Apr 5, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT
Dwight Howard’s plans for bloodless coup just blew up — and just about everybody around the Magic will get hit with shrapnel.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed rumors Thursday saying he knows that Dwight Howard went to management asking he be fired as coach, reports Howard Beck of the New York Times on twitter along multiple other journalists on the scene. Van Gundy said he was told this by people at the top of Orlando management.
Here is the video of the media session at shootaround before the Knicks game Thursday night where all this took place.
For those that want the highlights, here are Van Gundy’s direct quotes from the video posted by the Magic.
“I was told it was true by people in our management. Right from the top…
“Since everything came out yesterday (referring to the report from Orlando media), you know you’re going to get asked and think about how you’re going to respond and the whole thing. The only thing I’m ever uncomfortable with is bullls***. To come in and ‘no comment’ or deny that it’s true and everything like that… The only thing that ever liberates me is to be honest with what’s out there. Some people have a hard time with that….
“You guys think that’s crazy but that’s honestly the truth,” he said. “I said this before, I don’t care about that stuff. 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 go home and have a good day. What I’m worried about is at 7 o’clock tonight, are we going to be able to guard Carmelo Anthony? That concerns the hell out of me.”
Just to make things painfully awkward, minutes later Howard came over to the media scrum — unaware of what Van Gundy said — and put his arm around the coach, tried to act like they were buddies and started denying everything.
” Guys can stop with, every other week, trying to find something. Because it’s nothing. It’s nothing. I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything. Our main concern is about winning. All that other stuff should stop….
(When confronted that it was Stan Van Gundy who just said Howard wanted him out) “I said that? Who did I say that to? I’m asking you, since you guys have so many sources.”
Um, those sources are now your coach.
Follow this link to see the interview with Stan Van Gundy and Howard on video, it is as uncomfortable as you imagine.
What. A. Mess.
There is no accident that Van Gundy decided to let this slip on the night of a nationally televised TNT game with the New York media in house. That is how you create maximum exposure.
It’s hard to see how Van Gundy doesn’t get fired now, even with just a dozen games left in the season. Van Gundy likely wanted out, but also certainly wanted to get paid the money he is owed for next season (he is under contract until the summer of 2013). To do that he can’t resign, he has to get fired. So… motivation.
I love that Van Gundy refused to play the game by the rules Howard and Orlando management wanted. Howard certainly left himself plausible deniability here — he probably never said anything to management, but the people around him spoke on his behalf. The impact is the same.
Howard has tried hard not to be the bad guy in all of this with Orlando, but that is backfiring. Always was going to if he left town.
Smart money says Magic assistant Patrick Ewing (the former Knick) will get the now impossible interim gig.
The Magic are in a bind — they still have to deal with getting talent to go around Howard and now they need to find a new coach that can make it all work. And good luck getting a top-flight coach to walk into that situation now.
- Jim Boeheim says Knicks problem is not Carmelo, it’s everyone else 0
- Report: Tony Parker got death threats during Game 1 7
- Kobe tweets he wants Howard and Gasol back with Lakers 13
- Why there’s a 100 percent chance the NBA lottery is fixed 17
- Stan Van Gundy says he will not coach anywhere next season 4
- Report: Dwight Howard will consider multiple teams in free agency, is said to be most intrigued by the Rockets (121)
- Knicks predictably drop Game 4 to Pacers, fall behind 3-1 (93)
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson (87)
- Alonzo Mourning says Scottie Pippen says LeBron would “kick Jordan’s ass” (75)
- Bradley Beal said he’d lose respect for a teammate who acted like Derrick Rose (67)
- Grizzlies aim to stem Spurs' momentum
- HBT: Yankees buying share of expansion MLS team
- PHT: Kings searching for killer instinct in Game 4
- PFT: Romo out of OTAs after back surgery
- PFT: NFL want to make Pro Bowl like game show
- PFT: Bucs saw Revis injury as opportunity
- Wings stun Hawks again, take 2-1 series lead
- Play Video: Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
- Play Video: Durant won't 'compromise himself' like other stars
- Play Video: Knicks avoid elimination
- Play Video: Heat finish off Bulls, James 'has no energy left'
- Play Video: Health woes make Heat vulnerable
- Play Video: Good news for Sacramento, Kings stay