Stan Van Gundy never said he wanted to fight, Dwight Howard (Kevin C. Cox/ Getty).
The Orlando Magic have had a very busy Thursday. In the morning, Stan Van Gundy confirmed recent reports that Dwight Howard wants him out as head coach, which set off a firestorm of denials, commentary, and takes on exactly what's gone wrong in Orlando. As Yahoo!'s own Adrian Wojnarowski noted in a column Thursday afternoon, it was the only way Van Gundy could wrest back some control of the situation. Yet, in doing so, things aren't any less complicated for the franchise as they attempt to make some noise in this spring's playoffs.
Believe it or not, Howard is now a little upset that the whole situation has gone public. According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Howard and the rest of his teammates avoided media before Thursday night's home game against the New York Knicks. From his Twitter account:
Dwight Howard wouldn't talk before the game. Howard isn't happy. He feels that Stan Van Gundy threw him under the bus with his comments.
By the way, the Magic did eventually open the locker room. It was basically empty. A few players walked in, saw the media and left the room.
When Dwight Howard walked up and put his arm around Stan Van Gundy, he had no idea what Stan just said. He was completely caught off guard.
There's something a little ridiculous about Howard getting upset that Van Gundy threw him under the bus when Howard is trying to replace him as coach. Howard can hope that everyone plays nice for the cameras, but that's a cynical approach to a situation full of distrust and animosity. There was always the potential for Van Gundy to make this information public, and if Howard thought things would go swimmingly he's pretty naive.
It's understandable why Dwight himself is upset about the situation, though, because there's an unwritten rule in NBA circles not to make these sorts of disputes public. That doesn't mean he has acted properly in this incident or deserves our sympathy — conspiring to get a coach fired is pretty low. But there is an NBA code, and many other players and coaches would probably back him on this particular issue.
Then again, codes are arbitrary constructions and don't carry the rule of law, so Howard can only complain so much. Sometimes, when you act like a jerk, people call you out in public for it. Howard can get upset about a breach of professional etiquette, but in the end he has no one to blame but himself.
- Dwight Howard
- Stan Van Gundy