Magic confident they have upper hand for hiring Frank Vogel

ByMarc Stein and Chris Broussard ESPN logo
Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Orlando Magic are optimistic they will win their battle with the Memphis Grizzlies to hire former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel, according to league sources.

Sources told on Wednesday night that the Magic believe they have emerged as Vogel's preferred destination and are positioned to quickly complete a deal with him if their coaching search continues to progress in its current direction.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday morning that Vogel has met with the DeVos family that owns the team, which is believed to be a precursor to contract talks. Sources told that Vogel met with team ownership in Michigan earlier this week.

Orlando officials, sources say, have spent the bulk of the week trying to decide between Vogel and highly rated Magic assistant Adrian Griffin but know they have to move quickly if they want Vogel, given the strong interest he has received from the Grizzlies.

Vogel, sources say, had already established himself as the Grizzlies' top choice by the time the Magic joined the bidding this week.

Sources say the Grizzlies have made it clear to Vogel that the Memphis job is his if he chooses, with the promise of a three-year guaranteed deal at a much higher rate than the $2 million annual salary commanded by the recently fired Dave Joerger. But sources say the Grizzlies are bracing for the increasingly likely prospect of Vogel choosing instead to take the Magic job, in the wake of last week's unexpected resignation of Scott Skiles after just one season on the Orlando bench.

Sources say Magic management, fond as it is of Griffin, is drawn to Vogel's impressive résumé and enticed by the idea of moving on from Skiles' abrupt exit with the opportunity to hire an established coach.

Sources say the Grizzlies, meanwhile, have been most impressed by San Antonio Spurs assistant coach James Borrego and Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale, among the other interviews they have completed while waiting out Vogel's talks this week with the Magic. In addition to Vogel, Borrego and Fizdale, Memphis is known to have interviewed Charlotte Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing, Portland Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts and Borrego's fellow Spurs assistant Ettore Messina.

With the New York Knicks' imminent hiring of Jeff Hornacek, Memphis, Orlando and Houston hold the last three vacant coaching jobs in the league.