michael-garcia - May 22, 2012
Dwight Howard The Orlando Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy today, in one of the least surprising moves in the NBA in recent memory. Just about everyone who follows the NBA knew this was coming after an ugly season that saw Dwight Howard wanting out, wanting to stay, getting offered full control, asking for Van Gundy to be fired, and then needing back surgery before the season was over.
GM Otis Smith has also decided to leave the Magic, so now Dwight can step in as player/coach/GM. Well, he probably won't actually do those last two, but that's how this is all being perceived.
As we all know, perception can be everything. Until this season, Howard was a lovable goofball, who reminded a lot of people of Shaquille O'Neal. An absolute force on the court, and an often smiling, joking, good guy off of it.
Now that image Howard had is gone. Dwight has some serious work to do to get that rep back. The one thing that will cure any and all ails is of course wins. Whoever the Magic brings in as the new coach has to figure out a way to get those, and fast, because Dwight's only signed up for one more year there. And if things don't go well, he's gone and the new coach won't last long without him.
I'm going to go ahead and assume that Orlando's ownership will ask Dwight who he thinks would be the best fit for the team, even if they will most likely deny asking for his input.
Van Gundy will be fine. He can easily get another coaching gig, or take some time to do TV like his brother, Jeff.
Here's Stan after losing game 4 of the last playoff series he'd coach for the Magic.
Article by Eric Gray