Who’s Running the Show?
Do you remember when coaches were respected by players and players were held responsible for their actions? Somewhere along the way, that all changed.
Earlier this week, Orlando Magic ownership fired Coach Stan Van Gundy and General Manager Otis Smith. Orlando lost to Indiana in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year.
Stan Van Gundy finished with a 259-135 regular season record with Orlando which included making the playoffs in those five years and a conference championship. So why was he fired? Simple: It was because a star player didn’t like him.
There was no hiding the poor relationship between Howard and Van Gundy all season. Earlier in the season, Howard wanted to be traded….then decided to sign a one-year contract, then got hurt, then wanted to be traded again, then decided to stay (for the short term).
Dwight Howard was responsible for getting his head coach replaced and now he may not even stay with the organization. Actually, the odds of Dwight Howard remaining in Orlando as a member of the Magic are about as good as me growing a full head of hair.
So now Orlando will not only be without its star player, but also a really good coach.
What’s funny about this whole situation is that the organization fired Van Gundy so they could keep Howard happy and sign him to a long-term contract and now he will most likely go.
Alex Martins, Magic chief executive officer said, “Strategically, we may not be able to find anybody better (than Van Gundy), but there is another part of the job that I do think that, as we look for a head coach, we’ll be focused on in terms of how the coach relates to his players and other coaches and others in the organization.”
His statement made me laugh. He pretty much said, we fired a really good coach because our star player didn’t like him. How about how players treat their coaches? Isn’t this kind of backwards? If you’re Orlando, do you really want a player who obviously doesn’t get along with any coach and doesn’t really seem interested in staying with your team?
Howard is just playing the owners of the Magic. Orlando is an organization that’s obviously desperate and now looks petty for relieving a coach who won two-thirds of his regular season games.
Will the Magic be able to replace Van Gundy with a better solution who is also willing to take on Howard’s ego and sensitivities if he stays in Orlando? Very doubtful.
At the end of the day, Dwight Howard hurt his image and mishandled this situation and showed how immature he is. His best move going forward is to start fresh in a different market and try to re-brand his image.
For the Magic organization, the damage was done long before this latest round of idiotic decisions. After reaching the NBA finals in 2009 and despite 4 consecutive 52+ win seasons prior to this strike-shortened season, the organization didn’t do enough to bolster their roster and now they will have to start all over. Right now it sucks to be a Magic fan.
Sometimes It Pays Not to Pay
It’s still early, but 2 months into the Major League baseball season, the top 4 payrolls aren’t producing a good return on their investment. The Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox and Angels are all in last place. While lower payroll teams like Baltimore, Cleveland and Atlanta are all in first. As a Red Sox fan, I’m a little worried but happy that Yankees fans are in the basement with us. Both teams will turn it around and Baltimore will fade…..I hope