The coaching merry-go-round of the NBA continued this afternoon as Scott Skiles surprisingly stepped down as head coach of the Orlando Magic.
Skiles had been in charge in Florida for 12 months and had overseen a season that saw the franchise threaten to challenge for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
With a roster full of young, exciting talent, Skiles and Orlando were expected to be in the mix for a position in the postseason next year, but the organisation are now on the lookout for a new man to take the reins.
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In a statement released on the team's official website, the former head coach shone some light on his shock decision to leave, saying: “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 realise this type of decision can cause much speculation. The reality though is in the first sentence. It is simple and true. Any other rumours are pure conjecture.
“I sincerely apologise for any unintended consequences that may adversely affect anyone associated with this decision. The Magic are a world-class organisation that employs world-class people. I wish them nothing but great success. I will always be thankful, especially to the DeVos family, for the opportunity.”
General manager Rob Hennigan added: “While we understand it was a challenging season, we reluctantly have accepted Scott’s (Skiles) resignation. We appreciate Scott instilling a culture of accountability and certainly wish him and his family well.”
Skiles led the organisation to a 35-47 finish that saw the likes of Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon make big strides in their relatively short careers.
The franchise had made a ten-game improvement from the previous campaign and the decision certainly came as a shock to one player, with Evan Fournier simply tweeting: "WHAT THE F***."
Skiles, the former Orlando Magic player, who was with them during their golden age of 1989-94 has a history of leaving organisations with a number of years remaining on his contract. The same happened during his spells with the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.
However, unlike in other situations where he has been asked to step down following growing discontent from players, there was none of that with the Magic. The players seemed happy enough with his methods and the signs were there that playoff may not be far from a return to downtown Orlando.
There was reportedly tension between Skiles and Tobias Harris, but the forward now founds himself plying his trade with the Detroit Pistons after a deadline day trade.
The Magic have begun their search for a new head coach immediately.