Magic, Nuggets looking beyond interim coaches, sources say

Orlando Magic interim coach James Borrego and Denver Nuggets counterpart Melvin Hunt worked their final games in charge Wednesday night ‎before their two teams formally launch coaching searches, according to league sources.‎ ‎

Sources told ESPN.com this week that neither Orlando nor Denver, at this point, is expected to make its interim coach full time, with both clubs interested in pursuing successors to the ousted Jacque Vaughn and Brian Shaw from outside their respective organizations. ‎

The Magic insist they have yet to begin discussions with any external candidates, but sources say they rate former Orlando fan favorite ‎Scott Skiles, who has coached the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, as a serious candidate for the job.

Skiles is known to have a strong relationship with Magic president Alex Martins.‎

Magic officials have maintained since firing Vaughn that Borrego will get a chance to interview for the full-time post, but Martins did hint at the club's interest in veteran leadership Wednesday night during the final broadcast of the season on Fox Sports Orlando, saying: "We want to find the right, experienced coach for this group."

In addition to Skiles, sources say the Magic have interest in both Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau -- who is widely expected to part company with the Bulls at season's end -- as well as Florida coach Billy Donovan.

The Orlando Sentinel reported in Wednesday's editions that former Sacramento Kings coach Mike Malone is likewise a potential candidate.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, also intend to soon start their search in earnest for a successor to Shaw. Although some in league coaching circles contend that Hunt might still carve out an unexpected opportunity to return next season if Denver chooses to rebuild, most insiders believe the Nuggets will pursue a fresh voice.

Among the names already linked to the Nuggets' job are Golden State Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry and sideline veterans Vinny Del Negro and Mike D'Antoni, who got his first NBA head-coaching opportunity from Denver in 1999.

Borrego, the youngest current coach in the league at 37, posted a record of 10-20 after taking over Feb. 5 for Vaughn and told reporters in Orlando this week that he hopes to be considered for the full-time post after stints as an assistant in San Antonio and New Orleans.

"I absolutely believe that I can do this,'' Borrego said. "My confidence is very high, and this position has forced me to get there. Give our players credit and our staff credit because they have helped me get through this.

"My focus has always been on the players. From the minute that I took over, it's been about the players and doing whatever I can to help them. Through that process I had to grow and build a strength and a confidence about myself as a person and a coach. I've found that. I'm a ways from where I want to be, but I'm closer than I've ever been.''

The Nuggets won six of their first eight games under Hunt before they started resting players on occasion in what appeared to be a bid to boost their odds in the draft lottery.

Denver forward Kenneth Faried, recipient of a $50 million contract extension after his strong play for Team USA last summer, ‎told local reporters over the weekend that he's pushing for Hunt to be retained.

"I feel like we're back to the old Nuggets, and it's exciting," Faried said. "I hope they hire him and I hope he's our coach next year."