Dwight Howard is saying he didn't have anything to do with Stan Van Gundy's firing? Of course. This falls in line with everything we've seen from Howard over the course of this wild, shortened season.
"I hate to see anyone lose their job," he said. "Me and Stan ... we had our ups and downs ... but for the most part we had one goal ... to win a championship in Orlando, but we fell short.
"I'm glad [Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins] confirmed I had nothing to do with it."
That's in reference to the Magic saying Howard wasn't involved in the decision nor will be involved in a future coaching decision.
I believe Howard when he says he doesn't like seeing anyone lose their job. I think this is something most humans would say, regardless of their feelings about the person. This doesn't mean he can suddenly dance away from the blame here, though.
To call what happened between Van Gundy and himself this season "ups and downs" might be the biggest understatement of the season. Van Gundy used a post-practice media scrum to tell everyone that Howard wanted him fired and then left Howard to explain himself after an unknowing Howard came over to Van Gundy and put his arm around him to tell the media that the two were fine.
It was one of the most surreal, ridiculous moments in NBA media-scrum history.
It was also an awkward mess of a situation that peeled back the curtain on what was really going on in Orlando. After a rift that large has been exposed, there's no going back. From that moment on, it was obvious that the two would not both be under the Magic umbrella come training camp next season.
It was also obvious that after a season of flip-flopping and then finally saying he wanted to stay in Orlando through next season, it would be Van Gundy who would be relieved of his duties.
It's time for Howard to stop playing the role of the good guy. Beyond time, actually. He doesn't have to put his business on the table, but he needs to be accountable for his actions. He also doesn't have to take full blame, but at least partial responsibility. Yes, the good guy thing is an important part of his image and branding, but at some point, being comfortable with your own truth is more important than trying to cultivate a false version of yourself.
Moving forward, Howard needs to start being real. He doesn't have to suddenly morph into the bad guy or the villain, but he does need to remember that true leaders are willing to deal with both the good and the bad that comes along with their power.