AP source: Steve Clifford out as Orlando Magic coach

A person with direct knowledge of the situation tells The Asssociated Press that Steve Clifford will not be back as coach of the Orlando Magic next season

MIAMI — Steve Clifford will not be back as coach of the Orlando Magic next season, a person with direct knowledge of the decision said Saturday.

The decision was mutual, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the move had not been publicly announced.

Clifford spent three years with the Magic, going 96-131 with two playoff appearances. The team missed the playoffs this year by a wide margin and ushered in a full rebuilding era by trading All-Star Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon at the trade deadline this spring.

“It’s the toughest season I’ve ever been through,” Clifford said as the season ended.

ESPN first reported the decision.

Orlando becomes the third coaching opening in the NBA, following Brad Stevens being promoted to President of the Boston Celtics and Portland’s move Friday to seek a new coach after Terry Stotts held that role for nine seasons.

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