The Orlando Magic are a mess.
Howard missed his sixth straight game with a back injury Wednesday against the Celtics, and Van Gundy has already said that he is preparing for his big man to miss the rest of the season and the playoffs.
Howard is still upset that Van Gundy publicly said this month that Howard asked management to have him fired, sources told WKMG. According to the report, the 86-year-old DeVos took Howard's call in his suite at the Amway Center sometime during Friday's game against the Hawks.
I'm sure that wherever Van Gundy is sipping his diet Pepsi, he's taking the news in stride. This is, after all, exactly what he said he had been told by people within the organization. It's also exactly what Howard wanted to avoid discussing after Van Gundy decided he wasn't going to play the "be quiet and pretend everything is all right" game anymore.
None of this is surprising, but it's pretty shocking how this season has played out for the Magic. From Howard wanting out, to him wanting to stay, to the strangest NBA practice scrum to ever be caught on tape, the Magic have been a sideshow all season.
Once Van Gundy told us that he knew Howard wanted him out, we knew where this story would go. Van Gundy will be done in Orlando, because that is what happens when it's star player versus coach. It's a shame, because one day, Howard will realize how good of a coach he had in Van Gundy. He'll also realize that regardless of how much he loves his teammates, only a great coach could get what Van Gundy got out of the unbalanced roster he was given to work with.
The Magic need to get through this season and put this nightmare of a year behind them. One thing they won't get to put behind them? The need to make Howard happy.