Van Gundy was the head coach in Orlando for five seasons and the Magic made the playoffs every year.
The Magic went 37-29 this season and were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Indiana Pacers. Dwight Howard did not play in that series due to injury.
Howard was rumored to have gone to Magic management asking for the firing of Van Gundy earlier in the season.
Howard elected to opt-in to the last year of his contract right before the trade deadline this season instead of demanding a trade.
Howard successfully hurt his image this year with his antics more than LeBron James when he left Cleveland which is hard to imagine.
The NBA is star-driven league and this is as good of an example of that as any.
Van Gundy is one of the best coaches in the NBA and did an amazing job keeping this team afloat given its situation with Howard. Smith was able to surround Howard with maybe not the best possible supporting cast but one good enough for the Magic to make it to the NBA Finals in 2009.
Howard essentially mailed it in this season and got what he thinks he wanted in Van Gundy and Smith now gone.
Howard doesn’t know what he wants and until he completely changes his outlook and mindset he will never be a champion. Unless of course he ends up in Los Angeles next season and gets to play with Kobe Bryant.
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