Still out of the Game: Stan Van Gundy

Rob MahoneyNBA Lead WriterAugust 17, 2012

DENVER, CO - APRIL 22:  Head coach Stan Van Gundy leads the Orlando Magic against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on April 22, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Magic 101-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Some three months after being "relieved of [his] duties" by the Orlando Magic, Stan Van Gundy—one of the top strategists in the NBA—remains unemployed.

Jobs around the league have opened and closed with SVG not even pulling mention in reports for consideration, and though his name has surely been tossed around privately in association with one job or another, the very idea that 30 posts are filled with Van Gundy jobless is, on the surface, a bit perplexing.

Defensive engineers hardly come more qualified, and the former Magic head coach's offensive work—which perfectly walked the line between conventional and innovative—more than warrants a spot at the top of a team's bench.

If only it were so simple.

It's easy enough to make a theoretical case for why Van Gundy should be back at the helm for some team or another this season, but it's a bit harder to find that more exact fit between a critical, outspoken coach and an open-minded, stable franchise.

Van Gundy isn't a perfect match for every job opening that comes along, and one could hardly blame the man for biding his time after being twice burned; Orlando and Miami hardly did right by Van Gundy, and lest we forget, relocation so often comes at a price.

When asked about his coaching future on 790 The Ticket in Miami, Van Gundy's answer bore a reminder of the often marginalized downside of a volatile industry (via Sports Radio Interviews):

I think there is consideration. I certainly have that itch. No question. But there’s also considerations in this business if you are going to do that you are going to have to pick up your family and move them somewhere else in the country. Next year I’ll have three in high school. It’s a tough time to be moving everybody, so it may be awhile, but we will see.

When it comes to finding the right coaching job, there are financial negotiations, questions of stylistic fit, open issues of managerial compatibility, personnel considerations...and the minor task of upending a family for the sake of chasing a job that may not last more than a season or two.

NBA head coaches have what is in many ways a dream gig, but it's also one loaded with very public pressure and demanding in ways that most don't often consider.

That's especially true for a basketball lifer like Van Gundy, who is characterized by a voice worn from yelling and eyes weary from watching tape but faces a world of occupational complication on the home front.

Those kinds of considerations may, as Van Gundy hints, lead to a reprieve from coaching in the NBA for a bit—an unfortunate outcome given how unfairly the man was fired, and particularly so considering how well-suited he is to coach in the top basketball league on the planet.

Yet one shouldn't argue when it's life itself that gets in the way; Van Gundy has his head screwed on straight and his priorities squared away, and if that means basketball enthusiasts have to prepare for a season (or more, most likely) without Van Gundy's clipboard wizardry, brash charm and pro bono Diet Coke sponsorship, so be it.