Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
If you by some miracle haven’t seen the video above, please go ahead and watch it.
Done? That was great, wasn’t it? Go ahead, watch it again, I’ll wait.
Was that not the single most wonderfully awkward thing in the history of things or history? So deliciously uncomfortable. I’ve been watching it all night, savoring the wonderful little emotions. Van Gundy’s cavalier attitude: “It’s what, 12:02? If they want to fire me at 12:05, I’ll go home and find something to do.” Dwight’s deer-in-the-headlights denial: “What? I’m asking you guys, since ya’ll have all the sources.” So great.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
Maybe it isn’t fair to say, but I’m loving the way all of this has gone down. I’ve always wondered why players are given the power to make these types of suggestions behind closed doors and no one ever outs them for it. I’m the type of person that if you have a problem with me, I want you to come up and tell me face to face. Don’t go sneaking up the chain of command to complain about me behind my back, tell me your issue and you and I will deal with it.
And judging by the buzzsaw Van Gundy pushes Dwight into in that video, he is the exact same way.
Now, to be fair, Dwight Howard is entitled to his opinion. And as Stan suggests, Howard would be far from the only person that has ever had an issue with his boss. But the fact that Van Gundy was moved to reveal this to the press, and the fact that management felt the need to reveal it to Stan, are both indicators to me that this did in fact all happen the exact way that it seems to have.
I’m imagining that Otis Smith or whoever it was in the Magic office would not be moved to say to their coach (who is a known loud mouth) that the star player on their playoff team wanted him fired unless it was in fact something that had been said, probably repeatedly. What would anyone have to gain by letting that be known at this particular point in time? The only way it’s a good idea to tell him is if it has definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, become something that must be said in order to clear the air and address the situation. This is not a decision one brings up casually over drinks (Diet Pepsi anyone?)
And this has definitely become a situation that must be addressed. The Magic are on another one of their losing streaks, something that has become a bit of a fixture this year. The future is so cloudy in Orlando that it would take a thousand Miss Cleos to see what will happen next.
To be honest with you, I’m kind of glad to see a player get outed for his actions, and forced to face a firing squad of reporters. Between Lebron, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony and the rest, our superstar players have started to come off like real idiots, who have no idea how to handle a PR situation to save their lives, and its starting to get annoying. You would think that it couldn’t be that hard. You have a contract you have signed to provide a service. Provide the freaking service and then decide if you want to stay or go while making as little a deal about it as possible. You don’t need to flip flop several times back and forth, giving lists of places where you would like to play one moment and then saying how loyal you are to the team and the fans the next. Do your job and shut up. Can anyone else go to their boss’s boss and say they need to fire and not expect it to get back to their boss? No. If you are man enough to say it, be man enough to own up to it.
None of this is to say that Dwight is the only one with egg on his face after this, though. I realize that the situation is becoming unmanageable in the Magic Kingdom, but telling Van Gundy his star venter wants him fired in the middle of a playoff race is not something that anyone could have possibly thought would have any type of positive effect on anything right now. And Van Gundy certainly could have been more professional than to lead Dwight to slaughter like that with the media (though just for my own sick purposes, I’m glad he wasn’t). The fact remains that the Magic will have to look at some things and make some hard decisions.
Which forces me to ask: has a team ever catered to a player and gotten rid of a coach and actually achieved anything the next year? Does putting up with someone who demands you give him so much control just to stay around and do his job result in titles? I certainly hasn’t so far for the Magic. Seems really the only thing it’s done is made franchises come out looking weak, and players come out looking petty. You don’t see respectable franchises like the Celtics or Spurs doing this, do you?
I hate to use the basketball/girlfriend scenario that seeming everyone has had a go with, but here it is anyway. You ever had a friend that was dating a girl or guy that they considered out of their league, so they went far out of their way to do everything possible to please them? Like, showered them with expensive gifts, did everything they wanted to do, and let them win every argument, even when they are horrendously wrong? Have you ever seen that type of relationship work out? Neither have I.
But that’s what I feel the Magic are doing here if they keep Dwight and try to cater to his needs. Better to let him go and find people committed to doing what it takes to win. Look at the Utah Jazz. They had a situation with Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan that became unmanageable. The facts are still a little unclear, but all we know is that Deron and Jerry’s relationship had soured, and that one night Jerry quit. Utah shipped out Deron soon after, turned the coaching job over to Tyrone Corbin, and are still playing basketball on their terms with no real star player, and are in the playoff hunt to boot.
That is the goal here. To be a franchise that fans can be proud to love. If you can be that type of franchise, the players will come because of mutual respect. I, for one, would love to see the Orlando Magic go this route, rather than letting one man saw them in half.
Jordan Akin doesn’t know how to do magic. He tried to pull a quarter out of his cousin’s ear once, and the poor kid still can’t hear on that side. You can tell him to pick a card, any card on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.