Former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy was recently asked if he would have any problem coaching Dwight Howard again. His answer is sure to stir the pot in Lakerland.
That's because SVG himself has said that he would have no problem coaching Dwight Howard despite the saga that occurred in Orlando last season, which included reports that Dwight asked for Van Gundy to be fired as well this awesome/awkward press conference. Van Gundy actually said he would like to coach Howard again.
SI.com: You’ve said your relationship with Dwight Howard is good, these days, correct?
Van Gundy: Yeah, it is. We’ve been in touch throughout the offseason and throughout his rehab. I’ve kept tabs on what has been going on with him. I’ve said from my standpoint that my thoughts of him are all good. I don’t know how many games we won here in five years but it was a lot and he was a huge factor in that thing. He did a lot for me and he was an easy guy to coach, one of the smartest players I have ever coached. He was coachable and practiced every single day. We had our differences and they became public. Had we been left to handle them on our own, I think things would have been a lot of different.
SI.com: If you had to coach him again, there would be no issue?
Van Gundy: Not from my standpoint. Heck, if I were ever anywhere again and he were available, I’d be knocking down the door of my general manager to do anything to get him.
Obviously, these kind of comments make sense for SVG to make from a political standpoint and putting his name into the ring for the Lakers head coaching job can only help him when he starts looking for another head coaching gig. But I think he is telling the truth about being able to coach Dwight. Howard clearly wasn't happy in Orlando, but I never really understood why his unhappiness there had anything to do with Van Gundy, who designed elite level offensive and defensive schemes around him.
SVG would be my top choice should the Lakers choose to part ways with Mike Brown in the near future. He has experience building an elite defense around Howard despite having less than stellar defenders to toy and his pick-and-roll offense with Howard was one of the best in basketball. The Lakers probably wouldn't be able to match the three-point shooting of that Orlando team, but I'm sure they could do much better than we've come to expect, and Van Gundy has never had a weakside scorer like Kobe to play around with, which only make that Nash/Howard pick-and-roll more deadly.
This may be a longshot given Jim Buss' recent endorsement of Mike Brown, which, whether we like it or not, carries a lot of weight, but we can dream, can't we?