Magic megastar Dwight Howard is in the awkward position of being the defacto host of the ongoing NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, while making no secret of desire to find a new, more competitive place of employ in the near future. Though it’s generally assumed the Magic have little chance of retaining Superman beyond this June, the New York Post’s Peter Vecsey suggests firing head coach Stan Van Gundy might improve relations, even though, “it’s decidedly dubious whether the hypersensitive Howard could take the withering global grief” were the journalist’s advice actually taken by the team.
It’s no secret Howard (and others) is dying to distance himself from the sound of Stan Van Gundy’s tedious screeching. Might management be willing to sacrifice a measly coach to accommodate their centrifugal force?
It certainly wouldn’t be a franchise first. Owner Richard DeVos approved Brian Hill’s firing when Penny Hardaway led an uprising, ignited the previous season by Shaquille O’Neal, whose mantra to management was, “We can’t get to the next level with this guy” and advocated the hiring of Chuck Daly.
Superstars slaying coaches is as old as Sparta. ESPN’s Michael Wilbon might want to raise that theme in an upcoming round table discussion, considering such an authority as Magic Johnson is on the panel.
If Madge could get Paul Westhead dumped, and he’d overseen a Lakers’ championship one season, a lost mini-series, and 11 (7-4) games prior, and later had outsized input into Pat Riley’s eviction following four titles, surely Howard has some sway/leverage regarding the retention of a coach (and GM, for that matter) who so far has supervised a single Finals appearance.