Van Gundy gets bearings with Magic
New Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy huddled Monday at his South Florida home with General Manager Otis Smith, formulating plans to hire a staff and move forward with revamping his roster through the upcoming draft, potential trades and next month's free-agency period. Van Gundy spent the weekend contacting many of the current players by phone, introducing himself while soliciting their ideas and input.
Van Gundy will begin interviewing the current assistant coaches this week in Orlando before deciding if any of them will join him for the coming season. All of the current assistants from former coach Brian Hill's staff have another year left on their contracts.
"I like what I heard from Coach [Van Gundy]," said Magic guard J.J. Redick, who was at the RDV Sportplex doing a promotion with NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Jeff Burton. "He told me he wanted offense. He wanted shooters on the floor. I told him all I want this season is an opportunity, a fair shake to earn playing time."
Redick and Burton played a promotional game of H-O-R-S-E, trying to drum up support for next month's race at the Daytona International Speedway. Burton finished 13th Sunday in the rain-shortened Pocono 500 in Pennsylvania.
Redick, whose rookie season was mostly wasted by a lack of playing time, is one of the few Magic players who has been working out daily at the RDV Sportplex. He will be part of their Rookie League team that will convene early next month.
"It has been a little awkward around here [with all the coaching upheaval] lately," Redick said. "I'm glad that's all over, and everyone can focus on improving. He [Van Gundy] seemed like he really wants to communicate with the players. He wants our input. That's kind of nice."