Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that Scott Skiles was the front-runner to land the Orlando Magic head coaching position, and now Wojnarowski says Skiles and the Magic are progressing toward a deal.
Skiles and the Magic will continue discussions on Thursday, when contract negotiations could begin. Orlando’s ownership is reportedly driving this hire, something reiterated by CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. Skiles played with the Magic in the 1990s, and ownership has been fond of him since then. Mike Woodson also interviewed for the open position, but Skiles has a clear edge.
Skiles is a hard-nosed coach known for his defense acumen and ability to turn around young teams. The Magic are a young team in need of a defensive makeover, so the hope would be that Skiles would be able put his imprint on an impressionable roster. Of course, the problem is he usually wears out his welcome after a few seasons.
While Skiles seems poised to take the Magic job, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Wednesday that the former head coach also interviewed for the New Orleans Pelicans job. Golden State Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy are two of the top candidates for the job in New Orleans, and Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is also expected to be a candidate if he’s let go as expected.