Magic fire coach, agree to part with GM

By Kyle Hightower ,AP

ORLANDO, Florida — The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy on Monday and agreed to part ways with general manager Otis Smith.

Smith and Van Gundy’s relationship with Dwight Howard was the centerpiece of a soap opera that weighed down the franchise all season after the All-Star center requested a trade.

The Magic lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. Orlando went 37-29 in the regular season but was eliminated in five games by Indiana after a rash of late-season injuries that included back surgery for Howard. Orlando went 5-12 without him.

In early April, Van Gundy claimed top-ranking team officials had told him that Howard had asked management to fire Van Gundy as a condition of the center signing a long-term contract beyond 2013. Howard denied it.

Van Gundy coached the Magic for five seasons. He finished with a 259-135 record, going 31-28 in the playoffs.

Smith departs after six years. He was the architect of Magic teams that made it to the playoffs in each of those seasons, winning the Eastern Conference championship in 2009.