Dwight Howard Stan Van Gundy

No extension for Stan Van Gundy could make things awkward in Orlando


Time to talk about the contract extension in Orlando… no, not that one. We’ll all be forced to be back on Dwight Howard watch this summer, we can give it a rest until then.

But during the whole Howard saga there was that report that the Magic told Howard if he signed an extension he could have say on who would be the coach and GM. Something everybody denied. Even though we know Van Gundy’s in your face, more negative style grates on Howard who likes it light and positive.

Well, thing is Stan Van Gundy’s contract is up at the same time as Howard’s the summer of 2013. Which makes the whole extension with Howard and Van Gundy a little awkward. A column by Brian Schmitz at the Orlando Sentinel covered this (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie).

If it would make Howard happier to have a new coach — happy enough to sign an extension — how do the Magic fire Stan without making Dwight look like the bad guy who orchestrated his exit?…

CEO Alex Martins might have to take the hit, a move made easier if the team doesn’t have playoff success this season. But if the Magic reach the East Finals, how do they justify pushing out Van Gundy?

The Magic and Van Gundy already have had some discussions. I say something has to give this offseason.

There is a book out there on how to beat the Magic, and likely first round opponent Atlanta has it — single cover Dwight Howard (with Jason Collins in this case) and stay home on the shooters. It worked in the playoffs last year, it could again this year. And with two first round playoff exits you could make the case it is time for a change.

But it is still going to look like Howard pulled the lever on that move. Fair or not.

Plus, bring in a new coach and you’re going to need new personnel to fit the system. (Well, you may anyway, this roster as is doesn’t beat the Bulls or Heat in seven games, but not as big a shift.) New coach should mean a mini-rebuild, which might not keep Howard.

The Magic need to extend Van Gundy this summer. They need to not just put the entire franchise in flux. They are not going to find a better coach. Lock the man up.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

Leave a comment

Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.