Reports: Donovan almost out, Van Gundy almost in for Magic
Eds: UPDATES with Jeff Van Gundy comment.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The Orlando Magic are close to resolving
their coaching fiasco by agreeing to a deal to dismiss Billy
Donovan and hire Stan Van Gundy, according to reports Tuesday.
ESPN.com reported Donovan and the team were finalizing an
agreement for his departure. Terms would prevent Donovan from
coaching in the NBA for five years, sources told the outlet. The
Orlando Sentinel reported that the Magic offered a contract to Van
Gundy, a former Heat coach and current adviser to Pat Riley in
The Magic might have to compensate the Heat with money or a
draft pick because Van Gundy is still under contract through June
30, 2008. Miami only has a first-round pick, No. 20 overall, in
this year's draft, while Orlando currently has a first-rounder and
three second-round selections.
Reached at his home Tuesday night by The Associated Press, Van
Gundy declined comment when asked if either the Magic or Sacramento
Kings - with whom he's interviewed twice, including this past
Saturday - had made him any contract offers.
Riley was traveling and unavailable for comment, according to a
Van Gundy's brother, Jeff, was on Rick Pitino's staff at
Providence when Donovan played for the Friars, and the two have
remained close. Jeff Van Gundy told Florida Today of Melbourne on
Tuesday that Donovan was distraught.
"I think Bill has been conflicted," Jeff Van Gundy said. He's
a very good man who feels badly that he's put the Magic in a bad
position, but he's following his heart. And his heart is telling
him that he should be at the University of Florida."
Orlando and Donovan are laboring to finalize their futures fast
- Donovan to save his consensus No. 1 recruiting class at Florida,
the Magic to save face.
Donovan stunned the hoops world by agreeing to a five-year,
$27.5 million deal on Thursday. He met the media on Friday, and a
day later told the club he wanted out of the contract.
Donovan previously declined an offer to coach Kentucky, where
his career began as an assistant.
Van Gundy was Orlando's second choice all along, but the Magic
didn't think he'd be needed after Thursday. He was also being
courted by the Kings, Charlotte Bobcats and Indiana Pacers. The
Bobcats and Pacers have hired coaches, but the Kings' continued
search worried Orlando.
Van Gundy coached the Heat just over two years before resigning
last season, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Riley took over 21 games in and led the team to its first
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)