Stan Van Gundy: 5 Reasons Orlando Magic Must Replace Coach This Summer

Stephen Fenech@Fenech2491Correspondent IApril 6, 2012

Stan Van Gundy: 5 Reasons Orlando Magic Must Replace Coach This Summer

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    Stan Van Gundy has had a very trying season thus far. He has had to deal with the constant distractions stemming from Dwight Howard's trade request, yet he was able to coach the team to a solid 32-23 record.

    When the trade talked died down after the trading deadline, Howard apparently asked upper management to relieve Van Gundy of his duties. 

    Van Gundy's days in Orlando are numbered and there are no guarantees that he will even finish the season as the head coach of the Orlando Magic

    If the Magic choose to retain Van Gundy for the rest of this season, then they must act and fire him this summer.

To Make Dwight Howard Happy

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    Dwight Howard is a once in a generation-type player. 

    The Magic are fortunate enough to have one of the best players in the league on their roster. The plan in Orlando is to do anything it takes to convince him to sign a long-term extension. 

    Orlando's front office has one more chance to build a team that Howard likes moving forward. If they are unable to do this then their best player will leave in free agency after next season. 

    Without Dwight, the Magic would be picking in the lottery instead of playing in the playoffs. 

    It is rare to see management side with a coach over a superstar player—this won't be happening in Orlando either. 

    Howard is the face of the Orlando Magic. It was him—not Stan Van Gundy—who welcomed the All-Stars to Orlando earlier this season. 

    Dwight Howard's presence in Orlando wins the team games and gets the fans to come out to the brand new Amway Center. 

    The Orlando brass will do whatever it takes to make Dwight happy with the hope of enticing him to sign a long-term extension.

    This will see Van Gundy looking for a new job this summer.

Last Years Disappointing Postseason

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    After last season's regular season finale against the Chicago Bulls, Jameer Nelson was taped telling Derrick Rose that he will see him in the second round. This turned out to be too optimistic as Nelson would find himself watching the second round just like the rest of us.

    The Magic were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last season. Losing in the opening round was certainly a disappointment, and to make matters worse they were knocked out by the Atlanta Hawks.

    Orlando dominated the Hawks in the second round of the playoffs just the previous season, sweeping them while out-scoring them by over 100 points. 

    Last year's results show that the Magic have regressed rather than progressed as a basketball team. 

    Van Gundy obviously isn't the only reason that the Hawks beat the Magic, but he is the guy who will take the lion-share of the blame.

To Get Rid of a Distraction

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    Van Gundy did an exceptional job at keeping the team focused despite all of the Howard trade drama.

    All of his hard work has led to his star player calling for his dismissal. Unfortunately for Stan, he has become the distraction in the Magic Kingdom.

    Stan made himself a distraction when he told reporters that he knew Howard had asked upper management to fire him.

    By doing that, Van Gundy drew a line in the sand between him and Howard.

    He has forced the Magic brass to choose either him or Howard. The team cannot prosper while both of them remain. The organization has to create a stable working environment—one in which the team can focus solely on winning basketball games. 

    The removal of Van Gundy will eliminate one distraction, then the team could focus on their biggest distraction, Dwight Howard. 

It May Be Time for a Change

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    The Van Gundy era may have run its course in Orlando. The team has been successful with him on the side-lines, he is the only coach in team history to win over 60 percent of his games.

    There should be a change in the front office, also. The team's current GM, Otis Smith, is responsible for building this team and he should be relieved of his duties along with Van Gundy.

    Occasionally, teams just needs a new voice to rally around. This may be the case in Orlando. Van Gundy has been the with the Magic since 2007, his message has been heard many times by this roster of players. 

    It may be time for a new coach to come in with his own message to re-motivate the players. 

    The Magic players must be having a hard time following all of Stan's directions because they know his days are numbered. 

    If the team isn't listening to their head coach then the on-court results will suffer—the Magic are on a five-game skid at the moment. 

    Van Gundy will find success with another team and will be sought after by many teams this summer, but the Magic may be ready for a change. 

The Team's Current Level of Play

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    The Magic are 10-10 since the All-Star break, which isn't up to their usual standards. To make matters worse, they have lost five in a row, although they have been without key players due to injuries.

    Since the All-Star break, the Magic have lost to the likes of the Bobcats and Pistons. 

    NBA teams hope to be at their peak entering the playoffs. The Magic, on the other hand, are on a sharp decline.

    If the Magic aren't playing well entering the playoffs, then another first-round exit is soon to follow. If this were to happen then this would be another strike against Van Gundy.

    If the season were to end today, how would you feel about the playoff chances of the Magic?

    That is exactly how Van Gundy must feel about keeping his job after the season ends.