ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com Trail Blazers Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)
FormerOrlando Magic assistant coach Steve Clifford has agreed to join LosAngeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown on his coaching staff, CSNNW.comhas learned.
Theterms of the agreement are expected to be finalized by the end of theweek.
Cliffordwas in talks with the Portland Trail Blazers in recent days for theirassistant opening as well. However, the chance to be a part of theLakers organization was too much to pass up, CSNNW.com was told from asource close to the situation.
Cliffordwas also one of the four finalist for the Trail Blazers head coachposition before the team eventually selected former Dallas Mavericksassistant Terry Stotts to be the head guy.
In Los Angeles, Clifford will be a familiar face to the team's new franchise center Dwight Howard having spent five season with him in Orlando.
Initially, theMagic had shown interest in Clifford filling their head coachingvacancy before the team decided to go in a different direction and later hired Jacque Vaughn from San Antonio.
From2003-07, Clifford served as a member of the Houston Rocketscoaching staff and in June of 2007, Clifford joined the Orlando Magicas an assistant coach. The Magic have made the playoffs all fouryears that Clifford has been an assistant.
Cliffordconsiders the Van Gundy brothers (Jeff and Stan) as mentors andmodels himself after Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Knownfor his defense first mentality, Cliffords teams have been rankedin the top 10 defensively in each of the past four seasons.