Alex Martins walked into the Press Conference and delivered his statement to the media. He was direct, yet not absent of the subtle jabs. Stan not being the all-around coach they wanted. Dwight not being the decision maker. Otis taking the fall for Stan.
The words chosen by Martins left little doubt as to what was behind the decision to let Stan go. The team didn’t think that 1) the organization could move forward as currently aligned and 2) the organization could not keep Dwight Howard if the drama with Stan remained.
Notes and quotes:
- While Stan Van Gundy was “relieved of his duties” – AKA, fired – Otis Smith departed the team on a “mutual decision”. When asked to elaborate on that statement, Alex Martins responded that when the decision was made that Stan was going to be removed that Otis was uncomfortable with that and decided to step down. “He felt uncomfortable moving forward in a new administration without Stan”, were the exact words from Alex.
- “Stan is one of the best strategic coaches in the current NBA. But the job requires more than that.” Martins would continue by saying the organization was at a ”Time for new leadership, with a new voice.”
- Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic are in active discussions with the team on an extension. From Alex Martins, “We are in good, healthy conversation as I would characterize it, and when they determine what their decision is we’ll get to that point.”
- On if Dwight will have input moving forward: “I think the decision is up to Dwight now. I think Dwight needs to decide where his future lies. It has been well documented as to what our desires are and now Dwight needs to decide what his are.”
- The entire team was informed via text message from Martins of Stan’s firing at the time that it was released to the press.
- “Although it was certainly a trying season, we took a lot more than this season into account during the evaluation”, more from Martins. I would also categorize that statement from Alex Martins as not really that accurate.
- Dwight Howard is still in Los Angeles rehabbing and an exact time frame for his return hasn’t been set.
- The team will first hire a General Manager and then a coach. The team goal is to have that person in place no later than the NBA Draft.
- The contracts of Otis Smith, Stan and all of the assistant coaches will be honored and paid in full. Because sports is not reality.
Sometimes having a 66% winning percentage in five seasons isn’t enough. Sometimes going five for five on playoff appearances isn’t enough. Sometimes a disgruntled superstar happens and sometimes a string of REALLY bad personnel decisions happens and sometimes just plain old LIFE happens. If Dwight isn’t injured this team doesn’t exit the playoffs in the first round. But he was. And they were easily beaten without him. And now, the greatest coach in the history of the Orlando Magic is just another man down. Stan down.