Q: Why are you sitting on your deck right now while Dwight Howard is in L.A.?
A: Two separate questions. I think Dwight had decided before last season started — maybe even before then — that he was going to leave Orlando.
Q: Do you think he really knew what he wanted?
A: I think he might have known. He had a great fondness for Orlando, the fans and the way people treated him. I think he might've wanted a different environment, a big city. He's a young guy and I think he was conflicted. It was hard for him. Dwight doesn't like to disappoint people. That's one of things that sort of clouded the situation and made it as messy as it was. He's not the kind of guy to just say, "I want the hell out of here.''
With me, the situation wasn't good for our team. There was a lot of speculation, first about (Howard possibly) leaving. As a team, our guys dealt with it well. Before he got hurt, we had one of the top five or six records in the league. The distractions kept amping. The story got out that Dwight asked for me to be fired. Before the All-Star break, ESPN reported that the Magic had told Dwight that, at the end of the season, he could decide whether (general manager) Otis (Smith) and I came back.
I had some real disagreements with (Magic CEO) Alex Martins. Otis and I were on the same page and I didn't have any problems with Dwight. I had problems with how our organization approached the situation, how they decided to cater to (Howard) in ways that I thought were counter-productive for our team.
I thought we should have dealt with some of the rumors (about his coaching future). I made it known that it wasn't a matter of my fate. They could have ended all the speculation and fired me right then — I said that to them. That stops the speculation and gets you back to basketball. They wouldn't do anything about it.
Q: What's your theory?
A: If they fire me at that point, my guess is two things would have happened: Dwight becomes the bad guy, which they didn't want (because they wanted to re-sign him). And/or they look like they're taking their marching orders from him.
I was convinced during the process — and I'm not saying it shouldn't have been — was (the Magic's) concern was keeping Dwight Howard in Orlando. That was a very, very important thing. But it was at odds with my concern, which was our team. It can't be just one guy. We have 12 other guys. This detracted from us being the best we could be. It needed to be dealt with.
When I (publicly) confirmed what I knew that (Howard) had asked for me to be fired, I thought, "The story dies." We didn't get to find out because Dwight played only two more games.
I've been asked if I had any regrets about what I said. My only regret was that I didn't bring things to a head a lot earlier. If you're going to coach, your responsibility is to do the best for your team. I presented (management) with the option of getting rid of me. I wasn't trying to save my job. When I (publicly) confirmed Dwight (tried to fire him), I knew it wasn't the best move for me to keep my job. But if you're going to coach just to keep your job, you're not going to be very good.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nb ... d/1852415/
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