BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
I don't blame Shaquille O' Neal for changing his mind to not interview for the Orlando Magic General Manager position. He was smart enough to know that he had a good TV gig and stayed with it. If he were the GM, O'Neal would have to work tons of hours to restore some credibility back to the Orlando Magic franchise which is in transition.
The recent firing of Coach Stan Van Gundy and the uncertainty of confused superstar Dwight Howard would give any GM reasons to take bottles of Tylenol.
O'Neal didn't pull a Classless Act like former Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino, who was named Senior Vice President of Football Operations in 2004, but resigned three weeks later. Marino knew he couldn't handle the work load and challenges to transform a franchise that made him a Hall Of Fame Quarterback, much less the fact that the Dolphins haven't won a championship since the early 1970's. He moved quickly to remain with CBS and not lose his television job.
Florida Gators Men's Basketball Coach Billy Donovan must be relieved that he stayed in Gainesville after watching Van Gundy get terminated.
How would you like to be called the best strategic coach by your boss CEO Alex Martins, whose background is in Public Relations, and you still get fired?
The real truth is that Van Gundy and Howard simply didn't get along, as this is a common occurrence in the NBA, where the coach gets fired and the superstar stays. Van Gundy and Howard couldn't work together.
I'd like to see what coach could co-exist with Howard.
I have a gut feeling that Patrick Ewing will be the next coach of the Magic because he's mentored Howard to play center. He's learned from Van Gundy and has paid his dues as an assistant coach. Plus Ewing is low-keyed and has learned lots of valuable lessons from Pat Riley and his college coach John Thompson.
Dwight should get an endorsement deal with Waffle House Restaurants. He waffles about his future and there are plenty of Waffle Houses on interstates around the USA. Howard doesn't know if he's coming or going.
Who will be the next coach of the Charlotte Bobcats?
In addition to talking about Auto Racing on Memorial Day Weekend, Basketball Country has another topic to discuss as to who has the guts to take over the worst team in NBA History?
Owner Michael Jordan's front office reputation has reached an all-time low.
I think-70-year old Jerry Sloan or Van Gundy would be excellent choices.
Sloan is 1221-803 with a .603 winning percentage and is 98-104 in the playoffs. He won two Western Conference Finals, only to lose to Jordan's Bulls in the NBA Finals. Sloan spent 23-years as the Utah head coach before resigning in February of 2011.
Van Gundy had two pressure cooker jobs in Miami and Orlando. He posted a 371-208 mark with a .641 winning percentage. He was 48-39 in the playoffs. He guided Orlando to one NBA Finals Appearance plus won a championship ring as Pat Riley's leading strategic assistant in Miami.
If Van Gundy's as good as Martins says he is, then Jordan better open up the checkbook and move quickly to hire Stan before someone else does.
The Bobcats are so bad that no player on this team will disrespect Van Gundy's basketball success or knowledge. The man has excellent credentials.
Even though the Magic said they will honor the final year of his contract, and he could take a year off to get refreshed, it would be a good idea for Van Gundy to get a new start immediately.
The Charlotte job would be a great situation because he would have a chance to take a bad team that has one way to go and that's up. He doesn't need public relations skills here. All Stan has to do is teach, run thorough practices, have plenty of dry markers and erasable boards to draw up plays.
Yet my gut feeling says that Van Gundy will take the year off to recharge his battery. After what he's been through with Howard the past few years, he's probably aged about 10 years and he can just pursue the right situation.
With that said, then Charlotte better hire Sloan because he's the third winningest coach in NBA History and his credentials speak for themselves.
Whoever coaches this team should worry less about Jordan because Michael, isn't in a position to be much of a distraction or be a determinate because this franchise can be compared to the old Charlotte Coliseum. It has been imploded and has at rock bottom.
Charlotte finished 7-59 with a .106 winning percentage, the worst in NBA history.
It would be embarrassing to think that the North Carolina Tar Heels, who made it to this years Final Four in New Orleans, and are coached by legendary coach Roy Williams, could compete or defeat this lowly franchise. I wouldn't bet against it.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com.
- Scott Morganroth
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