ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – The blood-letting in Orlando has officially begun for the Magic. The team announced Monday that it had fired head coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith agreed to leave the franchise.
The moves come as no surprise as the team had long ago cast its lot with a superstar center, Dwight Howard, who was known more for his immaturity and lack of professionalism this year than he was for his dominating play on the court.
Van Gundy had been coach of the Magic since June 2007 and compiled a 259-135 record in five years in Orlando. Van Gundy led the team to a 2009 Eastern Conference championship and a berth in the NBA Finals, which was the teams’ second in franchise history.
Smith helped build the teams that Van Gundy guided to the NBA Finals, but was also blamed for several bad deals that have hamstrung the franchise from finding better players to surround Howard.
The most notable bad contract remaining is that of Hedo Turkoglu, who is scheduled to make roughly $23 million over the next two seasons.
Both Van Gundy and Smith were hung out to dry by Howard this season. Various reports said Howard wanted Van Gundy out as head coach throughout the season and he used his leverage of not signing a contract extension over the Magic for much of the regular season.
Smith was a member of the inaugural Orlando Magic team in 1989. Van Gundy was also a former coach of the Miami Heat.