Coach important? Depends who you ask

ORLANDO, Fla. -- How important is having a head coach in place when it comes to recruiting some of the top free agents this summer? It depends on who you ask.

"I don't think very much at all to be honest," Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said recently. "I don't there's very many guys out there making their decision based on the coach."

The Chicago Bulls are one of many teams searching for a head coach, and there is speculation that the wait could drag out even longer now that landing LeBron James has become a stronger possibility for some teams.

Magic forward Vince Carter doesn't seem to think having a coach in place is a big deal at all.

"I've been on teams where we didn't have a coach, and we were still bringing guys in," Carter said. "So management has to do their job, and management's very capable as well. We were able to bring in guys in Toronto when we didn't have a coach. We didn't even have a GM."

Carter's teammate, Rashard Lewis, disagreed with the notion that a coach wasn't critical in terms of a free agent making up their mind on where to play.

"A head coach is most definitely important," Lewis said. "You don't want to go to a team without knowing what type of coach you're going to have. I think coaching goes a long way. You can have a talented team, but you got to have a coach to put that talent in the right places."

No matter whom the Bulls or any other team decides to hire over the next few weeks, Magic center Dwight Howard might have summed everything up the best.

"You want to play basketball," he said. "It shouldn't matter who's the coach. If you want to play, just play."