ORLANDO, Fla. The Orlando Magic began an overhaul of its basketball operations department Monday by firing coach Stan Van Gundy and parting with general manager Otis Smith in what the team said was a mutual agreement.
Van Gundy's dismissal after five seasons and Smith's departure after six years follow perhaps the most turbulent season in team history. It began with All-Star center Dwight Howard requesting a trade and included an undercurrent of tension between Howard and Van Gundy and Howard and Smith.
"Stan is one of the best strategic coaches in the current NBA," Orlando CEO Alex Martins said. "But the job requires more than that."
In recent days, Martins, along with chairman Dan DeVos, evaluated the basketball operations department. But even before the regular season ended, many within the organization believed the only way the team could hope to retain Howard was to part with Van Gundy and Smith.
Van Gundy exits as the winningest coach in franchise history, going 259-135 in the regular season and 31-28 in the playoffs.
"Don't really want to comment except to say that I am really proud of what we accomplished over the past five years, and I look forward to whatever comes next," Van Gundy said in a text message.
Martins said the team hopes to have a new general manager by the draft in June. He also said the team plans to let the new GM participate in hiring a coach.
Van Gundy might have sealed his fate April 5. That morning, with rumors circulating that Howard had asked Magic executives to fire Van Gundy, the tension between Van Gundy and Howard reached a boiling point. A reporter asked Van Gundy whether he believed Howard wanted him fired.
"I know he has," Van Gundy answered. Asked how he knew that to be true, Van Gundy said, "I was told it was true by people in our management. So, right from the top."
Howard denied the allegation Monday, and Martins said Howard never asked him to fire Van Gundy.
Warriors Amid reports the franchise has agreed to a deal for a new waterfront arena in San Francisco for 2017, co-owner Joe Lacob said in an email: "We are not prepared to make any announcements at this time."
The team would answer questions "when an arena site has been announced," team spokesman Raymond Ridder said in a separate email.
Originally, the Warriors had eyed a spot south of AT&T Park. Another potential site, Piers 30-32, sits north of the ballpark.
The Warriors' lease agreement at Oracle Arena in Oakland ends in 2017.
Knicks New York is expected to remove the interim label from coach Mike Woodson's title this week, multiple sources said.