Dwight Howard is so incensed with Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy that he called team owner Rich DeVos on Friday to tell him he would never play for Van Gundy again, reports Dave Pingalore of WKMG Channel 6 in Orlando. The reporter's sources confirmed that DeVos took the call in his suite at Amway Center while the Magic were playing the Atlanta Hawks.
Howard's ire stems from an incident on April 5th, when Van Gundy told reporters he has known since the season began that Howard had asked management to fire Van Gundy. Howard crashed Van Gundy's media scrum, draped his arm around the coach, and flatly denied ever asking for Van Gundy's job, not knowing that Van Gundy himself confirmed it. Video of the entire surreal scene is available on the internet.
As Pingalore notes, Dr. Robert Watkins diagnosed Howard with a herniated disc in his lower back. That diagnosis hasn't stopped some folks from wondering if Howard is somehow faking the injury in order to miss the rest of the season.
Van Gundy is under contract with the Magic through the 2012/13 campaign, but it's becoming increasingly unlikely that the team will retain him beyond the current season. A report from David Baumann of Bright House Sports Network indicated Howard asked Magic management before the season to hire either Brian Shaw or Michael Malone as head coach, while Marc Stein has suggested Howard would enjoy playing for Nate McMillan.
Van Gundy's 258-132 (.662) record in Orlando is tops in franchise history. Overall, Van Gundy's .643 win percentage ranks fourth among active head coaches.