Many of you are probably no longer interested in what happened with 2011-12 season and the "Dwight-mare" associated with it. If you are one of those, go ahead and skip this post.
I, for one, am still incredibly intruged by what happened with the Magic from the time they lost in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals to the trades in December 2010 to Howard eventually asking out in December 2011 and then his trade in August 2012. That is quite an expanse of Magic history.
It seemed that the marriage made in heaven changed and became something it was not before in that general time period. And if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. The Magic cannot afford to make the same mistakes the next superstar that comes around.
Few people know what really happened as much as Stan Van Gundy. He was privy to the behind the scenes goings on and is outspoken enough — and no longer has a stake — to give clues to what happened behind closed doors at the Amway Center at that time.
In a wide-ranging interview with Jon Saraceno of USA Today, Van Gundy has this to say:
He had a great fondness for Orlando, the fans and the way people treated him. I think he might've wanted a different environment, a big city. He's a young guy and I think he was conflicted. It was hard for him. Dwight doesn't like to disappoint people. That's one of things that sort of clouded the situation and made it as messy as it was. He's not the kind of guy to just say, 'I want the hell out of here.'
With me, the situation wasn't good for our team. There was a lot of speculation, first about (Howard possibly) leaving. As a team, our guys dealt with it well. Before he got hurt, we had one of the top five or six records in the league. The distractions kept amping. The story got out that Dwight asked for me to be fired. Before the All-Star break, ESPN reported that the Magic had told Dwight that, at the end of the season, he could decide whether (general manager) Otis (Smith) and I came back.
I had some real disagreements with (Magic CEO) Alex Martins. Otis and I were on the same page and I didn't have any problems with Dwight. I had problems with how our organization approached the situation, how they decided to cater to (Howard) in ways that I thought were counter-productive for our team.
I thought we should have dealt with some of the rumors (about his coaching future). I made it known that it wasn't a matter of my fate. They could have ended all the speculation and fired me right then — I said that to them. That stops the speculation and gets you back to basketball. They wouldn't do anything about it.
A lot of this stuff seemed intuitively to be the case. But it is slowly beginning to leak out to the public some of the internal disagreements that were certain to lead to the dysfunction of that team.
It is what it is though. There is no going back and things were done — rightly or wrongly, effectively or ineffectively — to get get all of us to where we are now. No choice now but to keep moving forward.