By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer
Former NBA Coach and current ESPN Basketball Analyst Jeff Van Gundy is sticking up for his brother.
Van Gundy admitted that he has a fractured relationship with his brother, Stan Van Gundy, the Orlando Magic head coach. But Jeff is on his brother’s side against Magic center Dwight Howard.
“People have in their own mind how I should answer that question which is, ‘I’m unbiased and I’ll just call it straight down the middle,” said Jeff. “That’s not true, and it would be disingenuous. I have a horse in the race and I think when you do, you say this is where I am coming from.”
Stan and Dwight have had this love-hate relationship this season. It came to a head last week when Stan told reporters that Dwight wanted Stan fired.
“I don’t feel the need to defend Stan’s record,” said Jeff. “That’s speaks for itself. Howard’s actions and his play speak for themselves. And their time together speaks for itself. The fault to me lies in the burying your head in the sand, not [Orlando GM] Otis Smith, but those above him thinking that the problem will just resolve itself. I think certainly it should have been taking care of it at the trade deadline one way or another.”
Jeff continued. “The team has been divided by the drama and the energy has been sucked out. But I have to say Howard on Saturday, with his back [spasms] issues, played a courageous game [The Magic ended its five-game losing streak with an 88-82 win over the Sixers; Howard had 20 points and 22 rebounds]. They played as hard as they did all year, and I don’t know what the reason for that is. ”
Jeff is not scheduled to call another Orlando Magic game this season. He could possibly call their game in the playoffs.
“I think the larger message to Stan’s answer, if people would have looked at the entire answer, was that it doesn’t matter if Howard has asked for him to be fired,” Jeff says. “The only thing that matters is doing right by the team. To me, the air is now cleared. Everyone knows where everyone stands and there is no more hiding behind semantics or any of that. Listen, if Stan wants to return I hope it happens, but let’s face it, Orlando has had a history of this. It has not worked out well for a coach there.
“I think when he gave his answer it was truthful but all he cares about is doing right by the team. He is going to coach hard and I think he just wants Howard to play like he did Saturday night. Now everything is out there and no one is hiding behind anything. Hopefully, they can play with pride they showed Saturday night.”
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