With Steve Kerr recently landing the Golden State Warriors' head coach position, it's only natural that attention turns to others in the broadcasting business. Chief among the possibilities is former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy, currently an analyst for ESPN.
Jeff's brother Stan was recently hired as head coach and president of basketball operations by the Detroit Pistons. He discussed the chances that Jeff returns to the sidelines on The Dan Patrick Show, according to Black Sports Online's Glenn Erby:
Dan asked Van Gundy if his brother Jeff was going to coach. Stan said that he’s waiting for a great situation and those are hard to find in the NBA. "I think he’s in the exact same situation I was," Van Gundy said. "I think there are a lot of bad jobs in the NBA right now where there’s a disconnect between the owners and the coaches.
On Thursday, JVG appeared on ESPN Radio's The Herd with Colin Cowherd (via ESPN New York's Ian Begley) and said, "I never said I wouldn’t consider [the Knicks]."
Van Gundy further explained that he attempted "to stay away from...talking about things in public," including "interest in jobs or other jobs."
Much as Kerr declined to discuss rumors surrounding him and the Warriors (and Knicks), Van Gundy is remaining tight-lipped for the most part. He merely suggested to Cowherd that he was at least theoretically open to the possibility of again coaching in New York.
As Begley notes, "Van Gundy coached the Knicks from 1995-96 to 2001-02 and had the third-most wins in franchise history before walking away from the job in December 2001. In a radio interview last June, Van Gundy expressed regret over leaving the Knicks in the manner that he did."
There are of course other coaching vacancies around the league at the moment. The Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz are all currently looking for head coaches. It's hard to say whether or not any of those opportunities would intrigue Van Gundy.
On the one hand, coaching the Lakers is a seemingly premier gig, but it's hard to say in which direction the Lakers are headed at the moment. The organization will have considerable financial flexibility during the next two offseasons, but it's currently headlined by two aging stars in Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
The other jobs seem less attractive. The Timberwolves are at risk of soon losing franchise face Kevin Love, while the Jazz and Cavaliers are both in varying stages of rebuilding.
As for the Knicks, it wouldn't be entirely surprising to see Van Gundy make a return. With Phil Jackson now running the show, there's at least some guarantee the franchise will soon start heading in the right direction. It might be rough sailing in the short term, but few doubt Jackson's resolve and ability to improve the team over the course of the next two to three seasons.
If Van Gundy's willing to be patient, he could find himself working with a successful operation once again.
Otherwise, he seems to be doing just fine on TV.
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