ORLANDO, Fla. - In order for Dwight Howard to sign a contract extension this summer with the Orlando Magic, team owners will have to fire head coach Stan Van Gundy, as well as his coaching staff, sources close to the team and the NBA told Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore.
Pingalore's sources confirmed the talk has been "amping" up in recent weeks. According to the sources, the probability of Van Gundy's staff to be released from their final year of the contract is very high.
The sources confirm that if Van Gundy and his staff are fired, the Magic will use the exclamation that they "just couldn't win in a timely fashion."
Pingalore's Magic sources confirm that Howard continues to convey to team owners that he wants a change in the coaching staff.
There was an ESPN.com report before the trade deadline that Howard told the Magic to fire Van Gundy. Both parties denied that rumor.
But as one league source told Pingalore, firing Van Gundy will not come as a surprise to people that work in the NBA and that it would come from the direction of Howard.
The league source did say this is pretty much a done deal based on Howard's demands, and the Magic are already putting pieces together to make a decision after the season.
However, one Magic player who did not want his named used said that there is still is a possibility that Van Gundy could return.
"(I) do not think Stan leaving is a done deal yet," said the player.
Pingalore talked to Magic owner Rich DeVos about Howard's alleged demands for Van Gundy's departure.
"He's not going to dictate what is going to happen," DeVos said. "We talked to him about it and the mistake that we made is that we didn't talk to him about his preferences.
"He can't make those decisions and choices," DeVos added. "We will make those, but we will let him know what we are making and we want his opinion on what fits and doesn't fit."
Pingalore's NBA source said that the Magic would be foolish to fire Van Gundy, calling him one of the league's best head coaches.
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