Is Stan Van Gundy getting fired? The coach apparently confirmed on Thursday that Dwight Howard told Orlando Magic management he wants SVG canned.
Howard, who put endless trade rumors to bed just before the trading deadline this year when he said he would play out his contract in Orlando, allegedly requested that the Magic's management get rid of Stan Van Gundy if they wanted to retain their star center.
Van Gundy told the media about the alleged request by Howard in an awkward and surreal discussion with reporters on Thursday, which Howard immediately denied.
I was told by people in our management. Right from the top, Van Gundy said, referring to how he heard about Howard's alleged conversation with Magic higher-ups, according to ESPN's Rachel Nichols.
The fact that Stan Van Gundy spoke out so prominently about the information he had regarding Dwight Howard's request suggests that there is some bad blood seething between the two stars of the Magic's organization, and that the team has chosen to go with its star player over its long-time coach. SVG is respected in NBA circles, but he has not been able to make a serious run for a championship despite having Howard, one of basketball's greatest current talents, on his squad.
The reaction to the spat, which may end up with Stan Van Gundy fired, though he would more likely quit instead, has been swift and varied.
Marc Berman, an NBA writer with the New York Post, seems to believe that Stan Van Gundy is in the wrong in the situation, and that he should not have discussed internal conversations about personnel with the public:
Worst part of Stan Van Gundy throwing Howard under bus was Dwight walking into it and putting his arm around him unaware. Awkward, Berman posted on Twitter, referring to an uncomfortable scene in which Van Gundy had just spoken out about the alleged conversation and Dwight Howard appeared next to him, uninformed about what had just gone down. Howard went on to deny any such conversation.
The situation has interesting parallels to the one that played out recently with the Knicks between All-Star Carmelo Anthony and under-achieving coach Mike D'Antoni, which resulted in D'Antoni's resignation under duress.
The New York Post reported last month that Anthony wanted D'Antoni out of the head coaching slot, which the player vehemently denied. But later that day D'Antoni ended up stepping down, as their relationship had seemingly deteriorated too far for repair.
So who knows what will happen with Stan Van Gundy in the wake of this situation, but the Magic family appears to be undergoing serious in-fighting.