Stan Van Gundy was all set to take the Sacramento Kings head coaching job in 2007. So much so, he and his wife went house shopping in the area. The native of Martinez, California was in the Kings grasp – the only thing left to do, a contract. And a contract was done, locally, at a Sacramento Kinko’s, faxed to the Orlando Magic headquarters as Van Gundy spurned the Kings in a last minute decision. Some say he baited the Kings. Others say it was his wife who made the last minute change, unhappy with the locale and school system. Whomever’s fault it was, Van Gundy was destined for Orlando, eventually telling the Orlando Sentenial that he’ll “forever regret” how he misled the Kings franchise.
Van Gundy agreed to become the Magic’s coach, signing and faxing a copy of his contract back to Orlando from a Sacramento Kinko’s.
Van Gundy did not keep the Kings abreast of the developing situation in Orlando, however.
“I’m not happy with the way I handled the whole thing,” Van Gundy said before the Magic faced the Kings on Tuesday night.
“I was not forthcoming on that day and I should have been when things started to break in Orlando.
“I was totally acting in my own self interest.”
A few years of turmoil later in the Magic Kingdom and Van Gundy is gone, axed this morning along with Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith. So, the question has to be brought up – does Sacramento give Van Gundy a second chance? Does Van Gundy want a second chance? Could it be the perfect pairing?
In short, no. Not with the Maloofs running the show.
Despite what may or may not be a fit with the current Kings roster (you question how talents like DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans would accept Van Gundy after he was railroaded by Dwight Howard), the Kings franchise is financially committed to Keith Smart who earlier this season signed a two year extension and had his option for the upcoming season exercised in March.
Many questioned the March extension, given just weeks after Smart overtook the head coaching position and it’s easy to see why given the high profile names on the coaching carousel currently void of a job. If there is a saving grace, if the Kings did want to swallow their pride, given Smart’s small contract, they could manage to eat the remaining money on Smart’s deal but that seems as logical for the financially strapped Maloofs as texting on a motorcycle.
The Maloofs have been on a year in, year out search for a big name coach – almost fulfilling that desire in ’07 with Van Gundy, but given the current state of the franchise it doesn’t appear that the Maloofs will eat Smart’s contract nor does it appear Van Gundy would be all that interested in joining this circus.
And who can blame him?