Earlier this week, rumors surfaced that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard wanted head coach Stan Van Gundy fired. Dwight then came out to refute those claims. Today, Van Gundy confirmed that Howard had in fact asked for him to removed from his position.
Asked if it makes it harder to coach given that he thinks Howard is not committed to him, Van Gundy responded, “It’s not a matter of being committed to me. It’s a matter of being committed to the team and trying to do everything you can to help the team win games. That’s all I’m concerned with. As far as the other stuff, I don’t think that matters. I don’t need love and support here at my job. I’ll turn to my family for that. I don’t need these guys giving me hugs and pats on the back.”
Asked how he knows it’s true, Van Gundy said, “I was told it was true by people in our management right from the top.”
A star player pushing for the firing of his head coach isn’t unusual. The fact that Dwight made this request (and I believe Stan) isn’t shocking as the relationship between the two has always been rocky. Been the bigger issue for me, the Magic’s handling of all of this. What free agent would want to sign up for this circus? How is Stan supposed to effectively coach the team and won’t the locker room atmosphere be extremely uncomfortable? None of that describes a scenario for a winning formula. If you bring in a new head coach, he’ll still be under the specter next season of if Dwight stays or leaves.
Awkward moment of the day in all of this, after Stan confirmed to the media that Dwight had in fact asked that he be fired, Dwight comes over puts his arm around Van Gundy and denies it again. Not realizing Stan had just confirmed everything… priceless.