With rumors on potential interest from the Magic, Penny Hardaway says ‘My heart’s in Memphis’


MEMPHIS — While the focus is on the second round of the NBA Playoffs, four NBA teams, with the Indiana Pacers being the latest one, are in search of new head coaches. 

But only one, the Orlando Magic, seem to have some level of interest in Tigers coach Penny Hardaway and for obvious reasons.

Hardaway spent six seasons with the Magic, teaming up with Shaquille O’Neal to lead Orlando to the NBA Finals back in 1995.

But just like it was when he took the Tigers job, Hardaway has no NBA coaching experience and while Magic fans might want their Penny to return, Orlando’s President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman was pretty non-committal on the subject of Hardaway to the Magic.  Weltman only said Hardaway’s been an NBA star and part of the Magic fabric.

Then there’s Penny’s current job, heading into his fourth season at the U of M with some unfinished business like leading the program to its first NCAA Tournament since 2014. 

| More coverage: Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team

He also just signed a new five year extension back in December.

“I’m flattered by it because people are even mentioning my name, obviously because of the relationship I’ve had with the Magic over the years,” Hardaway said.  “It’s weird because the timing on it is, I’m now just starting to get into my own as Tigers coach and understand everything that comes along with this and then all of a sudden the Magic job, the people start talking about the Magic job. 

“So it’s weird but my heart is in Memphis. I don’t know what happens in the future. If I did coach in the NBA that would be a place I would want to coach so, we’ll see.”

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