In an effort to make LeBron's "Decision" look good, Dwight Howard says he won't play for Stan Van Gundy again
First, there were the trade demands and his wavering back and forth on whether or not he wanted to stay with the Magic. Then, he waived his opt-out clause after this year and committed to staying with the Magic through at least the end of next season. At that point, everything seemed fine.
Now, he's apparently refusing to take the court again for the Magic as long as Stan Van Gundy is the head coach.
Howard has already missed 6 games with a herniated disc in his back, and it was suspected that he wasn't going to be able to play again this year anyway. However, according to a report from WKMG in Orlando, Howard told Magic owner Richard DeVos that he refuses to play for Van Gundy.
This seems to imply that Howard could make a comeback this season... if he feels like it.
If Howard is actually physically able to play at some point this year and chooses to sit out because of a spat with the coach, this is a huge red flag.
Regardless of Van Gundy's coaching style or whatever issues Howard may have with him, refusing to play is an absolutely intolerable offense. The Magic would do well to try to trade Howard in the offseason, basically blow up the team, and start fresh with some lottery picks and new talent.
That having been said, I find it hard to believe that many teams would want to trade for Howard at this point. His talent is undeniable, particularly on the defensive end, but when a player flat out refuses to play, it's not a great indicator of how reliable he'll be in the end.
Before next season starts, either Howard or Van Gundy needs to leave Orlando. The town just isn't big enough for both of them, and they're both too good at their job for this nonsense to continue. One of them has to go... we'll see who the team thinks is more important. They may want to be careful, though. Worst case scenario for them would be if they got rid of Van Gundy, a perfectly capable head coach, and then lost Howard to free agency a year later.
They need to commit to one or the other long-term, and that's a tough choice.