ORLANDO, Fla. - You can scratch any idea that Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard might be reunited in L.A. in the aftermath of Mike Brown being fired as the Lakers’ coach Friday.
Even though he should, I don’t think Lakers’ owner Jim Buss would consider Van Gundy as a candidate after the former Magic coach torched the organization for firing Brown pn Friday.
Van Gundy told the Orlando Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz that the Lakers’ dismissal of Brown was, “the most ridiculous firing in the history of the NBA!”
Van Gundy told the Sentinel that Brown’s dismissal was “absurd,” adding, “Why did they bring him back? They changed the entire staff, changed his offense, got two new players (Dwight Howard and Steve Nash), have had guys hurt since day 1 and gave him five games to get it going.”
Reminded that he was available to work with Howard again, Van Gundy, who was fired by the Magic after last season, joked, “I’m sure I’m at the top of their list.”
Actually, he should be.
Why wouldn’t the Lakers at least consider Van Gundy - the best NBA coach available?
Better yet, why wouldn’t Dwight Howard go to Kobe Bryant and Lakers management and lobby to get Van Gundy the job?
Can you imagine the instant PR boon it would be for Howard? He’d go from the man who got Stan fired in Orlando to the man who got him hired in L.A.
Unless Phil Jackson comes out of retirement yet again, is there anybody better than Van Gundy out there? Is there anybody more suited to integrate Dwight into a team than Stan?
Besides, Dwight and Stan have kissed and made up after last year’s dysfunctional Dwightmare of a season with the Magic. They text each other all the time now and Dwight contributed to Stan’s recent political campaign to help raise money for Seminole County schools.
“We are on good terms and always were,” Van Gundy told the Sentinel recently. “Whatever our disagreements happened to be, they were on the professional level - they were about basketball and our jobs. Personally, we never had a problem. We liked each other. I have great admiration for the things Dwight did in the community and for the way he involved himself with kids. I really do want the best for him, and I think that’s mutual.”
Howard, in a recent interview with former ESPN analyst Ric Bucher, echoed those sentiments.
“To this day, Stan and I talk and we have a relationship, and I’m happy about that,” Dwight said. “We have a mutal respect for each other. We had five great years together. It didn’t end right and it didn’t end well, but we’ve moved on and we’re happy for each other.”
When asked by Sports Illustrated recently if there would be an issue coaching Howard again, Stan replied: “Not from my standpoint. Heck, if I were ever anywhere again and he were available, I’d be knocking down the door of my general manager to do anything to get him.”
If Dwight were smart, he’d be doing the same thing now to get Stan.