Thursday , Jun , 07 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Stan Van Gundy To Coach The Orlando Magic

The Magic wasted no time bringing in a new coach … Stan Van Gundy, who used to coach the Heat, was hired as sideline boss … Read the Magic’s statement and get your analysis here …

Billy Donovan is out. Stan Van Gundy is in as coach of the .

On Thursday, the Magic finally released Donovan from his contract and then brought in Van Gundy to coach the team.

Here’s what the Orlando Sentinel has reported:

Van Gundy was the Magic’s runner-up choice to Donovan before Donovan pulled out of his five-year $27.5 million deal with the Magic over the weekend. Terms of Van Gundy’s deal were not disclosed by the Magic.

"Stan enjoyed tremendous success during his tenure with the Heat," Magic General Manager Otis Smith said in a press release. "He has a great basketball mind, tremendous respect around the league and will get the most out of our players. Stan was sought-after by many teams this summer and we feel very proud to welcome him to the Magic family."

Van Gundy and his wife, Kim, had flown to California on Wednesday to visit with the Sacramento Kings, who also were wooing him, and look at the city while he considered an offer from the Kings.

Meanwhile, back in Orlando, the Magic were furiously trying to free Van Gundy from the last year of his contract as a consultant with the Heat.

It was not known what kind of compensation package the Magic paid to the Heat, but it was believed to be in the form of a draft pick or picks.

The Heat had not planned to ask the Kings for compensation if they had signed Van Gundy.

Heat Coach and President Pat Riley wanted the Magic to compensate the club because Van Gundy would be coaching the Magic in the same division as the Heat, the Southeast.

Van Gundy coached the Heat for a little more than two seasons, taking over for Riley, but was replaced by Riley in December 2005. Van Gundy said he quit coaching the Heat to spend more time with his family.

His contract with the Heat as a consultant was to expire in June.

Van Gundy becomes the ninth coach in Magic history and is expected to be introduced this afternoon.

My Quick Take: This is a great hire for the Magic. Van Gundy is respected for the work he did as coach of the . He also deserves respect for the way he handled Pat Riley’s double-cross two seasons ago.

So does Van Gundy have an axe to grind with the Heat? I think so. After all, Van Gundy led Miami to the Eastern Conference finals before getting Brutus-ed/stabbed in the back by Pat Riley.

Orlando is an up-and-coming team with loads of salary cap space. There are holes for sure. They need a point guard. And Dwight Howard must stay focused for an entire season.

But there’s an enormous upside, too. And by producing a winner, Van Gundy can shift the Florida spotlight from the Heat to the Magic.

For Van Gundy, revenge is best served cold. I’m sure, in the back of his mind, he’s aware of this.

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