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Stan Van Gundy says he’d have no issue coaching Dwight Howard in the future

Nov 6, 2012, 1:33 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v New York Knicks Getty Images

There’s no other way to put it: Last season was a complete train wreck for the Orlando Magic.

Dwight Howard held the team hostage with his trade demands, went back and forth as to whether he would or wouldn’t re-up with the team, and even at one point opted in for the final year of his contract, and one more season with the Magic.

Dwight was ultimately sent to the Lakers over the summer, but not before making it clear that he wanted Stan Van Gundy, his head coach at the time, fired while he was still in the middle of the flip-flopping process.

Things came to a head, as you may recall, during one of the most awkward press conferences of all time.

But now that Van Gundy is out of the coaching game for the time being, he’s had some distance from the situation, and perhaps some time to reflect on how it all went down. And from his perspective, there would be no problem coaching Howard again at some point in the future.

In fact, Van Gundy would welcome it. Here’s what he told Richard Deitsch of SI.com:

SI.com: You’ve said your relationship with Dwight Howard is good, these days, correct?

Van Gundy: Yeah, it is. We’ve been in touch throughout the offseason and throughout his rehab. I’ve kept tabs on what has been going on with him. I’ve said from my standpoint that my thoughts of him are all good. I don’t know how many games we won here in five years but it was a lot and he was a huge factor in that thing. He did a lot for me and he was an easy guy to coach, one of the smartest players I have ever coached. He was coachable and practiced every single day. We had our differences and they became public. Had we been left to handle them on our own, I think things would have been a lot of different.

SI.com: If you had to coach him again, there would be no issue?

Van Gundy: Not from my standpoint. Heck, if I were ever anywhere again and he were available, I’d be knocking down the door of my general manager to do anything to get him.

There’s an obvious joke about Stockholm Syndrome to be made here, but in reality, these remarks are consistent with what we saw from Van Gundy all last season. He’s one of the smartest coaches in the game, and one of the most honest.

Van Gundy truly isn’t one to be bothered by off-the-court drama, and he doesn’t care what the public perception is beyond the game of basketball. It’s part of the reason why it was such a shame to see him have to deal with all that Howard nonsense, but it’s also why he’ll be back coaching in the NBA just as soon as he decides the time is right.

  1. BigBeachBall - Nov 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    clippers.

  2. cantonbound13 - Nov 6, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Has anyone ever told Stan he looks like Ron Jeremy?

    • loungefly74 - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      man…i always thought that! AHHAHAHA!

      • borderline1988 - Nov 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        Well, Stan Van Gundy did show Howard who the bigger man really is.

      • eugenesaxe - Nov 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        @borderline1988:
        ba-dum-bump.

    • heat256 - Nov 6, 2012 at 4:30 PM

      Bill Simmons made that connection years ago. Plus, SI did it one better:

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/extramustard/05/08/vangundy.jeremy.tale/

    • sabatimus - Nov 6, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      Told? Probably not publicly. Thought? I’ve thought that for many years.

  3. rickkaler - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Lol at Ron Jeremy comment

  4. spthegr8 - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    I’d MUCH rather have him, then Coach Brown. Just Saying!!!!!

  5. 00maltliquor - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I would LOVE SVG as a Laker coach. One of my all-time faves. But I don’t see Dwight having mutual feelings. At all. Ever. Unless it’s the 32nd day of the 13th month.

  6. e39er - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I wouldn’t…he’s a 1 dimensional coach, surround Dwight with all 3-point shooters, that’s his game plan but I’m sorry it doesn’t work I rather have Sloan over him

    • zerole00 - Nov 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      Seems to have worked pretty well in Orlando given that everyone but Dwight wasn’t very good. I think SVG made the best of what he was given, and I’m sure Dwight would acknowledge that. I’m not a fan of Dwight after last season, but I think his behavior had more to do with being sick of management than the coach himself.

    • stayhigh_247 - Nov 6, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      @e39er
      I got mad respect for the hall of famer Jerry Sloan but I think he’s still coaching in the 80’s. He’s coached just as many championships as Mike Brown at this point, hell i’d take Del Negro over Brown. The little Van Gundy would make a gr8 Lakers coach his teams played gr8 defense. But all b.s aside they should let Phil coach from his ranch via skype….are u listening Mitch?

  7. fanz928 - Nov 6, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Dwight’s one of the best every coach wants to coach him and he plays defense and people compare him to Bynum watch Bynum to come back from his injuries in 2020 Philly fans what a joke

  8. misterdreamer119 - Nov 6, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    SVG would do better than mike brown.

    • scalfor3 - Nov 7, 2012 at 1:54 AM

      No doubt. Stan Van is for real. Didn’t deserve the circus Dwight put him and the Magic through. Good for him sticking to his guns the whole time.

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