As NBA observers begin to come to grips with the very strange interview session that took place Thursday morning after the Orlando Magic’s shootaround; when Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy told members of the media by members of the club’s management that All-Star center Dwight Howard has asked for him to fired at the end of the campaign; there is a two-fold question that comes to mind. What prompted him to share behind the scenes team information with reporters and in turn the planet and what was he hoping to carry out with his declaration?
On the outside chance that you are unaware of the rapidly deteriorating situation that is taking place within Orlando, here is a quick synopsis. Orlando TV station “WKMG Local 6” reported on Wednesday that their sources had stated that Howard had told the club’s front office that he would sign a contract extension this summer, if the Magic dismiss Van Gundy who has one year remaining on his contract.
When the Orlando bench boss met with media members after the club’s shootaround in preparation for hosting the New York Knicks that evening; a reporter asked Van Gundy if he thought Wednesday’s reports about Howard wanting him gone had any validity. He replied “I know he has. That’s just the way it is. Again, I’ve been dealing with that all year. It’s not anything real bothersome. You go out and do your job. I was told it was true by people in our management right from the top.”
The Magic head coach told reporters that the thought of getting fired has not been a source of concern for him. He said “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 have a good day; I’m not worried about that at all. What I’m worried about is 7:00 tonight; are we going to find a way to guard Carmelo Anthony?”
If Van Gundy truly had the team’s best interests at heart; he would not have made what must be a very tense situation for the franchise even more uncomfortable. Naturally New York dominated the contest Thursday night winning easily by a final score of 96-80. Howard had just eight points for the night and did not score until the third quarter.
As you watch the tape of the interview, it becomes clear early on that Van Gundy is displaying no anger what so ever when talking about his situation; this was not somebody who was caught up in the heat of the moment and said things out of anger. He was as calm and collected as if he were talking about what role he wanted a member of his roster to play. He had planned out what he was going to tell the reporters and basically revealed as much.
The coach told the members of the media that when the Orlando TV station broke the story on Wednesday, his first thoughts were how he would deal with the media when he spoke to them Thursday morning. He told the reporters that he felt uncomfortable not commenting on the situation or try to get away with “Spin Control” so he decided to take on the issue head-on. Van Gundy said “The only thing that ever liberates me is to be honest and deal with what’s out there.”
While I am certain there are many people who would like to be totally honest and always tell it like it is; human beings have developed two skills over the centuries that prohibit us from doing that. They are tact and diplomacy; without which people find that they would not get too far in this lifetime. Van Gundy is displaying neither of those qualities and it will not only hurt him with Orlando, but with other NBA teams who would be interested in hiring him.
If Van Gundy wanted to tarnish his center’s reputation revealing the information that he did; then he accomplished his mission as Howard comes off as a petulant child when talking with reporters after Van Gundy had dropped his bombshell. However Van Gundy certainly did the same thing to himself with his actions; a move he may soon regret.