Magic coach Stan Van Gundy wants to coach the Magic again next season despite the knowledge that Dwight Howard has been trying to fire him, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports. The contracts of both Howard and Van Gundy expire after next season.
“They’re going to have to make decisions," Van Gundy said of the team. "But I’m a basketball coach and I know this: I don’t want to go anywhere else. I mean, I love Orlando, and this is where I want to be. And I want to coach.”
While finishing this season as coach appeared a shaky proposition after he revealed Thursday that Howard has been asking management to fire him, the team seems content to keep him for now. Whether the team wants him around longer is unclear. Yesterday, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld reported that team executives have been more open to the idea of firing Van Gundy than even Howard has been, so if that's true it would be hard to see Van Gundy back in Orlando next year.
Robbins notes that earlier this season, Van Gundy characterized it as his most challenging as a coach, as the team has dealt with uncertainly concerning Howard's future. Now, the team is dealing with speculation about both its coach and its superstar. If the Magic can somehow overcome this and make a deep run in the playoffs, perhaps to the conference finals, it might be enough to save Van Gundy. Still, the locker room dynamic will seem dysfunctional at best until Howard and Van Gundy either settle their differences or one of them departs.