Dwight Howard told Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos that head coach Stan Van Gundy lost control of the locker room before the decision was made to fire the head coach, according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.
The meeting took place in Michigan before the 2011 NBA lockout.
“I told Rich the truth,” Howard said. “I told him, ‘I love Stan. I think he’s done a great job, but I think he’s lost his voice in the locker room.’ It wasn’t, ‘Hey, I want Stan fired or else.’ I was never upset with Stan at any point. It wasn’t anything personal against Stan. He knows that. It’s just over the past couple of years I could see a lot of the guys had lost their faith in him.’”
Howard had requested a trade from the organization in April 2011. The Magic decided to part ways with Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith in May 2012. Howard stayed until the end of the season before being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in August 2012.
“I shouldn’t have gone over to Stan (at the shootaround).” Howard added. “I just wanted to show people that I respected my coach, that we had been through battles together. Stan and I got the best out of each other. If I wasn’t doing something right, he’d come to me and say, ‘Dwight, I know you can block shots better than this. I know you can rebound better.’ He helped me become a better player.’”
Howard’s contract with the Houston Rockets includes a player option for next season worth $23.2 million, which he could choose to opt out of.