UPDATE on Friday, May 9 at 9 p.m. EST by Adam Fromal
Either Stan Van Gundy has always been a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors, he really likes bobbleheads or he's creatively angling for the job that opened up when the Dubs decided to fire Mark Jackson.
I mean, how many people own an Al Attles bobblehead? SVG does:
Stan Van Gundy such a big Warriors fan growing up that he has an Al Attles bobblehead, he told Mike Bianchi.— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 9, 2014
Attles played for the Warriors so long ago that the franchise was still located in San Francisco when he retired in 1971. He was a quality rotation member, but with no All-Star berths to his credit, he was never much of a standout.
And that's not the only Warriors bobblehead that Van Gundy wanted:
Stan Van Gundy while coaching vs. GSW in 2003 remembers missing out on a Nate Thurmond bobblehead because the dolls were late in arriving.— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 9, 2014
Perhaps the Golden State management will need to consider making SVG one of his own if he gets the job. He sure seems to be trying to land it.
--End of update--
Never say the Golden State Warriors didn't play the field.
After firing head coach Mark Jackson, the Warriors haven't shackled their search for a replacement to one candidate. The team has been linked to a variety of names, including former Orlando Magic and Miami Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy, according to Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears:
The Warriors have contacted former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy about their head coach opening, a source told Yahoo. No interview set yet.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 8, 2014
In addition to him, Spears lists a number of other prospects at whom Golden State is expected to look:
NBA source says Warriors are expected to consider as many as eight candidates. Lionel Hollins, Mike D'Antoni, George Karl & Steve Kerr among— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 8, 2014
Which coaching candidate would be the best fit for Golden State?
Lionel Hollins figures to be too much of a lateral shift. Like Jackson, he knows how to coach defense and gain the respect of his players. But, like Jackson, he has been known to butt heads with management. The Warriors would be trading one stubborn, hardheaded head coach for another.
George Karl projects as an interesting fit. He led a young Denver Nuggets team to 57 victories in 2012-13—securing Coach of the Year honors in the process—before he was unceremoniously shown the door. However, Karl made some choice words about Andre Iguodala being Jackson's "mole" when his Nuggets squared off against the Warriors in the 2013 postseason, and that won't soon be forgotten.
Mike D'Antoni is, well, Mike D'Antoni. There's no telling what would become of Golden State's offense with him working his magic on a team that comprises top-flight shooters like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. There's also no telling what would become of its fourth-ranked defense, as that area is most definitely a problem for D'Antoni.
According to a league source, Warriors owner Joe Lacob wants to hire Kerr to replace Mark Jackson, who was fired on Tuesday following three successful seasons as Golden State’s head coach. In fact, the Warriors wasted no time reaching out to Kerr, contacting him less than three hours after Jackson was dismissed. And a source maintains that the Warriors’ job is Kerr’s if he wants it.
The Warriors' interest in Van Gundy would suggest Kerr isn't about to accept the job anytime soon, be that because he's more attracted to coaching the New York Knicks or because he's simply taking his time.
Spears says that Van Gundy is showing mutual interest in the Warriors, which speaks to the appeal of Golden State's vacancy. While making an appearance on The David Baumann Show in May 2013, Van Gundy came off as a man actively avoiding offers. He cited his family among the reasons he remained "unemployed":
As you get down the road more and the longer you are out, the harder it is to get back in and that was certainly a difficult part of the decision process for me because it’s certainly something that I miss and don’t want to close the door on for the rest of my life, but, it is not right now anyway, in the best interest of my family, so it won’t be next year.
Notice how he left a return open for 2014-15 by specifically referencing 2013-14. That's encouraging if you're the Warriors.
At the same time, Van Gundy has given no definitive indication that he's pining for a return to the sidelines. When asked if he wanted to coach again on 740 AM’s Open Mike show, Van Gundy sounded almost indifferent, per the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins:
Part of me does, and part of me doesn’t. Look, we’re so happy in Central Florida. It would really have to be a great situation for me to get back in. I miss a lot of it. I really do. I miss the competition. I miss the challenge. I miss the camaraderie of it. But I also like the time that I’ve had, so we’ll just have to see what happens. You weigh every situation.
Piggybacking off that, Van Gundy confirmed there have been "calls to gauge interest," though no face-to-face meeting has been held.
Really, it comes down to him making the necessary compromises with his family. Does he uproot them for another position? Can they handle him working from a distance? Has their situation changed at all?
"There's no telling how SVG's family situation has changed, but he hasn't officially ruled out a return for 2014-15," Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal wrote just before Jackson was canned. "And if a job opens up in the Bay Area, that could be a nice landing spot for him."
A little-known Stan Van Gundy fact is he is a Bay Area native who starred at guard for Alhambra High School in Martinez.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 8, 2014
Indeed, the Warriors present a nice landing spot. Van Gundy coaches defense and has a reputation for effectively preparing his players.
If he's angling for a return to the sideline, he couldn't do much better than a playoff-ready team like Golden State. On the other side, the Warriors couldn't ask for a much better, more management-friendly successor to Jackson than him.