It is not quite a trade involving Dwight Howard, but the Magic have begun moving forward toward their uncertain future. The Magic hired Spurs assistant coach Jacque Vaughn to be their head coach.
This is not a move that likely will convince Dwight Howard to rescind his trade request. After all, Vaughn has only two years of coaching experience and he is not (as far as we know) the kind of coach that will get a struggling team over the top. In fact, nobody really knows what kind of coach Vaughn will be. He certainly was not hired to win now.
Hiring Vaughn seems to point toward the decision from Rob Hennigan and the Magic to rebuild from the ground up. This is not so surprising. Howard reiterating his trade demand and venting some frustration that he had not been traded yet was a sure signal that Orlando has to move on. This, of course, is something a lot of people thought shoudl ahve been done in December… or February… or now.
Orlando may get back to that trade effort now that the team has its head coach and a clearer picture of the future — or at least what the 2013 season will look like.
Vaughn will be growing up with the young Orlando team he is likely going to coach. He has just two years of coaching experience before ascending to the head job. The closest thing he has had to a head coaching job was coaching San Antonio's Summer League team this year in Las Vegas. Orlando is looking at a complete rebuild.
Again, this is not so surprising. The Magic have been built for so long solely around Dwight Howard that it might take a clearing of the decks to get the team back to a championship level. That is what Magic general manager Rob Hennigan's mentor, Sam Presti, did in Seattle to build up the Thunder. He got the No. 2 pick and took Kevin Durant. He shipped out Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to begin the rebuilding process. It is hard to argue that it did not work.
The question remains whether Hennigan's plan for Orlando will pan out. It takes some luck and he has to get the Dwight Howard deal right for his team. Remember, Presti got Jeff Green (the No. 5 pick) for Allen and then made shrewd moves with the draft when his team was struggling — think Russell Westbrook and James Harden and then Serge Ibaka with a late first round pick.
It is still to be seen how Vaughn will play into that and what kind of coach he can be.
Vaughn was reportedly about player development for the Spurs. The Spurs are pretty well known for their ability to make young players very good — Kawhi Leonard, George Hill and Gary Neal quickly come to mind. If Orlando is going for a younger team, Vaughn could be a home run coach. He would help players get better and get them to play at a high level. The Xs and Os will come with experience.
Orlando seems ready and prepared to move on and rebuild. The building blocks continue to get put into place with a new head coach now.