- Last Updated: 5:51 AM, April 6, 2012
- Posted: 1:31 AM, April 6, 2012
HOOP DU JOUR
LOS ANGELES — By clandestinely calling for Stan Van Gundy’s job at season’s end, Dwight Howard almost certainly saved it — though I doubt that’s what a scheming management mole had in mind when he leaked Howard’s disgraceful demand to the cuddly coach, who proceeded to break the news at Thursday’s shootaround to a rapt fourth estate assembly.
After all, how does the Magic organization profit from keeping Van Gundy’s boat afloat?
His retention wouldn’t quite establish Orlando as a mecca for wandering tribes of prominent free agents or pacify any employee in particular. What choosing Van Gundy over Howard would do, however, is earn management a merit badge from fans fed up with the DeVos family catering and caving to bratty pinups.
As we all fondly recall, Rich DeVos sanctioned a Penny Hardaway-captained rebellion against Brian Hill. He felt so bad he rehired him years later, only to get him fired the conventional way, for not winning.
Now we have in the works Howard’s personal insurgency against Van Gundy.
In that the owner caught all denominations of grief for capitulating to one domineering inmate, does anybody really believe he’s going to sell out another warden?
On the other hand, I can practically visualize the exodus of both Van Gundy and Howard — barring, of course, Dwight’s signature to stay two additional years (the maximum allowable by league law) than the one he opted-in for (2012-13) just before the stroke of the Feb. 15 trade deadline.
Certified coach-killer notwithstanding, it’d be tough for Van Gundy to survive that kind of commitment from the NBA’s glossiest centerfold, I say with sincere skepticism, and easy for DeVos to endure the repercussion.
Let’s be sure to revisit that hypothesis in early July. For the moment, give Howard credit: Just when we thought a departure couldn’t be any more disreputable than The Decision, he limboed under that bar. For the moment, let’s deal with the untimely seepage of an unacknowledged accusation against him three weeks before the start of the playoffs.
How utterly loopy is that? Publicly indicting Howard as a smile-in-your-face back-stabber is not the best way for a coach to motivate his disenfranchised player, I’m guessing.
Then again, the roundabout revelation (see Feb. 26 column) forcefully opens a skylight Howard can be hurled through come summer to the accompaniment of thunderous applause.
And we all know who’ll be there waiting patiently calling for a fair catch.
The Nets have been and continue to be Howard’s most faithful and ardent suitors. They were eager to make a reasonably fair deal for him before the season and at a moment’s notice right up until the deadline.
And they’ll be amply equipped with players, draft picks and salary space ($23,457,307) to compensate the Magic sufficiently, as well as relieve them of some toxic waste, when the new cap figures kick in the second week of July.
I believe that’s what’s going to be the deal, no matter how much Mavericks owner Mark Cuban romances Howard and Deron Williams.
I believe both will be on billions of billboards throughout Brooklyn when the Nets open up there next season.
I believed the moment Howard made that chintzy one-year obligation to the Magic … long before some shadowy management figure conveniently clued in Van Gundy and he dropped a dime on Dwight … before the loonies playing in the Magic’s bin and running it began to plot against one another.
Now I’m convinced! Particularly after learning Howard is eligible for a two-year extension.
Given what’s going down in Orlando, If I were Nets coach Avery Johnson, I’d ask for the same security
Oh, by the way, Orlando continues to consider itself a title contender. All above bets are hereby hedged or off the table completely should that turn out to be true and the Magic win the championship or reach The Finals. In that case, none of this nonsense will matter or be remembered.
This just in from column contributor Bruce Littlefield: “If rising free agent Jeremy Lin signs with the team across the bridge they ought to change the team’s name to the BrookLIN Nets.”
It’s official: As evidenced by being outscored 44-22 at home by the Raptors, Doug Collins has lost the 76ers. Disorganized, listless, indifferent and embarrassing are a few words that come to mind.
If Collins has defined roles for his players I sure can’t tell. Who’s the distributor? Jrue Holiday? Evan Turner? Andre Iguodala?
Switching positions and starters at this point, does he really expect continuity and efficiency?
Thaddeus Young, one of the best runners of the floor in the league is now in a jog — a total of 18 points in his last three games. Six of his most recent he hasn’t even gotten to foul line. He’s looking like a bad imitation of Rasheed Wallace.
Some players have packed it in, but DeMarcus Cousins isn’t one of them, notes column contributor Ricky St. Jean. “The touchy one is on a tear. The last 10 games he’s playing as well as any center in the league — 24.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, 8.7 free throw attempts and 48 percent from the field.”
Big man coach Clifford Ray seems to be getting through to Cousins when others failed miserably.Follow @NYPostsports