ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Brian Hill is out as the Orlando Magic's coach after two consecutive losing seasons and a first-round sweep in this year's playoffs, an official in the NBA said Wednesday.
Hill and the club were still negotiating his exit, and it was not clear whether he resigned or was fired, said the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the situation was not entirely resolved. The Magic were prepared to offer Hill another job with the team, the official said.
In two stints with the Magic, Hill became the winningest coach in team history. He took Orlando to its first playoff appearance in four years this season. Team president Bob Vander Weide said earlier this month he was re-evaluating Hill's status after the quick playoff exit.
The team finished 40-42 before being swept by the Detroit Pistons in the first round.
Some fans have been upset the 59-year-old Hill didn't give rookie J.J. Redick and 7-footer Darko Milicic more prominent roles.
Hill led the club in the 1990s to its greatest heights _ the NBA Finals in 1995 and Eastern Conference finals a year later. The Magic won consecutive Atlantic Division titles those years and in '96 lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, the eventual NBA champs.
Orlando was one of the league's premiere franchises under Hill and All-Stars Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway. But the Magic dumped Hill with 33 games left in the 1996-97 season, a locker room coup led by the now-long-gone Hardaway.
Orlando has still not gotten past the first round of the playoffs since Hill left in 1997.
The Magic settled on Hill's return in May 2005, reintroducing him at a news conference with the ``Welcome Back, Kotter'' theme music. But the arrangement didn't last long.
Orlando made it back to the playoffs this season, but Vander Weide was unimpressed with their showing. Few expected the series against Detroit to be competitive, and it wasn't. Orlando lost each game by an average of nine points.
Hill coached the Memphis Grizzlies after Orlando, but never found the same success there. He inherited a team that won 14 games and went a combined 31-123 from 1997-2000, getting fired 22 games into the 1999-2000 season.
Hill is 298-315 overall as an NBA head coach and was 267-192 with Orlando. He was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets between head coaching jobs with Orlando and Memphis.