Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Pelicans interviewed Vinny Del Negro for head coaching position

    May 28, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    Vinny Del Negro AP

    Tough to see him as a stronger candidate than at least two others. Unless …

  2. Report: ‘At least three’ Bulls starters ripped Tom Thibodeau during exit interview

    May 28, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Players supposedly said they’d avoid team facility this summer if Thibodeau remained the head coach.

  3. Tom Thibodeau releases statement after firing, thanks Bulls fans and players

    May 28, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Thibodeau was fired as Bulls head coach on Thursday.

  4. Barack Obama: Nobody can outshoot Stephen Curry, except maybe Kyle Korver

    May 28, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    US-POLITICS-WEATHER-OBAMA Getty Images

    American president tweets about LeBron James and J.R. Smith

  5. Mavericks considering signing-and-trading Tyson Chandler for DeAndre Jordan

    May 28, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler AP

    Clippers center reportedly interested in signing with Dallas

  6. Jared Dudley on Kevin Love: ‘If you leave LeBron, there’s something’s wrong’

    May 28, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Kevin Love AP

    Kevin Love might leave the Cavaliers in free agency. Cleveland fans, if history is any indication, wouldn’t treat him well if he does. What would Love’s peers think? Colin Cowherd asked Jared Dudley – whom you might remember from saying players avoid Kobe Bryant Bryant and calling Carmelo Anthony the NBA’s most overrated player –…

  7. Bulls fire Tom Thibodeau

    May 28, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT

    Cleveland at Chicago, Game 6 Getty Images

    Bulls owner Jerry Reinsforf: ‘There must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private.’

  8. Report: Melvin Hunt frontrunner for Nuggets job

    May 28, 2015, 10:41 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Denver reportedly has not interviewed Mike D’Antoni

Did Chicago do the right thing in firing Thibodeau?

Despite ending, Hawks had season to remember
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. S. Curry (7783)
  2. K. Irving (5900)
  3. K. Love (5771)
  4. K. Korver (4664)
  5. L. James (4474)
  1. A. Horford (3591)
  2. K. Bryant (3578)
  3. D. Howard (3537)
  4. K. Durant (3474)
  5. A. Varejao (3407)