I purposely waited a day or so to write about the elephant in the room of Orlando sports right now, the shakeup at One Magic Place.
I can't say I'm shocked that Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith no longer hold gainful employ with the Magic. I'm a little surprised in the order that things have been done -- or haven't been done.
I thought that the Dwight Howard situation -- sign him, trade him, sign him then trade him -- would get resolved first; I'll come back to this. Then the team would offer SVG the chance to return -- a chance I thought Stan would respond to by telling the suits, "Get bent." -- which is what the team would tell Otis Smith, then go find their new GM, who would find the new coach.
So simple. Too simple, so I guess it wasn't possible.
Van Gundy will go from here and write his own ticket, be it in coaching, doing TV, writing a self-help book, running for Congress, etc. He'll be the same success wherever he goes as he was here, leaving as the franchise's all-time leader in coaching victories. This team needs SVG more than he needs the Magic.
And now, back to Dwight to finish this little epic up. Sign him. I SAID SIGN HIM, DAMNIT!
If the bluster is true, Howard got what he wanted, the prospect of a new coach and GM. To get rid of him after giving him what he wants is ludicrous. And if you get rid of him now, you're telling the fan base, "We're blowing it up. No hope for a while. See you in 2016." All those empty seats will be great when it comes time to rationalize building that new arena.
You keep Dwight Howard. Who else plays like Dwight Howard? His presence in the paint means you can run whatever offense you want, and he can bail out the rest of the guys on a poor shooting night. On defense, he's twice as good as the second-best defensive player in the NBA. (What can I say, I'm right and I'm not afraid to admit it.)
Besides, go ahead and try to trade him. What can you get in return that works in the fabric of the salary cap? Brook Lopez? Tyson Chandler? Puh-leeeze. Andrew Bynum and his weak knees? Maybe it's a deal if the Lakers also offer Pau Gasol AND they take Hedo Turkoglu's contract; then again, I'd pay $100 for a concert ticket if Hendrix came back.
It just won't work. It can't work. Sign him longterm (and do it this summer) or just admit that he's gonna walk Shaq style. And speaking of Shaq, if he's the next Magic GM, then I'll be the next Pope.
At least the Amway Center does host a winner, and with the Orlando Predators at 1-8, it ain't them. The Center was named Sports Facility of the Year at the Sports Business Awards in Manhattan on Wednesday. One of the buildings it beat out? The Superdome.
... As for another tenant of the Amway Center, the Orlando Solar Bears will have a little lather worked up when they meet their instate rivals next year: the Florida Everblades claimed the ECHL Kelly Cup Wednesday night with an overtime win over the Las Vegas Wranglers. Get your championship gear, folks.