Let’s say there are more than few NBA officials that are amazed that Scott Skiles is still the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Skiles might even be one of them.
An NBA official told me the other day that Skiles was so convinced he was toast in Beer Town that he cleaned out his office after the season, a season that was an unmitigated disaster, a season that marked the third time in Skiles’ four seasons with the Bucks that they didn’t make the playoffs.
The scuttlebutt was that Skiles was going to agree to a buyout on the one year remaining on his contract for approximately $4.5 million.
If that was indeed the case, the buyout presented by Bucks officials wasn’t to Skiles’ liking. Skiles, as his close friends will attest, doesn’t like leaving money on the table.
So, as it stands, Skiles will be the Bucks’ coach next season, a lame duck one at that. It’s a position that could be highly combustible for Skiles, especially considering several of his minions aren’t fully supportive of him.
But here’s something to contemplate, something Skiles undoubtedly has: What if Skiles would now agree on a buyout from the Bucks and become a free agent to pursue other NBA coaching jobs?
Specifically, he could angle for the vacant Orlando Magic coaching position.
The Magic position opened up Monday when Stan Van Gundy, who once coached at the University of Wisconsin, was shown the door.
Those who know Skiles well insist he would crawl to Orlando to be the Magic’s coach. Skiles not only has a house in the Orlando area but he played five years with the Magic while becoming one of their most beloved players ever.
More importantly, Skiles is one of Richard DeVos Sr.’s all-time favorites. DeVos is the owner of the Magic. It’s hardly a secret DeVos wants an NBA title in the worst way and has to realize it would be foolish at this stage — especially if all-world center Dwight Howard remains in the Magic Kingdom — to bring in an untested young coach instead of a proven, quality coach like Skiles.
Hiring Skiles would also be a p.r. bonanza for the Magic as their fans most certainly would embrace a Skiles’ “homecoming.’’
As for the Bucks, they would rid themselves of a coach who, at times last season, seemed totally disinterested in being in Milwaukee. What’s more, Bucks owner Herb Kohl would be free from paying Skiles an exorbitant amount of money to coach a team that figures to be a fringe-playoff team, at best, next season.
For all parties, Skiles leaving Milwaukee and going to Orlando would be a win-win situation.