ORLANDO, Fla. (CBSMiami) – The Orlando Magic is looking to take the mantle of most dysfunctional NBA team to an entirely new level.
Thursday, Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy admitted to the media that the team’s superstar, center Dwight Howard, has asked management to fire him.
“Do you believe that Dwight has asked that you be fired?” a reporter asked Van Gundy. “Yes, I know he has,” the coach responded.
Van Gundy continued saying that he knew the claim was true based on what management had told him, “so you know, right from the top,” the coach said.
Van Gundy said management doesn’t have to tell him anything about who they will stand behind because, “I’m the coach right now and I’ll be the coach until they decide I’m not the coach.”
Howard himself walked into the interview room where Van Gundy was speaking and denied the rumors were true.
“The only thing we’re concerned about is winning a championship. Whatever happens at the end of the season is not under my control. I’m a player on the Magic. I’m not a GM. I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything.”
Unfortunately for Howard, his credibility has been eroded by a season full of will he or won’t he return to Orlando. Howard kept the Magic at arm’s length all season before agreeing to play out the contract through this season and at least until the trade deadline of next season.
Ironically, Howard reportedly got cold feet about leaving Orlando because of what happened to LeBron James when he joined the Miami Heat, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Now, he may be viewed in a worse light than LeBron by most NBA coaches, fans, and even some players.
Between the Van Gundy comments and Howard’s action, Orlando has become dysfunction junction for the NBA. The Magic can’t bring in players to surround Howard until the coaching situation is set. The Magic will keep Howard in the end, which makes Van Gundy a dead coach walking.
Van Gundy has been down this road before though. He was fired by the Miami Heat before the team made a run for the NBA Championship just a few years ago.
If Van Gundy is fired, former New York Knicks star center Patrick Ewing could be in line to be the interim coach.