NBA Speculation: 5 Teams That Would Be Ideal Fit for Stan Van Gundy
Things haven't been going smoothly for Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic as of late. Van Gundy's relationship with his star center, Dwight Howard, is strained and he claims that he knows that Howard has asked management for him to be fired.
More likely than not, management will probably side with their superstar in order to try to keep him in Orlando. It'll be a surprise if Van Gundy is still coaching the Orlando sidelines come next season.
That said, he's an extremely competent head coach having taken the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals. But there's no doubt he's sick of alpha male divas. Expect Van Gundy to go to a team that doesn't have too many egos to deal with.
Here are a few ideal destinations.
The Utah Jazz are a young, athletic team, a few moves away from being a playoff team again. Ever since Jerry Sloan resigned from the team last year, the team has been in a strong rebuilding stage.
The process is moving quickly because of all the great pieces they acquired in the Deron Williams trade. This might be an enticing opportunity for Stan Van Gundy. There aren't any egos there now that Williams is gone.
Utah is a small market and the notion of just focusing on coaching basketball might be an offer that Van Gundy won't be able to refuse.
Also, his wealth of experience and success in the league will be a welcome addition for the Jazz, who are in need of strong mentorship and leadership.
If the Atlanta Hawks suffer another early exit in the playoffs, it could very well be the end for head coach Larry Drew.
The perks of coaching the Hawks outweigh the downsides for Van Gundy.
He'll be in a reclusive environment. Nobody ever talks about the Hawks, but they still find ways to win games and are in the playoff hunt every season. Having coached in the same division, Van Gundy is familiar with their roster and should have an easy time transitioning.
Finally, the team may be competitive, but they don't have any alpha males. Joe Johnson is the closest player to a star they have and he could at best be called a semi-star.
Assuming he doesn't return, Stan Van Gundy might look at Boston as a potential destination. The team might look different next year because of Kevin Garnett's and Ray Allen's expiring contracts, but they'll still have Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo and possibly use free agency as a tool to improve the team.
That being said, bringing in Van Gundy might not be the best choice for the Celtics management because it would mean that they probably won't be able to nab Dwight Howard.
Los Angeles Clippers
This seems like an awesome destination for Stan Van Gundy. It might even be the best one for management assuming they let go of Vinny Del Negro. The Los Angeles Clippers will be getting an experienced head coaching who has big-game experience and has dealt with stars that have larger egos than their own.
It's also a proper fit for Van Gundy.
For one, Van Gundy is an Indio, Calif. native, so he'll be returning home.
Secondly, the pressures of coaching the Los Angeles Clippers are nowhere near the drama that comes with coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. So although he's in a big market, he'll still be flying under the radar, which is what he probably wants after the Howard saga.
Finally, the Clippers have an excellent roster that will continue to improve as Chris Paul gets better acclimated to playing with his teammates. Most importantly, Paul and Blake Griffin may be stars in the league, but they're not headcases. They work well as a team.
And never forget that Chauncey Billups, a true team leader and a veteran, is still a Clipper and his presence should alleviate any tension that enters the locker room, if it were to come.
New York Knicks
Wait a minute.
New York is everything Stan Van Gundy is trying to avoid.
The only reason why Stan Van Gundy would take this job is because of his brother, Jeff, who coached the Knicks for many years in the 1990s. The familiarity factor and the general allurement of New York may drive SVG to the Big Apple.
It may drive him nuts coaching there, but he knows well enough that if he can make it there, he can make it anywhere.
And why wouldn't he be able to succeed? He's an overly competent head coach and he'll have a highly explosive team with guys like Carmelo, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.