Maybe one day Penny Hardaway will be head coach of the Orlando Magic. But that day will not be today.
Hardaway - after interviewing with the Magic for their head coaching vacancy and emerging as a “serious candidate” - went on Instagram to say he will remain head coach of the Memphis Tigers.
“One day in the future I would love to coach in the NBA, and wouldn’t that be great if it was with the Orlando Magic. But today isn’t that day,” Hardaway said. “Today I’m here with my players, with the fans, with the city, working as hard as I can to try to bring us a national championship. That’s what I set out to do and that’s what I want to do.”
It’s disappointing news for the portion of the Magic fanbase that was all for Penny being back in the Magic organization, and a relief for those that felt the rebuilding Magic were more in need of an experienced head coach with a track record of player development rather than a sentimental hire.
Prior to the news that Hardaway had interviewed for the Magic job, it seemed unlikely he would leave Memphis at this time, having just signed a five-year extension in December and having not yet guided the team to the NCAA Tournament.
That unfinished business likely overpowered his desire to coach in the NBA. Shortly after it was announced Penny would remain at Memphis, news broke that Larry Brown would be joining his staff.
Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has agreed to become an assistant coach at Memphis under Penny Hardaway, sources tell me and @GoodmanHoops.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 30, 2021
So, the Magic’s coaching search goes on without Penny, as former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson becomes the logical and perhaps leading candidate...
Source: Former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson is “in the lead” to become the new head coach of the Orlando Magic.— Ross (@LegionHoopsRoss) June 29, 2021
Kenny Atkinson is ready for the call #MagicTogether pic.twitter.com/Fq5nkTlFKs— Anthony HQ (@OMagicHQ) June 30, 2021
For those hoping to one day see Penny on the Magic sidelines, start rooting for Memphis to win the NCAA Tournament.