HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — And you thought we were done with the Dwight Howard-and-the-Magic mess.
Not if Jeff Van Gundy has anything to say about it, and did he ever on Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi‘s radio show the other day. The former coach and current ESPN analyst lit into the Magic for pandering to Howard and his wishes, suggesting that there is some sort of agreement between Magic brass and Howard to out his brother, Stan Van Gundy, down the line.
He made sure to mention that his opinions are all his own and that he doesn’t discuss the Magic with his brother before telling Bianchi:
“To me, only the most gullible fans would believe that this was about loyalty,” Jeff said of Dwight’s decision. “I think it was about power and control. … I don’t know what they agreed to, but anybody who doesn’t think senior management and Howard have come to an agreement on either trading players to get people he (Dwight) likes or changing the coach or changing the general manager or changing the marketing of him. … Whatever they agreed to, there’s been an agreement made.
“… What the Magic senior executives are doing right now is unbecoming. The groveling and begging is hard to read and watch. His (Dwight’s) opinion should matter, but the strong organizations stand for something rather than fall for anything.”
Uh, where do we begin with this nonsense?
If the Magic are beholding to Howard in the ways that Jeff Van Gundy believes, what would be the need for some secret agreement? Howard could have ordered the Magic to send Stan Van Gundy packing (as well as GM Otis Smith, too) and start fresh now rather than wait until, what, next season?
Laughing off the loyalty theme Howard played up during his news conference announcing his sticking with Orlando for another season is predictable as well. But when did these things become about anything other than power and control? When the players have it (and the true superstars almost always do), it’s an issue.
Bottom line? If Howard had an issue with Stan Van Gundy that might have caused him to leave town, the Magic coach probably would have been fired a long time ago if that’s what it took to keep Howard happy and in Orlando.
And finally, if my brother decided to criticize my bosses, the organization that employs me and the star player who has helped put food on my table and secure my family’s future without discussing it with me, that next family dinner would include some serious fireworks.