The Orlando Magic's searches for their next General Manager and head coach are "heating up," reports Yannis Koutroupis of HOOPSWORLD. Citing sources, Koutripis writes that the team's finalists for GM are Jeff Bower, formerly of the New Orleans Hornets; Dennis Lindsey, the San Antonio Spurs' vice president and assistant GM; Tom Penn, formerly of the Portland Trail Blazers; and Troy Weaver, the Oklahoma City Thunder's vice president and assistant GM. Those names have been connected to the position since shortly after the Magic dismissed Otis Smith in late May, and Koutripis pegs Bower as the favorite as he's the only candidate of the four with prior GM experience.
Further, Koutripis reports, ownership has asked those finalists to consider hiring Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone and incumbent Magic assistant Steve Clifford as the team's next head coach. It's unclear what other candidates, if any, will merit consideration, but Indiana Pacers assistant coach and former Magic player Brian Shaw figures to at least earn an interview.
Malone's name has come up before in connection with Orlando's coaching gig, and a report in April suggested Magic superstar Dwight Howard named him as someone he'd like to see replace Stan Van Gundy. Clifford's name, on the other hand, is a new and somewhat surprising addition to the rumor mill.
Clifford, who joined the Magic as part of Van Gundy's staff in 2007, has no NBA head-coaching experience. His collegiate coaching career spans nearly two decades and includes, but is not limited to, stops at Boston University and East Carolina University. Before joining the Magic, he served as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks.
Regardless of whom Orlando hires as its next GM, says Koutripis, Malone will be "the favorite" to be the team's new coach.