As the 2021 NBA Playoffs reach the second round, eliminated teams are already beginning to make major moves in their offseason. Following the Portland Trail Blazers' series loss on Thursday to the Denver Nuggets, the Blazers' front office decided to make a significant change by parting ways with head coach Terry Stotts.
The move didn't come as a shock. As Stotts struggled to coach the Blazers out of the first round for the second time in three years, it was already clear he was on the hot seat far before the Blazers fired up this season's playoff run.
Now, the Orlando Magic are next in line to find a new head coach. On Saturday afternoon, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that like Stotts and the Blazers, the Magic and head coach Steve Clifford have agreed to mutually part ways.
"We would like to thank Steve for his contributions to the Orlando Magic," said Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman. "We appreciate the many sacrifices he has made as our head coach and understand the timeline of our new path does not align with his goals as a head coach in our league."
Clifford agreed to coach the Magic ahead of the 2018-2019 NBA season following a stint in Charlotte. In his first season, Clifford's Magic achieved a 42-40 record, clinching a spot in the playoffs where they were eventually eliminated in five games.
The following year, Orlando made it to the postseason once again with a record of 33-40, but they couldn't get past the first five games. With hopes of making major strides in his third season in Orlando, injuries killed Clifford's plans and forced the Magic to start unloading talent at the trade deadline, signaling a re-build.
With the re-build will come change, and now Clifford will look to take his services elsewhere. He leaves the Magic behind with a 96-131 record, with two playoff appearances in three years.
It's unclear what's next for Clifford, but it seems the Magic already have an available head coach in their sights to replace him. According to The New York Times' Marc Stein, the Magic have interest in Terry Stotts. That leaves two Eastern Conference teams interested in the former Blazers head coach already as the head coaching market begins to form.