Release - Rotation ------ Splash?
Brian Hill is no longer guaranteed of keeping his job as head coach of the Orlando Magic, and might not know his fate for two to three weeks, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.
"People ask me if Brian Hill will be back as our coach. All I can say is that I have no answer for that right now," Magic President Bob Vander Weide told the Sentinel on Wednesday.
The Magic had said after the team was swept in the playoffs by the Detroit Pistons that they expected Hill to be back, but Vander Weide said on Wednesday, "Sometimes there are no quarantees in life."
Vander Weide said there are some philosophical issues between management and Hill, chiefly among those is the team's style of play.
"We have to see if there wasn't the opportunity to run the ball more. Style of play is one of the key things," Vander Weide said.
Hill could not be reached for comment.
Hill, 59, has two years remaining on a four-year contract he signed in May of 2005.
Vander Weide said he wants to take "two to three weeks" to "go through the process" of evaluating his team's past season and the job that Hill did.
Hill led the Magic to their first playoff appearance since 2003 after the young, erratic team finished 40-42.
The Magic started the season strong at 13-4 and were 22-14 in early January. But they slumped badly, partly because of injuries and losses to sub. 500 teams before rallying to clinch a postseason berth. As the No. 8 seed, they drew the No. l seeded Pistons, but were no match despite some competitive games.
"I can tell you there is a certain level of frustration the way we limped into the playoffs," Vander Weide said.
The Magic had said even while the team struggled that they still had confidence in Hill. General Manager Otis Smith told the Sentinel before the Magic faced the Houston Rockets on March 11 that he expected Hill to "fulfill his contractual obligations" through 2009.
Although he became a target of fan criticism --- one launched a FireBrianHill.org Website --- Hill had said he was not worried about "my job security."
But by the end of the season, Hill was receiving lukewarm endorsements from Vander Weide and Smith.
Vander Weide said after the Magic were ousted by the Pistons that he was "satisfied" with his team, and a day later, Smith said he "expected" Hill to return.
Smith said Sunday at RDV Sportsplex after the Magic met for the final time that the club might have to "take a look" at its offense to see "if we're getting the best out of our guys."
The Magic finished 27th (out of 30 teams) in scoring at 94.8 points per game and next-to-last in assists distributed and turnovers committed.
Center Dwight Howard and point guard Jameer Nelson ranked first and second in making turnovers. Nelson admitted he was disappointed in his play in his first season as a full-time starter.
Asked on 740 The Team during his weekly segment Wednesday if Nelson was the team's point guard of the future, Smith said it depended on the offense. "It depends on how we play. If we continue to play the style we've been playing, maybe not," Smith said. "But if we increase the tempo a little bit --- which we're talking about --- I think he can be."
Hill wouldn't say on Sunday whether the Magic needed to upgrade at point guard. In fact, when told that Smith said the Magic's biggest need this offseason was a scorer, Hill said he was not comfortable giving his opinion, adding he would "defer" to the general manager.
Hill was hired for the second time by the Magic on May 24, 2005, taking over for interim coach Chris Jent. Jent had replaced Johnny Davis, who was fired as head coach.
Hill had been fired by the Magic after a player revolt in 1997, ending a near four-year run in which Hill took Orlando to the NBA Finals in 1995.
In his first season back with the team in 2005-06, Hill led the Magic to a 36-46 record --- the same record they compiled under Davis and Jent the previous season.
"We're doing our due diligence," Vander Weide said. "We want to get to a point where we can say the Orlando Magic are competing for championships, and that means evaluating our playing personnel and our coaching personnel."