Dwight Howard isn’t making things easy for the Orlando Magic. He has been denying rumors about him wanting Stan Van Gundy fired. The story really started to pick up steam a few weeks ago when a story came out that if he were to re-sign, the team would give him the ability to fire the general manager and head coach. He has been denying everything negative and has kept a pretty squeaky clean image throughout this whole ordeal. Van Gundy just made the Orlando Magic situation a little more awkward.
During an interview this morning, Van Gundy was quite candid about his position with the Orlando Magic. He said that until he is told otherwise, he is the coach of the Orlando Magic. He said that “if I am fired later today, I’ll still have a good day. I’ll go home and find something else to do.”
He kept answering questions and his responses really started to cut with a knife. He made a vague comment about “one of the people here doesn’t like his boss” and that he has been told by management that Howard wants him to be fired. He ended the press conference that he isn’t worried about any of that right now and that he’s just worried about stopping Carmelo Anthony tonight…this is where things got even more awkward. Howard saw an opportunity to do a little “PR photo op” in front of the press, but he didn’t know that Van Gundy just told them that he wants the head coach fired. He started to hug Van Gundy and said that we have to win tonight and we don’t have anything to worry about. As Van Gundy exited, the press corps started to tell Howard what was just said. He looked like he just got his hand caught in the cookie jar. He denied everything said that he has not been told anything. I have never witnessed him look so uncomfortable, he was clearly not telling the truth.
It is odd how Howard managed to keep such a positive image over the last year. He has been stringing the fanbase along and being very passive about what he’s going to do. He has denied that he has every been shown a contract to sign, has been negative when asked if he’s taking a Shaq-like career path, and at times, he has been visually upset on the sideline. He brushes off any negative questions with an aura of ignorance and a smile. He has a very good PR person, they deserve a raise.
What should the Orlando Magic do? I think they have to give Dwight Howard what he wants. Van Gundy is a great coach and if he’s fired, he’ll get a job coaching next season. Otis Smith has been a sub-par General Manager and he should be evaluated…even if Howard signs with another team. Howard brings in millions of dollars in ticket and merchandise sales. You can replace these guys and you will not be able to go out and replace the face of your franchise and one of the best 10 players in the NBA. I don’t agree that it is a morally correct decision, but this is the business of the NBA.
I am guessing that Stan Van Gundy’s height will not be a determining factor in keeping his job, but Howard clearly has the height advantage. There needs to be a height requirement if you’re an NBA head coach. You need to at least come up to your center’s armpits. I love Van Gundy, but can you blame Howard for not respecting this guy?
Feel free to “Like” my blog on Facebook or click the Facebook box located within the sidebar.