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

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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.