Stan Van Gundy believes Dwight Howard asked for him to be removed as head coach. Van Gundy came out and said this on Thursday, and it’s no surprise to me something like this happened when it did.
When The Magic’s owner came out before the trade deadline and said if Howard resigns with them he would have complete control over the coach and the general manager positions I knew there would be a rift between Van Gundy and Howard at some point. It’s impossible for a player to respect his coach when he’s been publicly given the right to have him fired.
The Magic were also going through a five-game losing streak before last night’s victory. Tension and losses are the quickest way for a coach to earn a ticket out the door, but it isn’t Van Gundy’s fault. He’s been put in a situation that demands he do whatever Howard wants or else he loses his job. It’s kind of hard to coach the team, and keep the respect from your other players when a fellow player, not the coach, is calling the shots.
I blame three people for this mess Orlando is in right now. Firstly I blame the owner Rich DeVos for even allowing the possibility of this situation to occur. You don’t try to keep your player by telling him he has total control of people who are in charge of the team. It would be similar to giving a private in the army the control to have his general removed from his troop. It seems silly to think about it like that, yet that’s the position DeVos put his franchise in when he went public with that ultimatum for Howard.
Secondly I blame Dwight Howard. He could have squashed this right away and it would have never been an issue. I don’t know where his loyalties lie as far as staying with the Magic past this year, but if he leaves and has Van Gundy fired even though he’s leaving I will lose some respect for him. It would have been wiser for Howard to say I don’t want the ability to have my coach and G.M. fired I just want to focus on basketball.
Lastly I blame Van Gundy. I only blame him for not quitting as soon as he found out one pf his players can play “Hand of God” with his job. You can’t coach successfully with that looming over your shoulder. Van Gundy has averaged 55 wins per season at Orlando, and hasn’t had an abundance of talent while doing so. He should have no problem finding a job if he does in fact get fired, so why is he putting himself through this?