NBA Rumors: 6 Teams That Should Convince Stan Van Gundy to Coach Them Next Year
With two coaching positions in Charlotte and Portland and possibly one in Milwaukee opening up in the future, it's time to begin contemplating where former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy will be headed next year.
He's unlikely to take the year off, despite Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reporting that remains his preference. There are plenty of teams that would want him on their sideline with millions upon millions of dollars to offer.
Van Gundy is 371-208 in a coaching career that started off in 2003 with the Miami Heat. He led that team to the 2005 Conference Finals before "resigning" 21 games into the next season after a slow start. He'd then move on to Orlando in 2007, where he would lead the team to five consecutive seasons of at least 52 wins. He'd win as many as 59 and would proceed to lead the Magic to their second-ever NBA Finals in 2009.
Stan was let go this season, after a tumultuous 37-29 campaign in which the Magic became more of a circus sideshow than an actual team. The talk of Dwight Howard's upcoming free agency completely derailed the 2011-'12 campaign for the Magic, as they'd eventually lose in five games to the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
It's worth noting, however, that the Magic had to play that series without Howard, who received back surgery a week before the playoffs started.
Van Gundy must be ecstatic to no longer be dealing with the Magic organization. While he certainly won't be going to any team that can call itself a legitimate contender, he will be taking over a team that's most likely in need of serious development. Van Gundy has worked well with young teams before—as evidenced by his coaching in his first year with the Heat—and can help average teams make the next leap, as shown with the Magic.
Any team that ends up hiring Van Gundy will be extremely fortunate. We look at six teams who could use the services of one of the most colorful personalities you'll find in sports today.
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Stan Van Gundy may not even have to leave his division to find a new coaching job.
One of three currently open coaching positions, the Charlotte Bobcats are in the process of searching for a new head coach. The 'Cats fired Paul Silas in late April after "leading" the team to a 7-59 record, which was horrific enough to become the NBA's statistically worst team ever. Silas was 32-88 in two seasons with Charlotte.
It's tough to put the blame on Silas for the Bobcats 2011-'12 campaign, though. He had little talent to work with and even chewed out Boris Diaw for not playing to his fullest potential before the team eventually waived the power forward. Outside of him, it was an offense centered around Corey Maggette...just to show you how badly conceived this team is.
Stan can run an efficient team with pieces that aren't too appealing. Remember, Van Gundy did lead an Orlando Magic team with Rafer Alston as its starting point guard all the way to the NBA Finals. He could easily make due with a Bobcats team that has the offensive and defensive pieces in place and concoct a way to win a few more than seven games next season.
He's a terrific coach for young players, which is evidenced by his gutsy move from 2004 when he allowed then-rookie Dwyane Wade to take over in the postseason while he was still head coach of the Miami Heat. He puts a lot of trust into his players and that's going to be huge for players like Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and whomever the Bobcats end up drafting in the coming weeks.
If Van Gundy goes to Charlotte, he'll already have coached three of the five teams in the Southeast Division.
Portland Trail Blazers
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The Portland Trail Blazers simply could not recover from the losses of Brandon Roy and Greg Oden.
Following a miracle run the year before when LaMarcus Aldridge stepped up in place of an injured Roy to lead the Blazers to the playoffs, Portland couldn't build off the momentum of that year and came back down to Earth with a crashing thud.
They were first met with the news of Roy retiring and then hearing of an Oden setback days later. Eventually, the Blazers would let go of Oden, which ended a depressing five-year period of very little basketball being played for the 2007 number one pick. Oden played in only 81 total games due to several knee surgeries throughout his career.
Portland finished the year 26-40 and eight games out of the final playoff spot in the west. However, this wasn't before the Blazers completely blew up their roster and went about firing coach Nate McMillan. He had been coach of the Blazers since 2005 and won one division title during his time there. However, in three playoff appearances, the Blazers failed to get past the first round.
With the Northwest Division set to be the toughest in all basketball next year, the Blazers are going to need a coach like Van Gundy to light a fire under what could be a completely new roster.
As stated before, Van Gundy does well with young teams, and should be able to light a fire under a few of these players who failed to perform to expectations. He'll also be looking forward to working with LaMarcus Aldridge and attempting to space the floor for him to work as he did with Dwight Howard in Orlando.
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After yet another disappointing season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Scott Skiles and his ugly-ball may end up getting fired and taking Stan Van Gundy's gig.
Word is that Skiles has coveted the Orlando Magic job.
Either way, that Bucks position could open up, which means it could be another potential landing spot for Van Gundy. Milwaukee is coming off a 31-35 season where they found themselves making a mad dash for the playoffs at the end of the season, before coming up short with a weak finish that included seven losses in ten games.
It's the second consecutive year the Bucks have missed out on the postseason. Unlike last year, where injuries to seemingly everyone on the roster were to blame, this past season just featured a hodgepodge of a team—one that included Drew Gooden playing at center and Stephen Jackson playing in 26 games before working his way out via trade.
Speaking of trades, the Bucks will be without their former number one pick Andrew Bogut. Milwaukee traded him to the Golden State Warriors for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown. Brown is a throwaway, but Udoh has potential to be a great defender and Ellis is arguably one of the league's top scorers.
Throwing him into a backcourt with Brandon Jennings may just turn the Bucks from one of the league's most excruciating to watch to one of its most exciting.
Van Gundy wouldn't just be allowed to work with these two high-energy guards, but also a developing talent in big man Ersan Ilyasova. Not much was made of the 6'10" Ilyasova's work last year when he averaged 13 points and nine boards per game in a mere 28 minutes worth of action per night. He also shot 46 percent from deep.
Ilyasova has an inside game as well as an outside one. It'll be interesting to see how he would develop with a coach like Van Gundy molding him.
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No, Lawrence Frank is getting fired nor have I heard any rumors of him even being rumored of getting let go.
This is all purely hypothetical. The only jobs Van Gundy has a legitimate chance of grasping at the moment are either in Charlotte, Portland and possibly Milwaukee if Scott Skiles is truly on the way out. Throwing in a name like the Detroit Pistons would be a suggestion that makes sense...if, of course, the organization was adamant about firing Frank.
Alas, it's not happening as far as I know; despite the Pistons finishing 25-41 and ten games out of the final spot in the playoffs.
But if it was, Van Gundy would be a great choice for the job. He would have a field day working with Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko, as well as young point guard Brandon Knight. Monroe especially would work greatly with Van Gundy, thanks to a solid offensive repertoire for a young center. The former Georgetown Hoya is equipped with solid footwork and a short jumper.
For years, Van Gundy attempted to integrate new moves in Dwight Howard's offensive repertoire, but could never help him find a consistent go-to move. Outside of a sweeping hook and utilizing his God-given ability, Howard is just as offensively talented as he was when he first entered the league. The attempts to implement a short jumper never seemed to pan out.
With Monroe, though, Van Gundy would get a center that has the repertoire to be a great offensive talent. Not only does he have the moves and the jumper, he also has the size, at 6'11" and 253 pounds. The NBA is yearning for a talent like Monroe to break through and a coach like Van Gundy, who has plenty of experience molding young centers, would be perfect for the job.
Still, it's not happening. The Pistons aren't ready to give up on Lawrence Frank...yet.
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While I don't think there will be any sort of coaching change in Miami, we'll just create this scenario for the argument's sake.
Whenever I'm watching the Miami Heat during a timeout, I feel like nobody is listening to what Erik Spoelstra is preaching. That's a scary thing. If a coach isn't getting his message across, that means he has 15 players doing whatever they please, which would explain a lot about the Heat in this year's postseason.
Spoelstra often sounds like a broken record with his talk of "staying the course" or any other catchphrase you'll find in a self-help motivational book. The guy is a replica of Pat Riley from a coaching standpoint, but he doesn't even come close to actually being able to rile up his players and getting them into the moment.
This is a basketball club that can be extremely weak in the mental department sometimes and they need a strong individual leading the way who can get them out of those moments.
Van Gundy may not be the answer to that, but he would be an interesting solution. He was Dwyane Wade's first NBA coach and became a favorite of Wade's after allowing him to take over in the 2004 playoffs. Van Gundy trusted Wade so much as a rookie that he allowed him to take the game winning shot in his first ever playoff game.
Wade, of course, made it. He's been riding that confidence since then.
However, let's also not forget that Van Gundy left this team for "family reasons". In other words, he was pushed out by Shaquille O'Neal after a slow start to the 2005-'06 season and the Heat organization attempted to find a way to get Stan out without causing too much of a stir.
It's what you expected to happen with the Heat at the beginning of last year, except Wade, James or Bosh decided to keep Spoelstra around.
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Tough times may soon be coming to the Brooklyn Nets again.
After finishing 12-70 two seasons ago and then bouncing back to secure a 22-44 record last year, the Nets may find themselves sans Deron Williams next year.
The Nets were banking on acquiring the number one pick in order to possibly trade the pick to Orlando for Dwight Howard, but settled for a disappointing sixth, which means they won't even get a lottery pick because of a trade they made with Portland last year.
When everything starts to go wrong, the coach is usually one of the first to go even if it isn't his fault. Avery Johnson certainly isn't responsible for the mess that took place in New Jersey; he's just unfortunate to be given some of the worst rosters in the league. Devin Harris fell off, Brook Lopez got hurt and the organization traded any essential piece they may end up needing later on, such as Derrick Favors.
Favors was sent to Utah in the trade that brought in Williams. Now the Nets might find themselves with neither player as a number of teams, including the Dallas Mavericks, will be looking to sign D-Will over the offseason. While the Nets have a lot of spending money, it'll still take a lot of convincing to keep Williams, who may feel a bit overwhelmed with this Nets team.
The Nets being good is actually something that can happen overnight if Dwight Howard ends up heading there. While you'll speak of the relationship between Van Gundy and Howard, it's just as possible that Howard ends up going somewhere else as is the Nets firing Avery Johnson and hiring Stan in his place. Basically, these two aren't going to end up in the same place.
However, if Van Gundy does actually end up in Brooklyn, he'll be pleased to work with a brilliant offensive big man in Brook Lopez and an All-Star point guard in Williams to actually run an efficient offense.