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NBA roundup: Van Gundy says Howard wants him fired

The SportsXchange

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Thursday that star center Dwight Howard wants him fired.

"I know he has," Van Gundy told reporters, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "That's just the way it is. Again, I've been dealing with that all year. It's not anything real bothersome. You go out and do your job."

Van Gundy said he has heard from management that "it was true."

For his part, Howard has denied that he had asked for the team to fire Van Gundy.

"I haven't said nothing to anybody," Howard told ESPN.com Chris Broussard in a text message. "My main focus is that me and Stan and the team are on the same page for the playoffs. Whatever happens at the end of the season is up to the management."

ESPN.com reported before the trade deadline that the team's front office had allowed Howard to determine what happens with general manager Otis Smith and Van Gundy after the season if he agreed not to opt out of his contract.

---NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters Wednesday that the league is close to a deal that will keep the Hornets in New Orleans through a favorable lease, new television deal, and tax benefits.

Stern said the league was in serious talks with three groups, and he hoped to be able to tell team owners about a deal at a meeting next week.

The Hornets started in 1988-89 as an expansion franchise. The team relocated to New Orleans after the 2001-02 season.

---Like NBA commissioner David Stern, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn't a fan of the one-and-done trend with draft prospects.

The rules allow for American players who at least 19 and a year out of high school to declare for the NBA draft, which explains why many athletes declare for the draft after their freshman seasons.

On Tuesday, Stern told multiple media outlets that he'd like to add a year to that rule. Cuban wants to force players to wait three years.

"I just think there's every good reason to do it, which is obviously why we didn't do it," Cuban said sarcastically, adding that Kentucky fans were the only people who like the one-and-done idea.

---The Houston Rockets signed guard Earl Boykins to a second 10-day contract. The 35-year-old has bounced around the NBA since the 1998-99 season, playing for 10 teams. He has logged a total of 16 minutes in five games this season.

---The Chicago Bulls signed guard Mike James for the rest of the season.

He has been with Chicago three previous times this season and is averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 assists in 11.4 minutes per game in eight appearances. Guard Derrick Rose had sat out 11 straight because of a groin injury.

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