The Orlando Magic believe that they’re in great position to hire former Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel. Not only do they have a serious interest in him, they feel “optimistic” about Vogel being brought on to the staff, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
That belief is so strong that the organization is hoping to have contract talks with him on Thursday.
Early Thursday, Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird came out and said that the team will not be renewing Frank Vogel’s contract. After starting with the Pacers back in 2010-11, Vogel compiled a record of 250-181 (.580) and led Indiana to the playoffs in five of those six years. Two of those years, 2012-2014, had the Pacers being knocked out in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Miami Heat.
The year he didn’t make the playoffs? Last season when Paul George was recovering from his horrific broken leg. During Bird’s press conference, he said, “my experience has been good coaches leave after three years.“
In all honesty, if David Blatt isn’t safe after taking the Cavaliers to the Finals in his first year, and starting off his second 30-11, no one is. While Vogel was at the helm of the team, Indiana was always in the conversation as the best defensive team, and never slipped out of the top-10 in defensive efficiency; this includes being number one in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and being number three this year.
The separation between the two parties comes just days after the Pacers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Toronto Raptors in seven games — a series that they almost escaped from. As always, Indiana played great defense, but the offense struggled. Their average of 102.2 points per game was 17th in the league, and the acquisition of Monta Ellis didn’t plan out as the organization had hoped. Indiana, however, exceeded many expectations with winning 45 games and even making it to the playoffs in a noticeably more competitive Eastern Conference.
Vogel now sits alongside Jeff Van Gundy as the best coaches on the market since Luke Walton went to the Lakers, and Tom Thibodeau went to the Timberwolves. Fortunately, Vogel’s track record is proven, and he doesn’t need to settle for a mediocre team, i.e. New York or Sacramento.
Now begs the question: How is Paul George going to react to this? The 25-year-old superstar is coming off his best year as a pro and is probably going to have the best seasons of his career over the next three-four (maybe five) years. Is he going to want to do that on a team that’s going to struggle and, most likely, not make the playoffs?