Dwight Howard, star player for the Orlando Magic, told management he wants the head coach, Stan Van Gundy fired. Coach Gundy confirmed this in a conversation with media yesterday April 5, 2012. Gundy said “I was told it was true by people in our management.” Van Gundy explains the situation to media while the team is practicing. He confirms what Howard did, and then says that he is not worried about it and just wants to focus on the game they had coming up against the New York Knicks. He also explains that the decision is up to managment. Gundy said, “I’m the coach right now, and I’m the coach until they decide I’m not the coach. It’s 12:02 right now. If they want to fire me at 12:05, I’ll go home and find something to do. I’ll have a good day.”
Then while this interview was coming to an end Dwight Howard approaches the coach, not knowing what was said, and joins in the conversation about how they are just worried about the game. The coach then leaves Dwight Howard to talk to the media. When the media asks Howard about the situation he basically makes you believe it is not true without saying it, but was caught off guard when he is told that the coach confirmed it. Howard said, “Whatever happens at the end of the season is not under my control. I am a player for the Magic. I am not the GM. I am not Rich DeVos. I am not Alex Martins. That is not my job. … I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything.” Dwight Howard denies the rumors without really saying he did or did not tell manament he wanted the coach fired.
I understand not wanting to talk to media about something personal going on with your team or the organization you work with, but the way this interview went with Dwight Howard was very awkward. When Dwight Howard was asked about the situation again after the game he simply replied, “No comment.”
On March 15, 2012 Dwight Howard decided he was not going to opt out of his contract this summer, and would stay with Orlando. Orlando was desperate to keep their superstar, so management said they would do whatever it took. This is probably when Dwight Howard requested Stan Van Gundy be fired at the end of this season. Ian O’Conner with ESPNNewYork.com said in one of his blogs it was reported that “Orlando’s front office had given Howard the power to determine the fates of general manager Otis Smith and Van Gundy at the end of the season if he agreed not to opt out of his contract.” Then after some time the word got out.
Orlando Magic’s game last night against the New York Knicks was a disaster. The Magic showed no effort. Knicks beat the Magic 96-80. Charles Barkley even said “The Orlando Magic quit.” Barkley described the performance of the Magic team as “one of the least inspired.” Orlando has now lost 5 games in a row.
The Orlando Magic team and organization are dealing with a lot right now. I believe Coach Gundy should not have gone to media with what he found out about his superstar. He should have kept that within the organization and dealt with it there. Gundy and the organization do not need to media in on this. If Howard wants the coach fired, it is still the management’s decision. Coach Gundy did not help persuade the organization to keep him when he told the media that the rumors were true. The Coach now needs to focus on the team and getting them inspired to play again, if he can, and win some games.