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Magic GM Otis Smith says Dwight Howard did not ask him to fire Stan Van Gundy

Apr 7, 2012, 11:51 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy made quite a bit of noise on Thursday, when he went public with his knowledge that Dwight Howard asked the team to fire him. This information came right from the top of the organization, Van Gundy said, so there must be some truth to it, right?

Not so much, according to Magic GM Otis Smith.

In an interview before Orlando’s 88-82 win over the Sixers on Saturday, Smith told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that it didn’t happen. Well, sort of.

“He never asked me; I didn’t have that knowledge,” Smith said.

Van Gundy said Thursday he knew Howard, the Magic’s franchise player, had asked that he be fired. Smith said both parties were to blame for the public dispute.

“If he did ask he’s wrong, and for Stan to address it in public, that is wrong,” Smith said.

I have no idea why Smith continues to give interviews during nationally televised games on this subject; maybe he just likes the attention. He’s the only one, with the rest of us having tired of the drama that’s gone on in Orlando almost daily since the very beginning of the season.

You see the loophole here, right? Smith says Howard didn’t ask *him* to fire Van Gundy. That doesn’t mean Howard didn’t go over Smith’s head at some point and speak with ownership, or that Howard’s agent or someone else close to him didn’t make his wishes clear.

(And as an aside — of course Howard asked the Magic to fire Van Gundy. Just watch that video from Thursday; he couldn’t possibly look more disingenuous.)

Round and round we go, with the only thing certain in Orlando being the fact that Howard and Van Gundy must co-exist for the remainder of this season, and through whatever brief run into the postseason Orlando is able to make with all of this turmoil continuing to swirl.

If it feels like we’re going in circles with this story, it’s because the information out of Orlando lately has been nothing short of dizzying.

  1. 91devinhester23 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    thumbs up if youve had enough dwight drama for a lifetime

  2. tubal22 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    My guess is he asked them to fire Otis AND Stan. But Otis doesn’t have any friends that will tell him what Dwight said, and Stan does.

    • eugenesaxe - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:44 AM


  3. burm61 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Ship Dwight to Toronto. Grab their center and point guard and Dwight will disappear for a season.

  4. hardballtalkusername - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Howard – grow the f*** up. I love the game of basketball, but these selfish stars are making it harder and harder to love the NBA.

  5. jagwar73 - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Unless Dwight is within three foot of the basket, he is a liability on offense. Probably the best rebounder in the game and will be mentioned in the defensive POY voting for at least 6-7 more years, but he is not a complete player. Because of his offensive game, he does not deserve all of this attention. But his ego loves it. Diva!

    • zackd2 - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      And what center in the league is a complete player?

  6. ezmagic - Apr 8, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    If the magic meet with Indiana or philly in the playoffs they should get past the 1st round Brett… If you’re tired of Orlando drama why are you writing about it??… Loser

  7. bearsstillsuck - Apr 8, 2012 at 4:59 AM

    Alright, this is just getting out of hand now.

  8. davidly - Apr 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    It doesn’t matter.

    Funny how, with rare exception, nobody spews hatred at a player until they express interest in exercising their options via trade or free-agency, yet GMs, with the rare exception, get a pass. Howard is overwhelming viewed as the weasly badguy here because his contract was coming to a crossroads and everybody is willing to swallow every unknown-sourced rumor regarding his weasliness.

    Plus, everybody with any sense knows that Van Gundy is a douche for that interview, plain and simple.

  9. chicagofan - Apr 8, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    GETTING COACHES FIRED IS NOTHING NEW or dishonorable! Magic did it to Paul Westphal and they won several NBA Championships with a better coach-Pat Riley, Michael Jordan did it to Doug Collins and the Bull’s won 6 NBA Championships with Phil Jackson. Van Gundy is a nice guy but not a very good coach and he has had ample opportunity and talent to win. Collins and Westphal seem like nice guys too but their styles did not work for their teams. Howard should have demanded he be fired as a condition to signing a longer term contract. This is a business and the goal is to win the title and get paid , not to be a quiet gentlemen and accept losing –if they believe they can win with another coach/let Howard and the other Magic players prove it!

    • havlicekstoletheball - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      Paul West-HEAD.

      Paul Westphal was still playing (in Seattle, I think) at the time.

      The larger point is that Howard might not have asked Smith anything. He might have wanted Smith canned along with Van Gundy.

      Dwight Howard wants to win? Practice making free throws. If he becomes a 75% free throw shooter, the Magic win five or six more games every year. Surprising how much better the coach is when the superstar goes 10-13 from the line instead of 4-13.

  10. gmsingh - Apr 8, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Congrats to all the idiot pundits on Chicago sports radio that said the Bulls need Dwight Howard to compete with the Heat. I can’t stand guys that create more drama off the court than on.

  11. abchome - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    He doesn’t want GM to fire coach, he wants GM be fired with coach.

  12. darealrandolph - Apr 8, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    DH and SVG will be both out in the off season

  13. kungfubillysims - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    If you’re really that “tired of the drama” then maybe you could stop writing about it. Just a suggestion.

  14. mlblogsrickr2009 - Apr 8, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    I don’t know if Stan Van Gundy is a good coach or not, but it would seem that it’s time for the Magic to make a change, actually lots of changes, clean house. Van Gundy didn’t help the team by saying what everybody already knows. His comments, true or not, effectively ends Orlando’s chances for advancement.

  15. slowclyde86 - Apr 8, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    He did not ask. He demanded.

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