Magic fire Coach Van Gundy, GM Smith
The NBA's Orlando Magic fired coach Stan van Gundy and agreed to part ways with general manager Otis Smith on Monday after they were eliminated from the first round of the play-offs by the Indiana Pacers.
The Magic finished 37-29, sixth in the Eastern Conference, but struggled after star center Dwight Howard underwent season-ending back surgery even as they reached the playoffs for the sixth year in a row.
"We sincerely appreciate and thank Otis and Stan for all that they have done on and off the floor for the Orlando Magic," said Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins.
"These are the days you dread in this business, but we feel it's time for new leadership and new voices."
Three years after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2009 NBA Finals, the Magic were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row, a major factor in the decision to seek new leadership at the club.
"The disappointment of getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs these past two seasons played a primary role in our decision, as we feel our momentum towards winning a championship has paused," Martins said.
The Magic had major issues over keeping Howard, the big man concerned about the talent he was surrounded with in Orlando even as potential trades and free agency deals were reported that would move him to other clubs.
Former Miami Heat coach Van Gundy, who took charge of the Magic in 2007, has a regular-season career NBA coaching record of 371-208, including 259-135 over five seasons in Orlando.
Van Gundy's highlights included guiding Orlando to the 2008 Southeast division title, a trip to the 2009 finals and the 2010 Eastern Conference final. The Magic enjoyed four 50-win seasons under Van Gundy until this season's lockout-shortened campaign.
Smith became general manager of the Magic in 2006 and was made president of basketball operations for the club before the start of the 2010-2011 season. The Magic went 299-177 under Smith's general manager tenure.