Mark Jackson appears to be on his way out of Golden State, since rumors have suggested he would be unlikely to return barring a long playoff run, and the Warriors find themselves out of the playoffs after the first round. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reiterates the team’s interest in Knicks target Steve Kerr, but the ESPN scribe believes Kerr is destined for New York, just as Fred Hoiberg, in whom the Warriors also hold interest, would be difficult to pry from Iowa State. That leaves the Warriors poised to make a run at former Heat and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, Stein writes.
Van Gundy is still interested in coaching, but he’s primarily focused on spending time with his family, whom he says he’s given veto power over his decision to return to an NBA bench. He’s been linked to the Lakers, Timberwolves and Pistons of late, but he reportedly doesn’t want any of those jobs. The Pistons reached out to him recently, but talks apparently didn’t progress too far because he wanted some degree of control over player personnel. That kind of sway would probably be tough to come by in Golden State, where GM Bob Myers, adviser Jerry West and co-owner Joe Lacob all have varying levels of input into the team’s roster construction.
The divide between Jackson and Warriors management goes beyond the removal of former assistant coaches Brian Scalabrine and Darren Erman, Stein writes. The Warriors prefer someone whose personality is a better fit with the front office than Jackson’s is, according to Stein, who suggests that the team might put a premium on experience as it looks for its next coach.
The outspoken Van Gundy’s dry sense of humor scores points with media and in broadcasting, but his honesty can spark firestorms, such as when he told reporters that Dwight Howard wanted him out as coach of the Magic. Anyone other than Jackson would be a tough sell to the players, who’ve shown nearly universal support for their embattled coach. Still, Van Gundy and Howard have reconciled, and Van Gundy has never compiled a losing record in parts of eight seasons as an NBA head coach, so there’s reason to believe he’d be successful in Golden State.