A report filed Thursday by David Pingalore of WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando alleging Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard phoned team owner Rich DeVos on Friday to inform him he would no longer play for the Magic as long as Stan Van Gundy served as the team's head coach is "not accurate," says Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, citing a source. "It speaks volumes that people are ready to believe it, though," Amick writes. "Dwight's PR is a nightmare these days."
Pingalore's report said Howard reached DeVos via telephone during the Magic's loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday; DeVos was watching the game from his suite at Amway Center when the call allegedly took place. But Amick's report refutes Pingalore's.
Howard was not with the team Friday, as he was on a flight back from Los Angeles, where he received a second opinion on the sore back that had kept him out of action for six days. The second diagnosis revealed Howard had a herniated disc in his lower back.
When asked for his take on the situation, Orlando-based reporter Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD didn't dismiss the idea that Pingalore might be "on a mission" to paint Howard in a bad light.
Van Gundy took over as Orlando head coach prior to the 2007/08 season. He has since compiled a .662 winning percentage with the Magic, the best among coaches in franchise history.