We all saw it coming. The Orlando Magic have fired head coach Stan Van Gundy as well as president of basketball operations and general manger, Otis Smith. After an early first-round exit in this years playoffs, Magic CEO Alex Martins announced the team has mutually parted ways with the two.
“On behalf of the DeVos Family, we sincerely appreciate and thank Otis and Stan for all that they have done on and off the floor for the Orlando Magic,” said Martins. “These are the days you dread in this business, but we feel it’s time for new leadership and new voices.
“They both brought die-hard dedication and an unmatched work ethic on a daily basis,” added Martins. “Their success is well documented, as the Orlando Magic has had the fourth best record in the NBA over the last five years, and entering the playoffs this year the third most playoff wins over that period of time. The disappointment of getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs these past two seasons played a primary role in our decision, as we feel our momentum towards winning a championship has paused. We wish Otis and Stan all the best and we look forward to taking the next step towards winning that championship.”
Van Gundy, who in his best season lead Orlando to the 2009 NBA Finals, leaves the Magic having posted an impressive record of 259-135 (.657). Van Gundy did state that he wanted to remain the head coach of the Magic after the team was eliminated by the Pacers in this years playoffs. But, in a season filled with drama surrounding all-star center Dwight Howard’s reported demand of upper-management to have Van Gundy fired, it was pretty much understood that Van Gundy wasn’t going to remain the head coach much longer.
This leaves the Magic with some serious decisions to be made for the future. Who do they replace Van Gundy with? Do they bring in a new, up-and-comer or a seasoned vet? Who will handle the basketball operations and general management position?
There are a number of options for both positions. As for president of basketball operations and general manager, there a few names that come up. Jeff Bower, Adonal Foyle, Steve Kerr, David Morway, Tom Penn, Kevin Pritchard, Tony Ronzone and Donnie Walsh are all possible candidates. Big head coaching names include Jerry Sloan, Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan giving the Magic have a number of good coaches to choose from. And then there is the ever-lingering possibility that Phil Jackson will return to coaching. Sources close to Jackson have reported he has been flirting with the idea of taking the head coaching job of the Knicks, so it seems like a long shot for the Magic but still a shot – maybe.
Only one thing is for certain – the Magic’s future is uncertain. With Dwight Howard under contract for one more season, we will see if management makes the right hires and aqcuistions to put the Magic back into the Finals. My guess? The Heat will still win the East for the next few seasons, regardless.
via CBS Sports