Stan Van Gundy may have been a bit grouchy, but he led the Magic to a 259-135… (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )
Stan Van Gundy is kind of a grouch. The now-former coach of the Orlando Magic may not always have had the best of relationships with his players, particularly a certain superstar the organization is trying desperately to keep beyond next season.
But is that a good enough reason to fire a coach who led the team to a 259-135 record and playoff appearances in all five of his years with the team, including the Eastern Conference championship in 2009?
Chief Executive Alex Martins may have suggested as much while announcing Van Gundy's firing, as well as an agreement to part ways with six-year general manager Otis Smith on Monday.
“It's time for a new leadership and a new approach,” Martins said. “We simply came to the decision that we were not on the right track.”
Martins also pointed to the team's back-to-back first-round exits from the playoffs. saying that's “simply not good enough.” This year's playoff run came without the services of superstar Dwight Howard, who had back surgery late in the season.
Still, Martins acknowledged the team was losing a “great strategic coach" and that it "strategically we may not be able to find anyone better.”
But in the end, it may have come down to relationships between the coach and his players ... one in particular. Howard, whose contract with the team expires next season, often commented that Van Gundy's grumpy demeanor wasn't helpful to the team. And Van Gundy has said publicly that Howard had asked management to fire him as coach.
So was this the best move for the Magic, to get rid of the winningest coach in franchise history in hopes of retaining its star player? Or might the organization regret the move in a year if it finds itself without the services of both Van Gundy and Howard?
Vote in the poll, then leave a comment explaining why you voted the way you did.