The Dwight Howard saga has just gotten more ridiculous, if that’s possible. According to a report from ESPN, in an effort to please the All-Star center the Orlando Magic will allow him to determine the fate of head coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith, pending him resigning with the team.
The amount of power players have over their teams has become a bit maddening. Van Gundy responded to the outlandish rumor Tuesday afternoon, seemingly fed up with the whirlwind of drama currently surrounding the team.
“Look, I’ve said this many times before. If anybody thinks I care about that, I really don’t give a damn about getting fired,” Van Gundy said before Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat. “If they want to fire me to please somebody, fire me. I really don’t give a damn.”
“The rumor today, Dwight’s deciding if we’re staying or going. I have enough perspective where you can sit back and laugh at some of it,” Van Gundy added.
The claim was refuted by Howard’s agent as well as the Magic brass later in the article:
The Magic, in a statement issued by Martins on Tuesday, said: “The only person(s) who have the final say on coaches and management is the Orlando Magic ownership,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, declined to address whether the Magic had offered Howard the ability to decide Smith and Van Gundy’s fates. But he did say that Howard has not sought and does not want that responsibility.
“I want to be clear that Dwight has never asked for, and does not want, the burden of making the Magic’s operational decisions,” Fegan said. “The only thing that Dwight has asked the Magic is that they do their very best to build a championship team — period. End of story.”
Fegan also said that in no case will Howard agree to extend his current deal with the Magic, calling that request “ridiculous.”
The Howard drama has exploded as the NBA trade deadline quickly approaches, and the media attention brings to mind “The Decision” by LeBron James in the summer of 2010. Howard has been linked to the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers, with the Warriors and Bulls also involved in trade rumors.
The picture will become clearer within the next two days, as the NBA trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. on Thursday.