ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Thursday he has been told by high-ranking team officials that center Dwight Howard has previously asked that he be fired.
“I know he has,” Van Gundy told reporters after the team’s morning shoot around in preparation for their Thursday night matchup with the New York Knicks. “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.”
Sounds simple, but something that’s hard to do in Orlando.
The stay or go drama surrounding Howard has haunted the Magic all season.
After securing Howard’s services for at least another season at the trade deadline last month, Thursday brought the latest wrinkle to the saga.
For his part Howard has denied reports that he has asked for Van Gundy’s dismissal. He again denied it Thursday.
“Whatever happens at the end of the season is not under my control,” Howard told reporters. “I am a player for the Magic. I am not the GM. I am not (owner) Rich DeVos I am not (Magic CEO) Alex Martins. So that’s not my job. So you guys should stop … every other week … trying to find something, because there’s nothing.
“I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything. Our main concern is winning. So all the other stuff should stop.”
Asked how he was sure of a report that has been circulated and repeatedly denied by Howard and other team officials throughout the season, the 52-year-old Van Gundy said he had been told by “people right in our management, right from the top.”
It was a definite change in approach by Van Gundy, who is usually mum when it comes to issues dealing with his job status.