The move comes after a day's worth of speculation that the two were close in talks. The Grizzlies had also been pursuing Vogel after coach Larry Bird inexplicably decided to let him walk in order to promote assistant Nate McMillan. Vogel made the playoffs every season except 2015 with the Pacers -- the one year Paul George missed nearly the entire season -- and only missed it by a game then. He has two Eastern Conference finals on his resume and several top-five defensive finishes.
In Orlando, he takes over a young, up-and-coming team looking to add veteran talent in order to make the leap, very similar to the situation he came into in Indiana when he was promoted to interim coach after Jim O'Brien was fired in 2011. He has a good set of talent to work with, from Victor Oladipo to Nikola Vucevic to Aaron Gordon to Mario Hezonja. The Magic are expected to retain Evan Fournier in restricted free agency and have the 11th pick in the draft. They are expected to pursue veteran free agents with wide cap space this summer.
The Grizzlies miss out big time here, and now will likely not wind up with an "on-paper" improvement over Dave Joerger. The Magic wind up with the best coach to manage both development and short-term interests of playoff contention. After Scott Skiles' stunning resignation last week, the Magic came out big winners with Vogel, who is a considerable upgrade on all fronts.
Four things to know:
1. Vogel should be happier here
This isn't a downgrade for him, aside from the absence of a superstar like George. While Indiana was a vastly superior team to Orlando last season, that will not necessarily remain the case. The Pacers were in between eras, trying to remodel their roster with a few holdovers from their two trips to the conference finals. The Magic are clearly a young team trying to take the next step, and several of their players -- Oladipo, Gordon, Hezonja and Elfrid Payton, in particular -- should be better next season simply because of experience. It was a shock when Skiles quit, but it was not necessarily an indication that the organization is a mess or the team isn't going anywhere. Don't be surprised if Vogel gets this team to the playoffs sooner than people expect.
2. This is Vogel's type of roster
I'm sure any coach would love more shooting, but he has proven over and over again that he can win in spite of that deficiency. Regardless of who was on the floor for Vogel in Indiana, that team competed defensively and usually overachieved. I'm not sure if Payton and Oladipo can coexist in the backcourt long-term, but if anyone is going to make it work, it is Vogel. The two of them have all the defensive attributes you want from guards, and Gordon has the potential to be one of the best and most versatile defenders in the league.
With the Pacers, Vogel helped George, Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert develop individually, and he established an identity for the team. All of Orlando's prospects, including whoever is selected No. 11 in this June's draft, will benefit from his leadership.
3. The one exception: the center position
I wonder what happens to Vucevic, who is a gifted scorer and rebounder but struggles to protect the rim. Vogel could try to cover up that weakness, but perhaps the Magic will look to make a change. There have been rumors about a reunion with Dwight Howard, and that is a tricky proposition: he fits with Orlando's roster defensively, but he's been vocal about wanting post touches and he's 31 years old.
If Howard thing doesn't happen, there are other free agents who could capably play the Hibbert/Ian Mahinmi role. Three prominent ones are Hassan Whiteside, Festus Ezeli and Bismack Biyombo. Which brings us to...
4. Can Vogel help Orlando land free agents?
The front office has to hope so. When the Magic traded away Tobias Harris and Channing Frye at the deadline in February, it opened up all sorts of financial flexibility. If general manager Rob Hennigan renounces all of their own free agents, then he could potentially lure two maximum-salaried players this summer.
Given how many teams have cap space, it seems unlikely that Orlando is going to pull off something crazy, like when it signed Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady 16 years ago. Still, if you're the Magic, why not chase Whiteside or even someone like Al Horford? If they're able to convince a big-name player to sit down for a meeting, having Vogel at the table might not be the clincher, but he does have a good reputation. It certainly doesn't hurt.