Magic say Clifford won't return as coach

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Steve Clifford will not return as coach of the NBA's Orlando Magic next season, the club announced Saturday
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Steve Clifford will not return next season as coach of the Orlando Magic, the NBA team announced on Saturday, saying the two have "mutually agreed" to part ways.

Clifford went 96-131 in three seasons as coach of the Magic, who lost in the first round of the 2019 and 2020 playoffs before going 21-51 this past season and failing to qualify.

"We would like to thank Steve for his contributions to the Orlando Magic," Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said.

"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 had coached Charlotte in the five prior NBA campaigns before joining the Magic, losing in the first round of the playoffs twice and missing out in three other seasons.

"It has been an honor and privilege to coach this team in this community," Clifford said in a statement released by the club.

Overall, Clifford's career record as an NBA head coach is 292-345 over eight seasons.

In the 2018-19 season, Clifford coached the Magic to a 42-40 mark, a league-best 17-win improvement from the previous season, and Orlando reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Clifford, a 59-year-old American, had served as an NBA assistant coach for New York, Houston, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers from 2001-2013.

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