Saturday, February 17, 2018
Sports

Skiles abruptly quits on Magic

CHICAGO — In a decision that shocked many NBA insiders, Scott Skiles resigned as head coach of the Magic after one season.

Skiles had doubts about the direction of the team and the players' overall mind-set, and he clashed at times with general manager Rob Hennigan.

Reached by phone by the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday, Skiles said he would not comment beyond a statement he released through the team.

In that statement, he said: "After much thought and careful consideration, I and I alone, have come to the conclusion that I am not the right head coach for this team. Therefore, effective immediately, I resign my position as head coach of the Orlando Magic. I realize this type of decision can cause much speculation. The reality though is in the first sentence. It is simple and true. Any other rumors are pure conjecture."

Later, Skiles added: "I sincerely apologize for any unintended consequences that may adversely affect anyone associated with this decision. The Magic are a world-class organization that employs world-class people. I wish them nothing but great success. I will always be thankful, especially to the DeVos family (which owns the team), for the opportunity."

During a news conference Thursday afternoon at Amway Center, Hennigan would not say why Skiles quit.

"This is certainly a challenging day for us, an unexpected day," Hennigan said.

Skiles, 52, called Magic CEO Alex Martins on Wednesday to inform Martins of his decision.

"I'm disappointed more than anything," Martins said after Hennigan's news conference. "Scott's a friend first and foremost. We have a long history together. I was very disappointed when I got the phone call from him."

The Magic went 35-47 in Skiles' lone season as head coach. The team started 19-13, and Skiles felt its inability to recover from a 2-12 January stemmed in large part from an overall softness and a lack of a professional mind-set.

Skiles determined that some of the team's softness stemmed from tanking during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Too often, he felt, team officials had emphasized individual instead of collective growth, and Skiles thought the residue from the constant losing during the previous two seasons continued to haunt the franchise.

One of the disagreements between Skiles and the front office was about the point guard situation. Hennigan and the front office regarded Elfrid Payton as the point guard of the future. Skiles did not.

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