If the same coach keeps beating you, maybe the solution is to hire that coach.
That could be the reasoning for the Orlando Magic hiring former Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford Wednesday. ESPN and the Orlando Sentinel both reported early Wednesday that Cllifford accepted the job. He reportedly got a four-year contract, after the Hornets fired him in April with one season left on his contract.
Clifford's Hornets teams beat the Magic in those teams' last 11 games. The Magic last beat the Hornets in December of 2015.
Clifford also is a known quantity in Orlando; he was a Magic assistant coach under Stan Van Gundy from 2007 through 2012. The Magic made five consecutive playoff appearances in that span and reached the 2009 NBA Finals. Clifford's prior relationship with center Dwight Howard, from Orlando and with the Los Angeles Lakers, was a factor in the Hornets trading for Howard in the summer of 2017.
The Hornets were Clifford's first head-coaching job in the NBA. The Hornets reached the playoffs twice in his five seasons, not advancing beyond the first round. New Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak fired Clifford shortly after the Hornets' season concluded, and Kupchak replaced him with San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego.
Clifford was a candidate for openings with the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks before getting the Magic job. In Orlando, Clifford replaces Frank Vogel, who was fired in April after two seasons with the Magic.