Stan Van Gundy Fired: Ranking the Likely Landing Spots for the Veteran Coach

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IMay 21, 2012

Stan Van Gundy Fired: Ranking the Likely Landing Spots for the Veteran Coach

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    As expected, the Orlando Magic fired head coach Stan Van Gundy today, along with general manager Otis Smith.

    The firing put and end to what became a season of drama in Orlando involving Van Gundy and all-star center Dwight Howard.

    In firing Van Gundy, the Magic have parted ways with possibly their best coach in franchise history.

    Van Gundy posted a 259-135 regular season record in five seasons with Orlando, making the playoffs all five seasons, including three Southeast Division titles and a 2009 Eastern Conference championship.

    Since the 2007-08 season, Van Gundy posted the fourth highest winning percentage in the NBA (.657), behind only the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs.

    That means he can coach and will likely be doing so again soon.

    Here's a look at the likely landing spots for Van Gundy as the offseason nears.

7. New York Knicks

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    The Knicks would be the most attractive job potentially out there for Van Gundy; however, interim head coach Mike Woodson appears to be the front-runner and he has the support of Carmelo Anthony, which ultimately means a lot.

    However, with Phil Jackson's name tossed around almost daily, it wouldn't be a disservice for the franchise to do a coaching search.

    If that were the case, a proven winner such as Van Gundy would almost certainly get a look.

    If that were the case, the back pages in New York would have plenty of fresh material.

6. Charlotte Bobcats

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    After a season that concluded with 23 consecutive losses and the Bobcats finishing with the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106), Michael Jordan needs to hire a quality coach.

    While hiring an unproven head coach like Patrick Ewing is an option for Jordan, taking a look at Van Gundy should be a priority.

    He's a winner, and while the Bobcats have a long way to go, potentially having the No. 1 pick in June's draft could be a good selling point for the future.

5. Sacramento Kings

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    Back in March, the Kings picked up the option of head coach Keith Smart. But after a brutal 22-44 season in which the Kings were the worst defensive team in the NBA, allowing 104.4 points per game, they may want to take a look at other options.

    Sacramento has good young talent such as DeMarcus Cousins and rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas. They could use a proven head coach to bring everything together.

    However, he would be going from one immature center in Howard to another in Cousins, and it's doubtful that Van Gundy would dive into that situation.

4. Washington Wizards

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    The Wizards are going to need a head coach and Van Gundy should be an option, as Randy Wittman likely won't return.

    With point guard John Wall already in place and the opportunity to add a key piece to the future with a high draft pick, Van Gundy attempting to turn around the Wizards could be an option.

    I don't necessarily know about him wanting to enter a rebuilding project, but with a pair of young pieces in place already, Washington is a more attractive landing spot than most.

3. Broadcast Booth

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    His brother Jeff made the transition from the sidelines to possibly the best analyst on television. Something similar could be in store for Van Gundy as well.

    He's definitely not short on opinions and could make a fine color guy during NBA telecasts.

    Imagine doing play-by-play in between the Van Gundy brothers. It could be very tough to get a word in.

2. Portland Trail Blazers

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    The Blazers could be a very attractive option for Van Gundy with an all-star in LaMarcus Aldridge already in place.

    In addition, Portland has a pair of lottery picks which will help shape the franchise for the future.

    There's also the fact that the Blazers have a very friendly salary cap situation, with only $35 million on the books for next season. 

    Needing a head coach, Portland should be able to shape next season's roster to Van Gundy's liking.

1. Los Angeles Clippers

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    After getting swept in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs, head coach Vinny Del Negro could once again be on shaky ground.

    This would be the best job for Van Gundy, with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin already aboard.

    That is, unless Howard is traded to the Clippers, in which case this best case scenario for Van Gundy could turn into a nightmare. But Los Angeles is unlikely to be in the running for Howard, so he should be safe in that regard.

    If Van Gundy looks to coach next season, taking over a playoff team such as the Clippers could be the perfect situation for him.