simply waiting until the Spurs are done playing to offer it to him. So far the public reaction to PJ being considered has not been good. The apathy I reported about a few days ago has spilled into full on rage. PJ just seems too much like Brian Hill for a lot of people's tastes, and it sounds like a hire based on past friendships rather than what is best for the franchise. The only glimmer of hope with this hire would be that PJ would put whomever Otis wanted on the floor and we can cross our fingers he learned something from Poppovich these past years. -At least about controlling his temper.
Next you have Terry Porter, a name that has seemingly come up only recently. For those of you who don't know, Terry is a former player who coached the Bucks from 2003-2005. His first year he led what was a pretty crappy team into the playoffs, and then the next year missed the playoffs and was fired. Overall, his record with them was 71-93. He is currently an assistant with the Detroit Pistons, and seems to be doing a pretty good job with them.

Lastly, due to the lack of candidates, the team is considering current Bobcats assistant Lotney "Sloth" Fratelli. Like many of the candidates the Magic are considering, Lotney has a temper problem, has compiled a losing record in his past coaching positions (31-51 with the now defunct "Wilmington Fightin' Delewares" NBDL team), has slid into a comfy assistant coaching position with little to no possibility of job evaluation, and is not exactly a looker. He is leaning heavily on his past friendship with Dave Twardzik, who fed him Baby Ruths.

Of course I am joking with one of the coaching possibilities. -Terry Porter really has no shot.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Donovan Contacted...You Saying Van Gundy Isn't Pretty Enough?

Well, the Magic finally did it. They contacted Billy Donovan to gauge his interest.

On one hand you have to say to yourself, "Sweet. Maybe there is the outside chance Donovan will coach the Magic. Not bad!"

On the other hand you have to say, "Well...when asked if he would coach the Magic, didn't he say last week that "My focus is on coaching at the University of Florida,'' and "I look forward to sitting down with Jeremy (Foley) and Dr. (Bernie) Machen and finalizing a contract in the very near future"?
One might also say, "Wait a second, if the Magic are just starting to speak to Donovan and the other candidates now, they really WERE doing absolutely nothing in that 3 week lull before they fired Brian Hill. All those 'the team is talking with Donovan' and 'they're secretly meeting with coaches' articles and statements fly out of the window and mean we literally sat on our hands on an organization until Bob Vander Weide came back from a trip to Michigan."

Ya know. One might say this.

Still, that aside, the Magic would look like morons if they didn't at least try. I'm pretty sure that is the organization's thinking as well. Billy Donovan is poised to be one of the highest paid college basketball coaches, has made the University of Florida into a powerhouse, and has established his name as one of the greats in the game.

The Magic know they are basically trying to lure Gollum away from the ring here, and I'm sure that is part of the reason they mentioned other names before his in the college coach search. If their first move was to talk to Billy, when he turned them down it would be yet more egg on the face of a team that seems to pride itself on fitting as many yolks on their mugs as possible. Now, they throw Donovan's name in there, nonchalant and smooth, and if he doesn't take it...ah well. I would like to see Otis Smith when he goes out cruising for girls. He probably dangles his phone number out, smiles, and says, "You can take my number, ladies, or not. It don't make no difference to a playa like me." At this point Otis then winks, escorts a girl out, and says, "Works every time" like Billy Dee Williams in the Colt 45 ads.

Still, as slim as the chances are of Donovan coming, contacting him at least makes things interesting. The team is obviously looking for a big name to help push their attempts at a new stadium through. The lack of a big fancy name and attractive persona is is what many people cite as the main reason behind Stan Van Gundy not being contacted yet. This is madness. In addition to being one of the best candidates for the job, Stan the Man has those movie star good looks and swagger that a coach needs. Who wouldn't be turned on by these images?

Hmm....well okay maybe they have a point there. Still, I hope the Magic contact and seriously consider Stan.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

To Larry, Or Not To Larry....That Is The Question

Stephen A Smith, the king of punctuating his sentences with "How-EVA"s, said on ESPN yesterday that the names he hears most often with the Orlando Magic open coaching position are Stan Van Gundy and Larry Brown.

As many of you know, Steven A has made a pretty big name for himself partly on the fact that he makes big statements and they are frequently proved wrong. I remember that he said that the Pistons were toast before their 2004 finals series with the Lakers even began (of course the Pistons won). Also, I remember when the Magic selected Dwight Howard he said that they would never recover from the mistake of not taking Emeka Okafor with the top pick (we seem to be doing just fine).

His gaffes aside, Steven A does touch upon something that has been buzzing under the surface of this coaching search. What do the Magic think of the prospect of Larry Brown? We already know that Stan Van Gundy has interest, so we can leave his name alone for now, but the name Larry Brown comes up seemingly every summer for every coaching vacancy. Much like little kids asking why the sky is blue, it is a given that teams looking for head coaches in this day and age have to ask the "Do we want Larry Brown" question.

My quick answer: No.

My extended answer: Hell no.

My even more extended answer: I think we should look to his most recent work with the Knicks and Pistons to see what kind of coach he would be here.

When in Detroit, he brought the Pistons the NBA championship and communicated a slow down, team style of playing. He helped get the best out of vets like Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, and Richard Hamilton, all of whom had all met with only brief moments of success beforehand.

On the flipside, Brown was in a perpetual state of conflict with his players and the organization. He was dismissed from the job under heavy criticism that he had little in the way of interpersonal skills, and he repeatedly refused to play or develop the younger players on the roster.

Next came his time with the Knicks. Brown met with apocalyptic failure right from the get go, and once again feuded heavily with management and players. Part of his shortcomings on the court must be a attributed to the personnel moves of Isiah Thomas, a guy who appeared to use a pinata full of the names of overpriced, underachieving players to figure out who the Knicks would acquire next. Brown once again refused to play the young talent on the Knicks, and was ousted so quickly that the Knicks will still be paying his contract in the year 2087.

Now, far be it for me to compare our Magic with a hugely successful organization like the Pistons have become, and likewise the pitiful organization the Knicks have become, but to me Larry spells b-a-d-n-e-w-s. On top of his horrific rough personality, even the good attributes that he brings on the court wouldn't work with our current squad.

-We have a bunch of young guys, and he has a reputation for letting young guys rot on the bench (Brian Hill anyone?).

-We want a run and gun style and he has a slow down, analytical game plan.

-Brown seems to want insane amounts of money to work for a team, and we most likely will not want that as we are still paying off Brian Hill's contract.

-The respect for Larry Brown, quite frankly, has been shot with how he has behaved in his recent positions. Players communicate with each other quite a lot, and much like the teacher that every student hates, he has made a negative name for himself.

Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid Larry Brown at all costs? The fact that we are heading into an offseason where our biggest priority is resigning Darko Milicic. How long do you think he would hang around if we named Larry Brown head coach?

My guess: Long enough to sign with another team, make loads of cash, and light up a big 'victory cigar'.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Iavaroni To Interview, Another Candidate Added To The Mix

Since my last post on Friday, the Magic announced they will interview one of my top choices for coach: the giant zombie creature known as Marc Iavaroni. For the most part, fans have been happy with this news as Iavaroni's name has been bounced around as a possible replacement since the speculation began that Hill might not return. The Grizzlies seemed poised to extend Iavaroni a contract offer, so the Magic needed to act fast before he was swept away. At the very least, the hope is that this will delay Marc's decision to go to Memphis, seeing as how most people figure us to be a more desirable coaching location.

After this wave of excitement over meeting with Iavaroni, Magic fans were salivating to hear the next candidate on our interview list. Stan Van Gundy and Rick Carlisle were the next hot names, at least according to internet "Who Do You Want As Coach?" polls on the Orlando Sentinel and elsewhere. With the news that the Magic would have their next coach in place by July 1st, the next name to come out inspired a surprising amount of apathy and in some instances dread. Fans were suddenly forced to prepare themselves for the potential of the following shameless sportswriter puns:

"Magic blow huge lead, choke under pressure"
"Magic's success gives them strangle hold on Southwest Conference"

"Magic seize victory by the throat with their bare hands, scream "I'm going to KILL you MOTHER-(expletive deleted)!"

While the Magic have not contacted PJ yet, I think they most likely will get their chance to do so once the Spurs knock the Jazz out of the playoffs and proceed to the Finals. Gregg Popovich previously has used the gaps in playoff series to allow his assistants to interview for positions.

One one hand I would say that it is pretty good that the Magic are leaving no stone unturned in the coaching search, giving an experienced assistant a look. On the other hand I have to ask: What is the best way to recover from Brian Hill's unbending coaching style, 298-315 regular season record, and 18-22 post season record? Is it with PJ's unbending coaching style, 183-222 regular season record, a 3-9 postseason record? At first glance I would say no, and at second glance...yeah, still not really feeling it.
But that's just me, what is the voice of the fan saying on this fine day?

"I'd be willing to consider it, but at first glance, he doesn't really seem to fit into the mold we are looking for." -TheFalcon on

"I don't want PJ. I remember him as a slow down coach and have heard he's not very flexible ala Brian..." MagicFan32 on

"I'll choke Otis if we actually get PJ as head coach with Marc and SVG very viable options." -Adamosthegreek on

Ah well. It is a long coaching process and there are sure to be other candidates brought in. If Iavaroni signs with Memphis, Stan Van Gundy leaves for Hawaii to film a porn, Rick Carlisle decides to permanently abandon coaching to work 24 hours a day on parting his hair, we might be left with PJ. Even if that is the case, hopefully PJ's time in San Antonio has taught him something that could benefit the Magic.

Worst case scenario, PJ fails and we hire a new GM to deal with him:

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hill's Out, But Who's IN?

Brian Hill was dumped by the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, a move that most sports writers predicted and most fans hoped for. While Hill accomplished what he was put there to do, namely getting the team back to the playoffs and remind fans of 'the good old days', the fact remained that many people thought his substitutions made no sense and his offensive game plans were very basic and ineffective. Towards the end of the season, I was quite certain that Brian Hill had resorted to showing the players stuff that he had scrawled on a bar napkin the night before:

With Brian Hill out, the immediate question came from all directions: Who would be the next coach? Unanimously, the fans had picked their favorite...Rick Adelman! The only problem was that the firing of Brian Hill had taken so long that by the time he was given his pink slip, Adelman had already found another team to coach.

Ah well, not a huge loss. There are a lot of other coaches out there and almost all of them are untainted by the WNBA. The team's seemingly top choice, Billy Donovan, said today that he plans to return to the University of Florida, which takes one major name off of the list. Next, the team said that it would want to implement a faster paced offense. -That would make oddsmakers downgrade names of slower tempo coaches like Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, and Jeff Van Gundy. So who are we left with? Allow me to present to you what I feel are the top two choices:

Marc Iavaroni (Which the Phoenix Suns' recent biography tells is pronounced "I-Va-Ro-Nee") and Stan Van Gundy. Why do I feel these are the top two choices? Because both candidates run the floor, have a defensive mindset, and are good at developing young talent. Those are exactly the criteria that the Magic are trying to meet heading into this coaching decision. Let's break them down some more.

First of all, let's start with the guy who has already come out and said he wants the job: Stan Van Gundy. This guy was the head assistant under Pat Riley, and is best known for being ousted as a coach rather abruptly by the same man when Riley wanted the glory. Despite saying he wanted to spend more time with his family, everyone knew he had been kicked out by a power hungry coach that wanted the credit for developing youngsters such as Dwayne Wade and Udonis Haslem.

I personally loved watching Stan Van Gundy because unlike all of the other polished coaches out there, SVG looked like the type of guy who routinely lounged in his recliner in his undershirt and underwear and fell asleep to Nick at Nite with a half eaten tv dinner on his lap. As if this wasn't enough of a mental image, many have made the obvious comparison between him and Ron Jeremy:

I think Stan, 'stache and all, would be a great choice to help our young players develop and would tailor the offense to its strengths.

On to my next preference, Marc Iavaroni. Marc is an ace at developing young talent and big men, something he did with Cleveland, Miami, and the Suns. If there was anyone available that would be a surefire help to Dwight Howard stepping up his game it would be him. He is a bit more of a question mark than Stan, primarily because he has already been interviewed by the Memphis Grizzlies and could accept a job with them any day now. To SVG's short, stout Mario, Iavaroni is the tall and lanky Luigi. He is 6'8'', balding, and the closest thing I could compare his looks to are a zombie.

There are also some other candidates out there:

Mr. "I don't care what you say, the game hasn't passed me by" Lenny Wilkins,

Mr. "Hairpiece of Hate" Mike Fratello

and of course Mr. "Those red finger marks on my neck are just going away" PJ Carlisimo.

It stands to be an exciting summer, and it's all just begun.