Mar 21, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) reacts to a call being reversed during the first quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Dwight Howard Thinks He Was Blackmailed

All Star center Dwight Howard feels that the was "blackmailed" by the Orlando Magic to sign his opt-in deal.

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Stan Van Gundy Fired, Otis Smith And Orlando Magic Part Ways

The Orlando Magic, head coach Stan Van Gundy, and general manager Otis Smith have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced on Monday.

"On behalf of the DeVos Family, we sincerely appreciate and thank Otis and Stan for all that they have done on and off the floor for the Orlando Magic," said Magic CEO Alex Martins in a statement. "These are the days you dread in this business, but we feel it's time for new leadership and new voices.

"They both brought die-hard dedication and an unmatched work ethic on a daily basis," added Martins. "Their success is well documented, as the Orlando Magic has had the fourth best record in the NBA over the last five years, and entering the playoffs this year the third most playoff wins over that period of time. The disappointment of getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs these past two seasons played a primary role in our decision, as we feel our momentum towards winning a championship has paused. We wish Otis and Stan all the best and we look forward to taking the next step towards winning that championship."

Van Gundy was hired in 2007 to be the Magic's head coach, compiling a 259-135 (.657) record in five seasons in Orlando. He led Orlando to five postseason berths and the 2009 Eastern Conference crown

Smith had served as the President of Basketball Operations since the 2010 season and became the Magic general manager in 2006.

For more on the Orlando Magic's 2012 offseason, visit SB Nation's Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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Dwight Howard Sets Record Straight About Feud With Stan Van Gundy

The May 28 issue of ESPN: The Magazine will feature an interview with Orlando Magic forward Dwight Howard, in which the superstar sounds off on the tumultuous 2011-2012 season he had.

In this preview of the interview, Howard also talked about the feud he had with Stan Van Gundy, primarily the confusing encounter during one of Van Gundy's press conferences.

"Howard walked in the room, hugged Stan Van Gundy and denied to the media that he ever told the Magic he wanted Stan Van Gundy fired. Awkward." Posted on thebiglead.com

HOWARD: "It was very awkward. But you live and you learn. I don't think I would ever do that again. I don't know where what Stan heard came from. We talked about it a couple of times. Then we talked about how we both felt, and it was one of the best talks we ever had. We've forgiven each other. We're ready to move on."

It is interesting to hear Howard say that he and Van Gundy are ready to move on considering the fact that the two could very well likely be in different cities next season. Magic fans will want to take a look at this article when it hits newsstands on May 28 for more from Howard.

For more on the Orlando Magic's 2012 offseason, visit SB Nation's Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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