The Magic Fire Stan Van Gundy
The ugly war in Orlando has finally ended: The Magic have fired head coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith.
The firing of Van Gundy puts the final touches on what was one of the most bizarre public rifts between a coach and a player in recent memory. Dwight Howard, in the midst of trade rumors all season, allegedly privately demanded his coach be fired, just to have his coach publicly call him out for doing so. When Howard finally (and surprisingly) signed a short extension with the club, this firing was virtually finalized. The dismissal of Otis Smith, who served as the Magic’s GM since 2006, does come as a bit of a surprise. Under Smith’s guidance the Magic had one of their most successful runs in team history; however the way in which he navigated the situation with his star center last season was a large black eye on his resume. In a statement made earlier team CEO Alex Martins expressed his displeasure in having to make these tough decisions, but that “we feel it’s time for new leadership and new voices.”
During his 5 seasons as Head Coach, Van Gundy led the team to a 259-135 record, never missed the playoffs and won the Eastern Conference in 2009.