Dwight Howard might be heading to Los Angeles sooner than later. On Saturday, The Orlando Magic announced that former NBA guard Jacque Vaughn would be taking on the position of head coach. Shocker? Vaughn who played in the NBA for 12 years before becoming the Assistant Coach to the San Antonio Spurs, replaces Stan Van Gundy who was dismissed in May amid turmoil surrounding star player Dwight Howard.
So why was Vaughn the chosen one? Although we love the Pasadena, CA native, the one time Orlando Magic player beat out a slew of more qualified candidates that included Phoenix Suns development coach Lindsey Hunter and former Pistons head coach and current 76ers assistant Michael Curry for a once in a lifetime gig. For all of your sports fanatics, pop the hood to ready our theory as given to us by our in-house sports expert Ronald Roberts:
Vaughn has spent the past two seasons as an assistant at San Antonio, where he also won a championship as a player in 2007.
That is important because one of the qualities the team was seeking in a successor to Van Gundy was a championship pedigree.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of the league’s top coaches
and has multiple NBA titles. Vaughn also has played under the likes of
Doc Rivers, Cleveland coach Byron Scott – both of whom have titles as
coaches or players – and former Utah coach Jerry Sloan.
Former Magic player and current television analyst Shaquille
O’Neal posted a scathing assessment of Vaughn likely succeeding Van
Gundy, posting on Twitter: “Orlando magic is about to hire jock Vaughn
over mike Malone or Brian shaw are u kidding me, wow, good luck winning
wit Dat team Dwite Howard.”
Malone, Golden State’s lead assistant, and Shaw, Indiana’s
associate head coach, also received preliminary interviews and like
Vaughn are considered in NBA circles to be rising prospects among the
assistant coaching ranks.
O’Neal has friendship ties to both, having played with Shaw as
a member of the Lakers. He also briefly played under Malone when he was
an assistant with the Cavaliers.
Howard reissued his trade demand in Los Angeles last month, singling out the Brooklyn Nets as his desired landing spot.
After recent efforts by Orlando to make that happen fell
through, along with possible trades to other teams, Howard has since
told the Magic in another meeting that he has no desire to return to
Orlando next season for the final year of his contract.
We think Orlando is trying to accommodate Dwight’s trade demands by setting
up a scenario where it appears Dwight leaves Orlando no choice but to trade
him to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum. Why else would Orlando pass over more qualified coaches and pick an unknown to coach an NBA superstar.
An unknown who would jump at the chance to coach an NBA team under any circumstances; even without a Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard won’t play for a Jacque Vaughn.
Look for Dwight to be heading to LA sooner than later.