Last Thursday, in arguably the most eventful shootaround of the season, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters that he was aware Dwight Howard has asked the team to fire him. Howard arrived at the media scrum, unaware of the comments his coach had just made, and denied ever making such a request. Despite Van Gundy having made his lack of job security public, Howard continues to insist he hasn't requested a coaching change, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
Howard sat down with ESPN's Hannah Storm for a one-on-one interview, and a transcript of a portion of their conversation was released by ESPN. Asked by Storm if he ever asked for Van Gundy to be fired, Howard replied, "No, no. So when it was said, I was just like, in shock, I was in shock."
"I got a lot of negative press out of the whole situation," Howard said. "You know, ‘Coach killer, this or that.’ And it was just bizarre how the whole thing happened. You know, but I haven’t said anything this season — to anybody in management about, you know, you need to do this with Stan, or vice versa; they never said we’ll do this for you."
Howard did concede that he'd made requests of management in past seasons when he's been upset, but said "I’ve always come back and said I’ll do a better job, I’ll take more of a hit, I’ll lead better."
Whether or not Howard has a standing request with the Magic for a coaching change, it seems nearly certain that Van Gundy will be replaced after this season. The real question will be whether D12 will follow him out of town a year later, when his contract with Orlando expires.