Jeff Van Gundy

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Embiid, Sixers, Celtics

Despite a weekend report that the Knicks had reached out to Jeff Van Gundy‘s representatives, the latest word on Monday suggested that the former Knicks head coach isn’t a candidate for the club’s current opening on the bench. As Marc Berman of The New York Post explains, the contact between the two sides was “more along the lines” of Van Gundy’s side inquiring about the position.

As for the Knicks, they had internal discussions about the possibility of bringing back the current ESPN/ABC analyst, but Berman suggests that Van Gundy’s “old-school” approach and his time away from coaching – among other factors – may have worked against him.

While Van Gundy seemingly won’t get an interview for the Knicks’ coaching job, the team is meeting with one of its former coaches in Mike Woodson. According to Berman, that interview will take place on Wednesday, the same day that Mark Jackson‘s meeting with the club will reportedly happen.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In the wake of the Sixers‘ Game 2 loss to Miami on Monday, Joel Embiid wrote in an Instagram story that he’s “sick and tired of being babied.” As he explained to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Embiid is simply frustrated that health concerns have prevented him from being out there with his teammates so far in the postseason. “I wish more than anything that I was out there. I just want the green light to play,” Embiid said. According to Ian Begley in the same ESPN.com story, there’s internal optimism that Embiid will return during the first round, but it’s unclear if he’ll be ready for Game 3.
  • As the Sixers battle Miami in the first round of the postseason, rumors about Philadelphia’s top offseason target continue to swirl. Ken Berger of Bleacher Report recently spoke to several executives around the league who acknowledged they don’t know what LeBron James will do this summer, but believe he could give the 76ers a real look. Asked last week by ESPN’s Chris Haynes about the possibility of recruiting James, Ben Simmons admitted that “we wouldn’t mind having LeBron our team,” but said he hasn’t spoken to the four-time MVP about the possibility.
  • Al Horford and Terry Rozier were among the key contributors in the Celtics‘ Game 1 win over Milwaukee on Sunday. In separate pieces for NBC Sports Boston, A. Sherrod Blakely explores how the franchise is getting its money’s worth out of its investment in Horford, and examines how Rozier has become an integral part of the Celtics’ roster. Rozier will be extension-eligible for the first time this offseason.

Knicks Not Showing Interest In Jeff Van Gundy

Despite contact between the Knicks and Jeff Van Gundy‘s representatives, the franchise hasn’t shown any real interest in bringing back its former head coach, reports Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

According to Begley, Van Gundy would be open to discussing the Knicks’ head coaching vacancy if the team expresses interest in him as a candidate. However, league sources indicate to Begley that any conversations between the Knicks and Van Gundy’s reps didn’t result in the club expressing that interest or looking to line up an interview.

Van Gundy, who is currently employed as an NBA analyst for ESPN and ABC, coached the Knicks for several years in the late-1990s and early-2000s, leading the team to a 248-172 record (.590) over five full seasons and two more partial seasons. The club went 37-32 in the postseason during that stretch, reaching the NBA Finals in 1999.

While Van Gundy doesn’t appear to be at or near the top of the Knicks’ wish list, the team is considering another one of its former head coaches, having reportedly set up a meeting with Mike Woodson. However, Begley suggests that Woodson isn’t considered to be in the “top tier” of Knicks candidates — for now, that top tier includes David Fizdale, Mark Jackson, Jerry Stackhouse, and David Blatt, per ESPN.

Knicks Notes: Van Gundy, Fizdale, Woodson, World Peace

The Knicks contacted representatives for Jeff Van Gundy about their coaching vacancy on Saturday, but he is considered a long shot to land the job, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Van Gundy, who coached the team for more than five seasons before resigning in 2001, had a strained relationship with the organization for many years that now seems to have thawed.

“I always keep changing my answer to the same question,” he said this week in an interview with New York-based broadcaster Michael Kay. “Now that the job is available, I can say I just don’t talk about coaching searches. I don’t think it does anybody any good. It doesn’t do me any good, the teams any good. I want what’s best for them. Whatever they decide, I hope it works for them.”

Van Gundy is now a broadcaster for ABC/ESPN, along with fellow Knicks coaching candidate Mark Jackson. Berman states that the Knicks seem to prefer Jackson to Van Gundy, and JVG endorsed his broadcast partner for the job on Friday.

There’s more news on the Knicks’ coaching front:

  • Former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale could become the top candidate once he interviews with the Knicks this week, Berman adds in the same story. Fizdale, who coached Memphis to a playoff berth last season, told reporters Friday that he has interviews for the openings in New York and Phoenix. The Knicks like Fizdale’s ability to connect with younger players, Berman notes.
  • Mike Woodson hasn’t been mentioned among the Knicks’ coaching candidates, but he would like to be considered, Berman relays in a separate piece. Woodson has spent the past four years as an assistant with the Clippers, but was the head coach in New York for two and a half years prior to taking that job. “I don’t want to hide the fact I’d love to be back,” Woodson said. “I’d like to finish what I started. At the end of the day, you want to come to New York, based on my body of work there. I want it to be mutual. I want them to want me. I hope they call me.”
  • If you’re looking for a long-shot candidate to be the Knicks’ next coach, Metta World Peace threw his hat into the ring Saturday, tweeting, “I would love to be head coach for the @nyknicks.” World Peace played for New York during the 2013/14 season and served as a player development coach for the G League’s South Bay Lakers this year.

Knicks Reach Out To Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson

The Knicks have contacted the agents for Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson in their search for a head coach to replace Jeff Hornacek, according to Frank Isola of The New York Daily News.

The partners on ABC/ESPN broadcasts are part of a growing list of candidates that includes David Fizdale, who confirmed that he will interview with the team next week, and Jerry Stackhouse, who could have an interview date in place by Monday. Isola couldn’t confirm whether the Knicks have spoken to Villanova coach Jay Wright, who was in Italy today for an audience with the Pope.

The Knicks contacted Fizdale more than two weeks ago, Isola adds, and some league officials consider him the early favorite to land the job. He led the Grizzlies to the playoffs last season before being fired after 19 games this year in the wake of frequent clashes with Marc Gasol.

Van Gundy is the only one of the current candidates who has a coaching history in New York. He guided the Knicks for five full seasons and parts of two others, including a trip to the 1999 NBA Finals. He hasn’t coached at the NBA level for more than a decade after being fired by the Rockets in 2007, but has worked with USA Basketball and won a gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup.

Jackson is also popular in New York, where he played for seven seasons. He coached the Warriors to back-to-back playoff appearances before being let go in 2014. Knicks president Steve Mills recently talked to Warriors GM Bob Myers about coaching attributes, Isola adds, and Jackson’s name probably came up.

Knicks Plan To Reach Out To Jay Wright

As part of their search for a new head coach, the Knicks intend to reach out to Villanova’s Jay Wright, a source close to the team tell Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. According to that source, members of the Knicks’ management group view Wright as an ideal candidate to lead the club’s rebuild. However, it will be difficult to pry him away from a great situation in Villanova, where he has won two national championships in the last three years.

“He told me years ago that he wanted to make Villanova into the Duke of the Northeast,” a person close to Wright told Isola. “It would take a lot for him to leave.”

Wright himself told Dana O’Neil of The Athletic just this week that he’s intrigued by the NBA, but can’t himself leaving Villanova, so any team interested in hiring him would likely need to make him its top target and blow him away with an offer.

Reports in the wake of Jeff Hornacek‘s dismissal late last night indicated that the Knicks also plan to contact Jerry Stackhouse, Mark Jackson, David Blatt, and David Fizdale about their newly-created job opening.

Here’s a little more on the Knicks’ coaching situation:

  • There’s no shortage of ideas from media members for the next Knicks head coach — Ian Begley of ESPN, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, Marc Berman of The New York Post, and Al Iannazzone of Newsday all share lists of potential targets for the club.
  • According to Begley (Twitter link), multiple current Knicks players would be in favor of the team hiring Jeff Van Gundy. Begley adds that one coach with ties to Van Gundy believes the ABC analyst would have interest in the job if approached by the team.
  • As Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News details, Knicks forward Michael Beasley felt that constant speculation about Hornacek’s job security put the head coach in a bad spot. “You get into a position where you’€™re doing things not to mess up,” Beasley said. “You’€™re thinking not to mess up, but at the end of the day you’€™re still thinking messing up. It’€™s tough but he played the hand he was dealt.”

Latest On Jeff Hornacek

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek appears likely to find out within the next few days whether or not he’ll be retained for the 2018/19 season. According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Hornacek expects to have a sit-down with president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry on Friday to discuss his future.

As Berman writes, Hornacek sat in on players’ exit interviews with Mills and Phil Jackson a year ago, but remains uncertain whether he’ll do the same again this year with Mills and Perry, which sounds like a red flag. The Knicks’ brass has been mum on the subject, but until he hears otherwise, Hornacek anticipates being a part of those meetings on Thursday and Friday.

“I plan on it,” Hornacek said. “No one told me no.”

The possibility of Hornacek’s dismissal at season’s end has long been rumored, but speaking today to reporters, including Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, the head coach sounded like a man making a case to keep his job.

“Obviously we started it and we’d like to continue it,” Hornacek said of his staff. “It’s very satisfying for coaches to take a team and build it and grow it. You can look around the league at some of the teams that are now some of the better teams in the league. They went through those same type of things. … Now all of a sudden have their teams four or five years later and maybe even home-court advantage for the playoffs. So sometimes people are wanting things to happen right away. But sometimes there’s patience. That’s what we’re looking for.

“You can’t expect a rebuilding situation and go out there and win 50 games,” Hornacek added. “That’s why they call it rebuilding.”

Already tasked with presiding over a rebuild, Hornacek hasn’t been given much to work with over the last two years, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. Having been saddled with Jackson’s triangle offense in his first year with the club, Hornacek has seen the front office overhauled during his time in New York and neither regime has made a series of inspiring roster moves. The club has also been plagued by major injury woes, including Kristaps Porzingis‘ season-ending ACL tear.

Nonetheless, the writing seems to be on the wall for a coaching change. Although Hornacek spoke today about wanting to finish out the final year of his contract in 2018/19, expiring deals are rare for head coaches — with one year left, a coach can usually expect to sign an extension or receive his walking papers.

If the Knicks do part ways with Hornacek, expect Mark Jackson, Doc Rivers, David Fizdale, David Blatt, Jerry Stackhouse, and Jeff Van Gundy to be among the candidates on the club’s list of targets, according to Isola, who identifies current VP of player development Craig Robinson as a “long-shot candidate.” Robinson is a former college coach, Isola notes.

Knicks Notes: Van Gundy, Hernangomez, Thomas, Burke

Jeff Van Gundy has been mentioned as a possible candidate if the Knicks make a coaching change, but his brother wonders how serious their interest is, relays Al Iannazzone of Newsday.

After his Pistons defeated New York Saturday, head coach Stan Van Gundy noted that the organization has only recently begun to acknowledge Jeff on the jumbotron when he comes to town to broadcast its games. He coached the Knicks for nearly seven seasons and took them to the NBA Finals in 1999. Stan compares Jeff’s situation to Patrick Ewing‘s.

“I used to walk in here and Patrick would be sitting next to me on the bench [as an assistant in Orlando] and they would put him up on the jumbotron and everyone would clap and then he could never get an interview for any freakin’ job they had,” Stan said. “That’s sort of fake appreciation in my opinion. I don’t know what it is in Jeff’s case. If it’s genuine appreciation then that’s great. If it’s just a way for them to appease their fans, a little bit different.”

There’s more today out of New York:

  • The Knicks will regret trading young center Willy Hernangomez for a pair of second-round picks, Iannazzone writes in a separate story. Hernangomez got a measure of revenge this week with 12 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes against his former team. “He’s been so much better,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “What I’ve talked to him about is the team part. Everybody views player development as the shot, the post move, the one-on-one ‘iso’ play. None of that matters if the team can’t function when you’re out there.”
  • Another 50-loss season is taking its toll on Lance Thomas, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thomas, who was acquired in a January 2015 trade, has been with the Knicks longer than anyone on the current roster. He’s also a native New Yorker who grew up in Brooklyn. “I hate losing,’’ he said after Saturday’s game. “Anyone who has God-given ability to make it to this level hates losing. Myself being the long-tenured Knick here, I’ve been part of some losing teams and it doesn’t sit well with me. I want to find a way to turn it around. I lose sleep when we lose.”
  • Trey Burke‘s connections with Knicks GM Scott Perry helped him earn another shot at the NBA, writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Perry is a Detroit native and former assistant coach at the University of Michigan, where Burke played two seasons. They bonded over their Michigan connections while Burke was preparing for the 2013 draft and Perry was an executive in Orlando, so Burke reached out to him earlier this season when he was looking for a G League contract. “I knew that he would give me a fair shot, fair opportunity to reinvent myself,” Burke said, “to come in and go through a process where I would have an opportunity to play consistent minutes at the highest level.”

Stein’s Latest: Pistons, Knicks, Bucks, Magic, Suns

Earlier today, Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that the Pistons have expressed interest in Chauncey Billups for a potential front office role, with an eye on possibly pairing him with Arn Tellem in their basketball operations department. The report quickly drew responses from multiple sides — Billups stated that he would “never push for a job with any NBA franchise that is not open,” while a Pistons ownership spokesman simply called the report “false.”

Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter link) also hears from a source that there’s “nothing whatsoever” to the idea of a Billups/Tellem team-up in the Pistons’ front office, but Stein doubled down on the report in his latest newsletter for The New York Times, citing league sources who say that Detroit has “great interest” in hiring Billups. According to Stein, the Pistons believe they have a real shot to convince Billups to leave his TV job for an executive role.

Stein’s newsletter includes a few more tidbits on coaching and front office situations around the NBA. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • There’s a growing belief that Knicks GM Scott Perry will want to hire his own hand-picked head coach at season’s end, says Stein. According to Stein, if the club replaces Jeff Hornacek and makes a high-profile hire, Mark Jackson and David Blatt would be among the candidates to watch.
  • With a move to a new arena around the corner, the Bucks may want to make a big splash with their next head coaching hire. League sources tell Stein that Jeff Van Gundy and Kevin McHale are among the names on the Bucks’ list of potential candidates, while Monty Williams and David Fizdale have also been mentioned. Rick Pitino could even get an “exploratory look,” says Stein.
  • There’s a “widely held assumption” in coaching circles that the Magic will replace Frank Vogel, according to Stein, who identifies Nick Nurse, Rex Kalamian, and Jerry Stackhouse as possible targets for Orlando. All three of those coaches are in the Raptors organization, which is where Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman previously worked.
  • While Jay Triano will receive an interview as part of the Suns‘ head coaching search, Stein is hearing buzz that Triano is more likely to be asked to stay on as an assistant. Phoenix wants to explore the college ranks, and Villanova’s Jay Wright is one name that figures to come up during that search, per Stein.

Latest On Kidd, Bucks’ Coaching Job

Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale is considered the early favorite to get the Bucks job after this season but there are some other viable candidates, according to Hoops Hype’s Bryan Kalbrosky.

Milwaukee fired Jason Kidd on Monday and replaced him on an interim basis with lead assistant Joe Prunty. Fizdale was fired in late November, in part because of a strained relationship with the team’s star, Marc Gasol.

Former Pelicans coach Monty Williams, Raptors G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse, Hawks assistant Darvin Ham, Thunder assistant Adrian Griffin, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell and Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka are some of the other candidates that Milwaukee may consider, Kalbrosky adds.

Here are some nuggets regarding Kidd and the Bucks job:

  • Bucks franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo offered to help Kidd save his job, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweets. Kidd and the All-Star starter spoke 15 minutes before Kidd was officially notified he’d been fired, Shelburne adds.
  • Milwaukee’s front office had been mulling over a coaching change for at least two weeks, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports.
  • Williams, who has been working in the Spurs’ front office, has been patiently waiting for another opportunity and is a name to remember, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.
  • Kidd leaves with no regrets and added “we took an organization that was in a bad place and shined a light on it,” according to another Shelburne tweet.
  • Tensions between Kidd and the front office had been building for months, according to the Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps. There was friction between Kidd and forward Jabari Parker, Bontemps continues. Kidd also rubbed management the wrong way by lobbying for roster changes and harping on the lack on experience among the front office staff, Bontemps adds.
  • Jeff Van Gundy and Rick Pitino are two other candidates the Bucks might consider, Forbes’ Mitch Lawrence reports. However, the organization does not have a stellar reputation and potential replacements for Kidd will likely want to know who’s calling the shots on personnel, Lawrence adds.

Coaching Shakeup May Be On The Way

Coming off a rare season in which no coaches were fired, the NBA may be preparing for a shakeup that will affect a third of the league, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News.

Isola suggests as many as 10 teams could be looking at coaching changes at the end of the season, if not sooner. The actual number will depend on how things play out, but several more names may join David Fizdale of Memphis and Earl Watson of Phoenix as coaching casualties for 2017/18.

Both Los Angeles teams could be open to changes, with the Lakers far out of the playoff race at 16-29. The front office was slow to defend Luke Walton after recent derogatory comments by LaVar Ball, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently suggested that hiring former Fizdale, a former assistant with the Heat, would give the organization a better shot at LeBron James. However, Walton still has an important ally in majority owner Jeanie Buss.

Across town, Doc Rivers is doing a remarkable job with a depleted roster, but he may not remain with the Clippers if they decide to rebuild by following through with rumored trades involving DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams. Rivers, who has one more year left on the extension he signed in 2014, was removed from his front office duties before the start of the season. Isola says Rivers may return to television if he leaves the Clippers, though he would become a candidate for possible openings in New York and Orlando.

There will be no shortage of prominent candidates if the Knicks decide to move on from Jeff Hornacek. Isola identifies ABC/ESPN analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy as potential replacements, along with former Pelicans coach and Knicks player Monty Williams, reigning G League Coach of the Year Jerry Stackhouse and Villanova coach Jay Wright, although there is speculation that Wright would only leave the college ranks to take the Sixers’ job.