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Magic’s Van Gundy says Dwight Howard asked to have him fired, Howard denies

Apr 5, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

Dwight Howard Stan Van Gundy Getty Images

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.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

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.

  1. gpatrick15 - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Stay classy, Dwight.

  2. jondigital - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Somehow this will be Lebron’s fault.

    • Kansachusetts - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Well, Duh!

    • Kansachusetts - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      I think LeBron and David Stern share responsibility.

  3. pudgalvin - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I wanna sit and drink beer and watch games with Van Gundy. The fat one, not the little squirrelly one.

    • adnan604 - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      are you kidding me ? you wouldn’t want Captain Panic/Ron Jeremy there with you as well ?

      lol, I’d hit the bars kick it with both these dudes no doubt a hundred times over before I would even shake Dwight Howard’s hand

    • ihcone - Apr 5, 2012 at 9:57 PM

      The “little squirrilly one” is a brilliant coach. If you want basketball smarts, he’s your man.

  4. adnan604 - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    This Dwight Howard fella is one big goofy kid, he’s not a man and never will be…. more concerned with having fun goofing on and off the court than winning, and throwing his teammates under the bus, and now his coach, wow.. I am very surprised he decided to stay in Orlando considering the mess he made that is all clear and exposed now.

    I hope he learns a big lesson from this, and I really give props to his team mates (especially Jameer) for basically continuing to play hard and remaining professional even though their franchise player basically made it clear they’re not good enough for him.

    • skids003 - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      You are right. It’s called entitlement. I doubt he could funcion in the work place doing anything other than what he’s doing. But he’s entitled to act like a “fool” and get his way.

    • somekat - Apr 5, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      He didn’t decide to stay in Orlando. The Magic told him he had to waive his option or they were going to trade him, to a team he didn’t want to go to. Sure he’d be free to go anywhere this summer, but with the max contract rules, would of lost out on a lot of money going to a new team that couldn’t use Bird rules on him.

      Howard stayed in Orlando for one reason, more money for Howard

  5. gpatrick15 - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    For people insisting that no player can be as disliked as LeBron James is, Dwight Howard is certainly making a case for himself. This entire saga has been nothing but a mess. I’m not the biggest Stan Van Gundy fan, but there’s no doubt that he’s a pretty good coach. He doesn’t deserve the treatment that he’s been given this season. He certainly doesn’t deserve to get fired. Who’s going to do a better job with this train wreck of a team and front office? Patrick “I have 0 head coaching experience” Ewing? C’mon Dwight. Stop it.

  6. hojo20 - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Maybe some time in college would’ve given Dwight Howard some maturity. I’m so sick of his act. So he wants SVG gone, and yet he might leave after the ’12-13 season anyway.

  7. cfroggerton - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    What a joke. If I’m GM I keep Stan and trade Dwight on draft night. Improve the team by getting rid of a cancer.

    • honeyboywilson - Apr 5, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      Improve the team? I didn’t know Stan could play center.

  8. rajbais - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Stan should be given options. He should be allowed to seek a new job while under contract.

    Obviously, the Magic would only be given compensation such as a second round pick if this scenario took place; but Stan Van Gundy deserves better.

  9. sdelmonte - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Can SVG come to NYC?

  10. cured76 - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    At least SVG isn’t BSing us. Hey Dwight, isn’t there something in the Bible about rejecting your boss over and over? Think that dude’s name was Judas.

  11. jumbossportsblog - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  12. AlohaMrHand - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Anyone else notice the three best young centers in the NBA are incredibly selfish and immature?

    • slopmcflop - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      That’s because a good young center is about the hottest commodity in the NBA….and they all know this.

      • AlohaMrHand - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:29 PM

        Doesn’t excuse their behavior.

  13. marlondagr8 - Apr 5, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Just win that is all.

  14. passerby23 - Apr 5, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    It’s much easier to believe Van Gundy in this situation. I’m always skeptical (to say the least) when someone is asked a direct question like, “is it true you want Van Gundy fired?” and he responds with “Didn’t you watch ESPN last night? All I care about is winning.”

    That wasn’t the question, Dwight. Kind of reminds of me when everyone used to ask Clay Aiken if he was gay and he would respond with something like, “Why do people keep asking me this question? It doesn’t matter what answer I give, people will still bother me about it.” Rather than give a direct yes or no, you get evasive non-answers.

    That being said, I do think the Van Gundy show has worn a bit thin in Orlando. Maybe time to move on. He will find a job elsewhere. I also agree about Howard’s immaturity. Be a man and own up to what you said.

  15. acdc363 - Apr 5, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I have a lot newfound respect for this dude

  16. brenenostler - Apr 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Keep Van Gundy and trade Howard. No one will want to be the Magic’s coach if Howard is still there.

  17. spankygreen - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    THE ORLANDO MAJIC have promised Dwight Howard that they’ll add a quality player before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline and that if Howard signs a new long-term deal with the team, it’ll be up to him to decide whether GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy remain with the organization, reports. In other words, if Howard wants either Smith or Van Gundy gone, they’re gone.

    The Magic, not surprisingly, are denying the ESPN report. “The only person(s) who have the final say on coaches and management is the Orlando Magic ownership,” team CEO Alex Martins said in a statement cited by the Orlando Sentinel.

    somehow all of you crackhead bloggers have gotten around to blaming the Player….Maybe Van Gundy needs to be fired because he sucks at motivating his players to win. Hell maybe he should threaten to leave also if no decent talent is brought in to help the Majic compete…….Stop blaming players and put the blame where it belongs…..MANAGEMENT!!!!

    Read more:

  18. darealrandolph - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    SVG is good coach but will resign or fired and d12 will be traded to Brooklyn or Dallas and play with D-will book it

  19. turnmymicup - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    This isnt a surprise to me. SVG is a really cool guy but he needs to go. His philosophy for this team is all wrong. Lets shoot 3’s all night and hope Dwight can get all the rebounds. Howard is the best center in the league. He should have the most shots attempted EVERY night. Not Jameer Nelson. Developing Howards post moves should have been Van Gundys first objective for the Magic. Instead he was worried about players shooting 3s. I like Stan dont get me wrong but the Magic need a new coach.

    • redblue560 - Apr 5, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      Developing Howard’s post moves ?……. It is not completely Stan Van Gundy’s responsibility. That is why you have assistant coaches, and they have a good one in Patrick Ewing. Now, if Howard do not have the capacity to improve his game, that is a different story.

      I have seen some of Magic’s games live and it surprises me, Howard cannot seem to dominate considering his size. He appears slow and when a big body is playing him, he is in-effective.
      I would expect Howard to average more than 10 rebounds, at least 4 blocks and 18 points.

      The franchise tag should not even be applied to Dwight Howard. A franchise player will try to carry the team on his back when everyone else is having a bad night, be at the center to motivate the team instead of sulking with a sour face on the sideline just like what Peyton Manning does.

      The Orlando Magic should rebuild without Dwight Howard, time and again, he is not a consistent player to rely on. And now with this fire the coach saga, both ability and attitude is questionable.

  20. lakerluver - Apr 5, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Howard’s a prima donna. Now it appears he’s a liar as well!! The Magic are going to regret keeping this Dude. The best deal for them would’ve been Bynum. As a LAKERS fan I’m glad the deal didn’t happen. However, it be revisited in the off-season. I don’t think Howard can lead a team to a title. He’s good but not in the Shaq, Duncan, Hakeem mode. In another season or two, barring injury, Bynum’s gonna be better than Howard anyway. Offensively he’s already better.

  21. tampajoey - Apr 5, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Howard is a POS team cancer and spoiled moron.

  22. lakerluver - Apr 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    @turnmymicup, it’s not Van Gundy’s job to teach Howard offensive moves. It’s Howard’s responsibility to take the initiative to work on his game during the summer and develop his skills. I think Howard has reached his ceiling. What you see is what he is, 20, 14 and the best defensive player in the NBA. That’s why I say he’s not the type of center to lead a team to a title. He is however a great 2nd option on a championship team.

  23. mlblogscubfanbudman621 - Apr 5, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    for a re-born christian, what does GOD say the team should do? I remember when the “MOUTH OF THE SOUTH” said GOD told him they would beat LA for the championship…remember what happened? they got there GOD FEARing as ses handed 2 them! Dwight. quit being such a bitch and play ball, your god, or lack of any god can’t save your dumb F%$n As ssssss

  24. mlblogscubfanbudman621 - Apr 5, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    even the sports writers HATE this arrogant, selfserving, misguided by his imaginary friend GOD, all about me BIT O C H!

  25. diablito0402 - Apr 6, 2012 at 6:30 AM

    Believe it or not lebron does have a fault in this, he started all these childish punk attitudes on nba players now a days, and get away with it..

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