Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard Denies Role in Van Gundy's Firing

Dwight Howard Says He Had No Role in Van Gundy's Firing

5/26/12 in NBA   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Stan Van Gundy was "released of his duties" as head coach for the Orlando Magic last Monday, and speculation has it that center Dwight Howard is the reason for the decision.
March 18, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) drives to the basket as Miami Heat center Dexter Pittman (45) defends during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
However, in a recent interview with TMZ, the 6'11", 265-pound All-Star testified that he had no role in the firing.

"I hate to see anyone lose their job," Howard told TMZ. "... Me and Stan ... we had our ups and downs ... but for the most part we had one goal ... to win a championship in Orlando, but we fell short."

Van Gundy claimed late in the NBA regular season that upper staff members told him Howard had approached them about a possible firing as an incentive for a contract extension.

Magic CEO Alex Martins put that allegation to rest on Monday, saying, "At no time during that time did Dwight ask me to have Stan fired."

Martins also added that the shift was warrented after season-long drama between the two and struggles as a team on the court, as Orlando was dismissed in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season.

Although top-ranking officials are brushing off the affirmation, many fans and analysts around the nation don't believe the truth has yet to be determined.

Including ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who is also Stan's brother.

"To hide behind the fact or try to make everyone believe that Dwight Howard didn't have a part in this is absurd," Jeff Van Gundy told 98.7 ESPN New York. "Say listen, we fired this guy because we know this our best chance to keep Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard and [Martins] decided to fire him. To do anything else is playing a game of semantics."

The Magic will begin shopping Howard before the NBA draft, which will take place on Thursday, June 28.

Follow this reporter on Twitter: @Tyler_Waddell.
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