Steve Francis’ refusal to re-enter Wednesday night’s game finally exhausted the Orlando Magic’s patience with their slumping point guard, leading them to suspend him indefinitely Thursday for conduct detrimental to the team. Club sources told the Sentinel that Francis rebuffed Coach Brian Hill’s decision to send him back into the game against the Seattle SuperSonics late in the fourth quarter.
Hill wanted Francis to replace Hedo Turkoglu, who had fouled out, with 3 minutes, 22 seconds left and the Magic trailing 103-87.
Veteran Stacey Augmon went in for Turkoglu while Hill and Francis discussed something on the bench.
Francis’ act of defiance culminated a mysterious stretch of games in which he complained about the offense, played poorly and looked dispassionate.
Tension was building with each lackluster performance from Francis, and sources say a frustrated coaching staff considered the fallout of benching the three-time all-star.