The latest chapter of open animosity between the outspoken Orlando Magics coach Stan Van Gundy and NBA Commissioner David Stern took place this past Monday over Orlando’s Dwight Howard’s one game suspension following his 16th technical foul. To sum it up, Van Gundy didn’t agree with the suspension, expressing thoughts that Howard’s outbursts were warranted due to the punishment he receives on the court and that Howard had settled down of late with his on court aggression.
"I think he has settled down," Van Gundy said. "He’s gotten two (technicals) in the last month (and) he hasn’t gotten any for arguing. His problems were early in the year when he got a lot of arguing calls. Lately what he’s gotten is two for retaliating for hits he’s taken after the whistle and I think to be quite honest he’s already had great restraint on those plays.â€¨â€¨"… You guys can estimate how many of those were hard hits and how many of those were above the shoulders … I would say his control is amazing."
But, in typical Van Gundy fashion, he didn’t stop there as he responded to a question about whether he has had talks with the league over possible excessive fouling of Howard with a personal attack on the commissioner.
"This is the system David Stern and his minions like it," Van Gundy said. "So that’s the system you have…I certainly can’t have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot or leaders we’ve seen in this world lately, don’t really tolerate other people’s opinion or free speech or anything. So I’m not really allowed to have an opinion. So it’s up to him. He decides and he likes the system he has."
Those biting comments went unanswered for most of the week until yesterday, when they were brought up to Commissioner Stern during an interview segment on ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd. Stern expressed that the comments saddened him and that instead of interacting with Van Gundy directly, he is planning to go over his head and address Orlando management about their coach’s tendency to make excessive comments.
"I’m going to engage in a private discussions at this point with his franchise," Stern said. "I actually am not going to talk to Stan Van Gundy. I’m going to talk to the ownership of the team."
Stern went on to say that since Van Gundy made the attack personal, that he doesn’t plan on issuing any fines. The Commissioner’s then concluded that he doesn’t expect to hear any more comments out of Van Gundy.
"I would venture a guess that we’re not going to be hearing from him for the rest of the season," Stern said. "I think when he stops and reads what he said, realizes what he did, he will say no more. … I have a feeling some modicum of self-restraint will cause Stan, and the team for which he works, to rein in his aberrant behavior."
So is this the end of their little feud? I guess we’ll see but if I was Van Gundy, I’d make one more comment…just to goad the commish a bit.
All in good fun, of course.
Photo Courtesy of: AP Images