During the last few months of the 2011-12 NBA season for the Orlando Magic, head coach Stan Van Gundy knew he was on his way out of Orlando and believed Dwight Howard was to blame for his imminent firing.
Now that Van Gundy has been fired and Howard officially traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, the former Magic coach let it be known that it wasn’t Howard’s fault for the debacle in Orlando this past season according to Ian Fitzsimmons of GAC on ESPN Radio via Twitter:
Stan Van Gundy just told us he blames the front office not Dwight Howard for what happened w/ Magic & he believes DH is a perfect fit in LA.
— Ian Fitzsimmons (@Ianfitzespn) August 12, 2012
It’s no secret that there was no love lost between Van Gundy and Howard in Orlando. Things began to get ugly as the season came to a close with Van Gundy becoming increasingly frustrated with the endless trade speculation and Howard supposedly wanting the Magic coach to be fired in order for him to stay with the team long-term.
During his time with the Magic and Miami Heat, Van Gundy wasn’t exactly popular with his players or management. Despite ugly divorces with both teams, there’s no doubting his coaching ability as he’s been a success with each NBA franchise he’s coached thus far.
It’s a good sign for the Lakers that Van Gundy has come out and said that the firing was not Howard’s fault. The last thing the Lakers’ front office wants moving forward is a problem with their newest superstar and the Lakers’ coaching staff. So far, things have gone smoothly with Howard ecstatic about being traded to the Lakers.
The future remains uncertain for Van Gundy as he continues to search for a new coaching position in the league. With an impressive record of 371-208 and winning percentage of 64 percent, it’ll only be a matter of time before he’s given another opportunity to coach in the NBA.
As for Howard, no comments have been made about his former coach up to this point. It’s safe to say that the topic will come up sooner or later with the superstar center being asked to make comparisons between Van Gundy and Lakers coach Mike Brown.