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No matter how much power commissioner David Stern may have, the NBA is a players league.LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and their ilk run the show.
Case in point: the newest rumour regarding Dwight Howard wanting Stan Van Gundy out as head coach of the Orlando Magic.
Here’s the report from an Orlando TV station:
According to the sources, the probability of Van Gundy’s staff to be released from their final year of the contract is very high. The sources confirm that if Van Gundy and his staff are fired, the Magic will use the exclamation that they “just couldn’t win in a timely fashion.”
Over the last few weeks the topic of “if the Magic get rid of Van Gundy…” has become more of a “when will they get rid of Van Gundy?”
This is simply the latest in a long line of NBA teams turning their superstars into virtual general managers and consulting with them on every decision. Recent history shows that may not be the smartest move, however.
- The Los Angeles Lakers sided with Kobe Bryant when they traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat and let Phil Jackson leave. Kobe eventually gave in and let Jackson return after a one-year hiatus that resulted in the Lakers missing the playoffs.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers coddled LeBron James and let him do whatever he pleased for seven years. The front office frantically assembled different teams on the fly right before the NBA trade deadline every year hoping to appease their star, instead of building a long term winner. They even got rid of Mike Brown as head coach hoping that would convince LeBron to stay, but even that failed.
- The New York Knicks saw Mike D’Antoni quit after he told them it wouldn’t work with Carmelo Anthony. The jury is still out on what may happen next, but it doesn’t look too promising.
- The New Jersey Nets keep talking to Deron Williams about every decision they make hoping such an expanded role keeps him in a Nets uniform once the team moves to Brooklyn next season. All indications are that plan is doomed and the Nets won’t contend anytime soon.
After seeing all of this transpire, it’s baffling to us why the Magic do nothing but give in to Howard’s stupid demands.
Yes, Dwight Howard, NOT Stan Van Gundy, puts butts in the seats. But Van Gundy is the one who has been able to make the absolute most out of rosters that outside of Howard have had zero stars.
On the flip side people will argue that the Lakers are finally standing behind their coach, Mike Brown, as opposed to Kobe and the results have been less than spectacular. Well, there’s some truth to that, but it has more to do with Kobe and Andrew Bynum pouting than anything else.
Orlando need simply look at elite clubs like the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs for guidance. All three of these teams have excellent, future Hall of Fame players who bought into a system and have flourished.
Why can’t the Magic do the same?
Part of the problem has to do with the bad luck of landing a super star who will complain until he gets what he wants, but Orlando let it get to this point on their own. Had the Magic made it clear to Howard early on that management and the coaching staff were in charge, it would’ve never gotten to this point.
Now the Magic are sure to go through another “will he stay or will he go” scenario next spring and they can thank their consistently poor decision making for it.
Orlando should just ask Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert how this story ends.
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