Well, it finally happened. The Orlando Magic fired head coach Stan Van Gundy.
NBA.com reports that President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Otis Smith has also agreed to step away from the team.
Orlando Magic Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins said:
“We sincerely appreciate and thank Otis and Stan for all that they have done on and off the floor for the Orlando Magic. These are the days you dread in this business, but we feel it’s time for new leadership and new voices…. They both brought die-hard dedication and an unmatched work ethic on a daily basis. Their success is well documented, as the Orlando Magic has had the fourth best record in the NBA over the last five years, and entering the playoffs this year the third most playoff wins over that period of time. The disappointment of getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs these past two seasons played a primary role in our decision, as we feel our momentum towards winning a championship has paused. We wish Otis and Stan all the best and we look forward to taking the next step towards winning that championship.”
USA Today reports that Van Gundy went 259-135 during his career with the Orlando Magic. The Magic made the playoffs every year with Van Gundy at the helm but only made it to the finals once in 2009.
Van Gundy battled with star Dwight Howard throughout the 2011-12 season. At one point, it was rumored that Howard wouldn’t re-sign his contract unless the Magic got rid of Van Gundy.
After the Magic’s disappointing loss to the Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Van Gundy said that he wanted to return to the team next season. He also said that he hoped management would look at the results, and not dwell on the personal relationship between himself and Howard.
Van Gundy said:
“When you’re talking a professional relationship, what matters — at least to me — is the results. I don’t care if it’s a business relationship where two people at work are driving a business to make money, or if it’s a sports relationship, where the object is to win games. Those kinds of professional relationships should be based on results, not on do we like each other or whatever. So to me, the relationship was great. There’s a lot of wins and everything else.”
Do you think the Magic made the right decision by getting rid of Stan Van Gundy?