To nobody’s surprise, the Orlando Magic kicked off its spring housecleaning chores this week by firing both head coach Stan Van Gundy, and General Manager Otis Smith. For months, the tension between superstar center Dwight Howard and Van Gundy had been building like a snowball effect and inevitably came to a crashing halt on Monday. Three words popped in my mind the second I caught wind of the announcement: about damn time. The sports world had seen/heard enough.
The player-coach feud began picking up steam back in early April during a late-season press conference when Van Gundy shockingly confessed that the soon-to-be free agent Howard was leading a campaign behind his back to have him ousted from the head coaching position. In one of the most incredibly awkward sports moments of this generation, Howard proceeds to interrupt the interview and with a beaming smile appears (my speculation) to lie right through his teeth insisting he would never backstab his coach. However, even if Howard intended on getting his coach axed, Van Gundy certainly didn’t take the high road by bringing a closed-door team issue to a public platform. The spectacle was ugly, juvenile, and frankly it was a tiff you’d expect to witness on a playground between kids at recess, not amongst “professionals” on national television. The media is always drooling for gossip like this, so why anyone in this business would ever throw them a bone this juicy is absurd.
NBA experts are already weighing in on where the coach might land his next job and, fortunately for Van Gundy, it appears he’ll have a great chance to ink a position in time for the 2012-13 season. My Portland Trailblazers are looking for a coach as we speak, however ownership might want to be wary of Van Gundy as a leading candidate. Sports Illustrated conducted a survey amongst 134 NBA players, and 22% voted Van Gundy as the coach they’d LEAST like to play for. Isn’t that a large enough red flag to direct the search elsewhere?
Maybe not. The opinions bonk heads in the Magic Fires Coach, GM Trap.