ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic fired Jacque Vaughn as coach Thursday after two and half seasons, ending the tenure of the first-time head coach brought in to help rebuild the franchise.
General manager Rob Hennigan announced the move, following a 15-37 start to the season and after a series of lopsided losses during a 10-game losing streak. It is the Magic’s second skid of at least five games since the start of 2015. The team is set to hold a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Assistant James Borrego has been named interim coach.
“Jacque has been a trusted friend and colleague,” Hennigan said in a release from the team. “We thank him immensely for his contributions and sacrifices in bringing our team to this point, and we greatly appreciate his unwavering commitment to our organization. We have tremendous respect for Jacque and certainly wish him the best as he embarks on the next phase of his career.”
Orlando was also 15-37 through 52 games last season.
The 39-year-old Vaughn ends his Orlando tenure with a 58-158 overall record.
Vaughn’s dismissal comes having the fourth-year option of his contract picked up by the team this this past offseason.
But he struggled to help his team show improvement after a massive offseason influx of players, which included the addition of free agent Channing Frye.
The final tipping point came following the Magic’s 110-103 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday, which despite a strong start displayed many of Orlando’s recent on-court woes.
Despite being as healthy has the Magic have been all season, the Magic have given up 100 or more point in 14 consecutive games. They’ve also lost five of their last six at home, where they are just 5-17 this year.
The most recent losing streak has also included perplexing losses to some of the NBA’s worst clubs in Detroit, Charlotte, L.A. Lakers, and New York.
Both Vaughn and general manager Rob Hennigan were hired three seasons ago to lead the rebuild of the club following the departure of former franchise stalwart Dwight Howard. In picking up the option year for Vaughn and Hennigan this summer, the belief was that team management wanted to give both an opportunity to lead a team built to make the playoffs.
This past offseason also included the club’s most extensive roster makeover since their arrivals. The moves brought in eight new players, including veterans Frye and Ben Gordon, to fortify a roster that already featured a young core of Victor Oladipo and Nik Vucevic.
But the team struggled out of the gate when both Oladipo and the free agent pickup Frye (signed for four years, $32 million) suffered preseason knee injuries. Frye only missed the opener with a sprained left ACL. Oladipo followed up his right MCL sprain with facial fracture that caused him to miss the first nine games.
It seemed to throw off early chemistry as the Magic started the season 10-20. In all Orlando’s players have missed 89 games collectively to injury. The list includes this past draft’s fourth overall pick Aaron Gordon, who just returned to action after missing 31 games with a broken left foot.
The offensive spark that the team hoped Frye would provide also hasn’t been there, with the veteran 3-point specialist averaging just 7.9 points per game.
Through the injuries Orlando has also struggled to find a cohesive lineup. Orlando used 11 different starting lineups this season.
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