The absolute mockery that has become the Dwight Howard saga the past two months took a wicked turn this week, with coach Stan Van Gundy proclaiming he had inside knowledge that star center Dwight Howard asked to have his coach fired.
If this is true and Dwight indeed has this type of sway, it borders on the insane. The Magic wanted to keep Dwight, that much we all knew. But to actually give him the power to fire his head coach?
We should establish as a baseline fact that Coach Stan is regarded by most NBA pundits as a top five coach in the league. Sure, he has his drawbacks: a fiery temper, extreme negativism, etc. But the guy clearly knows X's and O's.
We should also point out Stan is not the GM, but the coach. He wasn't responsible for some of the abysmal acquisitions, like Gilbert Arenas, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu or Daniel Orton. Is it Stan's fault that Jameer Nelson can't guard 90 percent of the point guards in the league? Didn't think so.
Stan has to coach the group he has, which is tougher than it sounds. Stan also made a great point in his interview the other day: He can indeed get another job for next season. In fact, there's probably five to 10 franchises that would be happy to hire him, including the L.A. Clippers, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, for starters (although Mike Woodson has done a tremendous job as interim coach).
At this point, we have to assume Stan will not return next season, barring the Orlando Magic improbably capturing the 2012 NBA championship. Many questions will surround the franchise.
Does Dwight get moved to the Nets?
Is GM Otis Smith retained, and if so, why?
Who picks out the next coach?
With those questions in mind, here are five potential candidates to replace Stan Van Gundy as head coach of the Orlando Magic for the 2012-2013 season.