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Magic Out Stan Van Gundy

Ex Orland Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy
Photo credit:
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Stan Van Gundy era came to an end in Orlando on Monday when the Orlando Magic fired their coach.  The firing has to be both a blessing and a curse for Van Gundy.    He doesn’t have a job but at the same time he no longer has to deal with Dwight Howard drama.  Van Gundy and the Magic’s star center Dwight Howard have been feuding all year both behind the scenes and in front of the media.  Their were rumors that Howard was calling for Van Gundy’s firing by the middle of this past season.  Even though Magic front office staff had confirmed those rumors, Howard has repeatedly denied such allegations.  Well Monday it came to pass and Van Gundy was gone, whether it was due to the pressure Howard put on the Magic is hard to say.

Stan Van Gundy came to the Magic in 2007.  He was essentially a back up plan when the Florida Gators head coach signed with the Orlando Magic and then 5 days later quit and went back to the Gators.  There have been a lot of ups and downs for the team during Van Gundy’s tenure.  Van Gundy leaves the Magic with a 259-135 record and a 31-28 record in the playoffs.  He was with the team for a total of 5 seasons.  The Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2009, only to fall victim quickly to the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Magic also made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2010 losing the series 4-2 to the Boston Celtics.

The timing is very strange to me though, with the NBA Draft is coming up next month.  The Magic need to find their new head coach and they need to find him soon.  It is imperative to have a new coach in time to have him on board for the draft and helping the team set for in a new and hopefully successful direction.

This next season will be a very interesting and probably very stressful on for the Orland Magic.  Dwight Howard’s contract is up at the end of the season.  The Magic will definitely want to either sign Howard or trade him away.  The Magic almost traded Howard this past season when it was unclear whether he would accept his team option for another season to close out his contract.  The Magic have never forgotten the situation Shaq put them in after the 1996 season.  Shaq left the team for The Lakers and the Magic got nothing in return due to the fact Shaq was a free agent.

Howard is a fantastic player and has potential to be an NBA Finals MVP.  Howard will however need to tone down the drama that plagued last season in order for that to be possible.  He would need to make a decision and resign or have the team deal him away way before the trade deadline if he wants to contend for the NBA Championship this season.  One has to hope that with Van Gundy gone Howard can focus more on the court and lead the Magic the way he has shown himself capable of doing.

So will we see Dwight Howards final game with the Magic this year or the continuation of the good career he has had with the Magic.  Is a championship in the Magic’s future?  I think Dwight Howard’s season and decision has a lot to do with the answer to that question.

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The NBA Needs to Shorten It’s Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs began 2 weeks ago. We still have another month and a half before we see who will be crowned the 2011-2012 NBA Champions. The Playoffs last 2 months in total every year. I think the system could use some tweeking to make it less exhausting on the players and the fans.

In 2003 the NBA took what was already a long playoff season and made it longer. The first round series became a best of 7 games match up. The first round was previously only a best of 5 game series. It increased the length of the first round and over all playoff season. A disadvantage was made for the top seaded teams that could sweep their opponent and have to wait up to 2 weeks before their next series started. The down time that could occure could and has hurt many teams by causing them to lose momentum.

The biggest problem the current system has is the tv coverage and how it affects the playoffs. Because the NBA relies heavily on tv contracts and ratings the series tend to go longer than they should. A typical 7 game series can go almost 2 weeks, which is completely ridiculous. The way the best of 7 series breaks down is 2 games in one city, 3 in the other city and finishing the final 2 games back in the first city. One would think that you could play each of those segments back to back each night and then have a day off for travel then play the next group of games in consecutive nights. But what the NBA does because they have to be in prime time and not have games compete with each other for viewers, is spread the games out. So even though two teams are playing in the same city for 2 games they may have 1 or 2 nights off in between. That is stupid, it is a complete waste of time.

Basically you have the playoffs burning out fans, and I think it takes away from some of the excitement. The NBA needs to fix this situation and I am sure the fans would be happier for it. But for now the NBA will continue to be more concerned with tv money and ratings than their fans.