Jeff Van Gundy

Hiatus Notes: Marbury, Gallinari, Van Gundy, Season

Former Knicks guard Stephon Marbury is working to set up a deal to bring 10 million N95 masks to New York amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Rich Calder of the New York Post writes.

Marbury has arrangements with a company in China that’s willing to supply New York with the masks for $2.75 each, Calder notes, roughly five dollars below what many retailers have been quoting around the state.

“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury said. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York. I have family there in Coney Island, a lot of family … who are affected by this, so I know how important it is for people to have masks during this time.”

Marbury played 14 NBA seasons before playing in the Chinese Basketball Association. With hopes of facilitating his idea, he reached out to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who has struggled to get in contact with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Despite the situation being murky, Marbury’s intentions are clear.

“We’ve been communicating back and forth with the city and state, and for some reason they are saying they don’t need any more masks, but the hospitals are saying they do,” Adams said.

Here are some other notes related to the NBA’s hiatus:

  • Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari has funded 400 COVID-19 testing kits, according to ESPN’s Royce Young. Gallinari partnered with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department to fund the kits and other equipment such as face shields, gloves, gowns and N95 masks. “There is a need, and so people in my position, if we can help, if I can help, it’s something that I feel that I want to do and I need to do,” Gallinari said.
  • Jeff Van Gundy does not expect the NBA season to resume, as relayed by the Boston Globe. “We’re all underestimating the fear,” Van Gundy said. The NBA is still determining how to proceed amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 30,000 lives globally as of Sunday night.
  • Kevin Paul Depont of the Boston Globe examines why the NBA and NHL should consider canceling their seasons and shifting their respective focuses to September. Both leagues formally postponed their seasons just over two weeks ago due to COVID-19.

Atlantic Notes: Van Gundy, Sixers, Smart, Barrett

Stan Van Gundy calls the Knicks organization “extremely dysfunctional” and has no interest in becoming their head coach, The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov tweets. However, he hinted that former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy might have some interest in a second stint. Speaking on ESPN radio, the former Miami, Orlando and Detroit head coach said, “I’m not really interested in the New York Knicks, no. If anyone would be interested in that — and I’m not sure he is either — it would be my brother.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The extended layoff will definitely help the Sixers, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Ben Simmons will have ample time to heal the lower back injury that sidelined him shortly after the All-Star break. Coach Brett Brown will have more time to solve the spacing issues created by playing Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Al Horford together. It also allows Josh Richardson time to rest his hamstring injuries and be further removed from the concussion he suffered, Pompey adds.
  • All of the other Celtics players and staff have tested negative for COVID-19, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. Guard Marcus Smart is one of 14 NBA players/personnel who have tested positive. Smart revealed his test result on Thursday.
  • Despite mediocre efficiency ratings, Knicks guard RJ Barrett flashed All-Star potential in his rookie season, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Barrett, who has posted averages of 14.3 PPG and 5.2 RPG, has a knack for getting to the basket, a consistently high motor and a strong work ethic. NBA talent evaluators are confident Barrett can significantly improve his perimeter and free throw shooting.

Knicks Notes: Coronavirus Threat, Dolan, Van Gundy

The positive test by Detroit’s Christian Wood adds to fears that the Knicks may have been exposed to coronavirus, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York hosted the Pistons last Sunday, with Wood playing 33 minutes. That came the night after Detroit faced the Jazz, who have both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell with confirmed cases of the virus.

The Knicks also had a game against Utah on March 4, but a source tells Berman there’s only a 1% chance that Gobert and Mitchell were infected at that point.

The NBA advised the Knicks’ traveling party to self-quarantine Thursday night when they returned from their game in Atlanta. No one was exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, but nobody had been tested as of Friday morning, Berman adds. However, that could change in light of the news about Wood.

There’s more Knicks news to pass along:

  • The BIG3 has taken a swipe at owner James Dolan in an ad promoting its upcoming stop in New York, Berman relays in a separate story. It features a picture of Spike Lee, who was involved in recent dispute with Dolan, and states, “Players are not property. The fans are our guests.” BIG3 organizers and Madison Square Garden officials both declined to comment on the ad.
  • Former Knick Charles Oakley tells Berman in another piece that he doesn’t believe an old-school coach like Jeff Van Gundy can succeed in today’s game. Van Gundy has frequently been mentioned as a candidate in the organization’s upcoming coaching search. “Basketball has changed. You’re not getting the 1990s back,” Oakley said. “The game has a totally different atmosphere. You got to build a team with leadership and players willing to sacrifice. These kids don’t care about basketball. All they care about is getting the check, playing video games and the social media.”
  • Steve Popper of Newsday looks back at a chaotic partial season that included a coaching change and a new president of basketball operations, but provided little information about the Knicks’ direction for the future. Of the seven free agents who came to New York last summer, Marcus Morris made the biggest difference and he has already been traded. Among the young players, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina both saw reduced minutes, while Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier were often out of the rotation.

The Latest On Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson‘s surprising departure as coach of the Nets on Saturday may have been instigated by his players, but it was a mutual decision, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Sources tell Lewis that Kyrie Irving bears much of the responsibility for the move, but Atkinson has understood for months that a change might be necessary.

“Kenny and I had these pretty frank conversations. And it wasn’t last night, 24 hours; there wasn’t one game,” general manager Sean Marks said. “This was a culmination of events over the course of the year. Kenny’s brutally honest, and the humility he showed to admit ‘My voice is not what it once was here. It’s time.’ This is a compromise that Kenny and I and ownership came up with; it was time. Kenny grinded and did everything he could, but it was time for another voice in that locker room, and it’s our job to find it.”

Marks and owner Joe Tsai gave Atkinson credit for helping to turn around a franchise that was among the league’s worst when he took over in 2016. He has the Nets on track for their second straight playoff appearance, but what the organization wants in a coach apparently shifted after last summer’s free agency bonanza that brought in Irving and Kevin Durant. Neither of them offered comment on Atkinson’s departure, but the players who did insist that they weren’t involved in the decision.

“I absolutely [had] no ‘Fire Kenny’ conversations with Sean, so I don’t know, not a part of that,” Spencer Dinwiddie said. “It’s not like I called Joe on the phone and was like, ‘Hey you making any moves?’ I like to think we’re cool, but not that cool.”

Lewis adds that one of the first actions from interim coach Jacque Vaughn was to talk to Irving and other players about what changes they would like to see.

“It’s a service business. I’m serving these guys. I’m just a vessel,” Vaughn said. “It’s today’s game and being able to adjust to that, getting the most out of talent on your roster, but also listening and hearing the voices of the No. 1, 2, 3, 4 guys on your roster. It’s crucial, and having that relationship is a must in today’s game.”

There’s more fallout from this season’s most surprising coaching change:

  • Irving would like to see the Nets hire Tyronn Lue, his former head coach in Cleveland, reports Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Currently an assistant with the Clippers, Lue took the Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals, including two with Irving as his point guard. Irving didn’t like Atkinson’s “rigid” coaching methods and clashed with him almost immediately, sources tell Goodwill. Multiple sources also say Atkinson didn’t mesh with his two new stars and wasn’t looking forward to coaching them next season when both will presumably be healthy. “Oh, it was definitely mutual,” a league source said.
  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic talked to sources around the league and compiled a list of candidates to potentially become the Nets’ next head coach. Vaughn’s name is on the list along with some familiar candidates such as Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson and former Nets star Jason Kidd. A few possibilities without head coaching experience are Darvin Ham, Ime Udoka, Brian Keefe and Adam Harrington.
  • Atkinson may be the perfect choice to take over the cross-town Knicks, suggests Greg Joyce of The New York Post. New York is trying to rebuild with a collection of unproven young talent, much like Brooklyn was when Atkinson was hired there, and he is represented by Creative Artists Agency, which was run by new Knicks president Leon Rose“It seems like he’s very well respected within players, within the league — players he coached and players he didn’t coach,” said Knicks forward Julius Randle. “I know I respected him.”

Knicks Notes: Rose, Front Office, Anthony, Robinson

Leon Rose will be faced with plenty of important decisions as he takes over as president of basketball operations for the Knicks, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. The first priority will be to sort out the front office. Many of the executives and scouts brought in by general manager Scott Perry and former team president Steve Mills are expected to be replaced, Popper states. Even though Rose has relationships with several of them through his time as an agent, a source tells Popper that a “house-cleaning” could be on the way.

Perry’s future is also in doubt, even though he has been running the team since Mills was fired four weeks ago. Popper notes that Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas has been mentioned as a possible target for the new front office, with the Raptors‘ Bobby Webster and the ClippersMike Winger also among the potential executives of interest. Members of Rose’s CAA agency might be brought in to help with scouting ahead of the draft.

In the coaching search, Popper expects Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy to be among the biggest names under consideration. Interim coach Mike Miller may be offered a chance to remain with the team as an assistant. The Knicks could also be active on the trade market with six free agents who signed last summer holding small guarantees for 2020/21.

There’s more from New York:

  • A report on Wednesday indicated that today would officially be Rose’s first day on the job in New York, but Frank Isola of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that will actually happen on Monday. Isola contends (via Twitter) that Rose will have to get the front office under control, since the “jockeying, maneuvering and backstabbing is at an all-time high.”
  • The hiring of Rose provides a perfect opportunity to bring Carmelo Anthony back to the organization, contends George Willis of The New York Post. Anthony remains popular in New York and could provide a valuable veteran presence for the team’s young core, Willis states. Rose served as Carmelo’s agent at CAA.
  • Although Mitchell Robinson is putting up the best numbers of his career, the Knicks have no plans to move him into the starting lineup, relays Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Robinson is averaging 14.0 PPG and shooting 81% over his last seven games. Still, Miller wants to keep him in a reserve role behind Taj GibsonTaj has gotten us off to great starts,” Miller said. “Sometimes it’s a matchup… But for the most part it’s because Mitchell is so effective in the role that he’s playing. We just haven’t been put in a situation where we think it’s time to change it.”
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic examines the Knicks’ unusual philosophy on player development and questions whether it’s wise to continue, considering the results.

Knicks Notes: Miller, JVG, DSJ, Front Office

Although Mike Miller‘s hold on the Knicks‘ head coaching job beyond this season looks tenuous, multiple people within the organization support the idea of keeping Miller around in some capacity even if the team hires a new head coach, says Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Begley and Marc Berman of The New York Post both point out that Miller is on good terms with Jeff Van Gundy, who is expected to receive consideration for the head coaching job from new president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Berman, who suggests Miller could stay on as an assistant coach if Van Gundy were to be hired, notes that JVG expressed support for the current interim coach during an appearance on NBA SiriusXM Radio.

“Mike Miller, to me, deserves every opportunity to finish this season out and win the job,” Van Gundy said. “And I think anybody plotting as a coach to try to undermine that opportunity is doing it wrong.”

Talk of Miller’s job security was reignited this week when brand consultant Steve Stoute suggested during an ESPN appearance that the Knicks will be looking to replace Miller this spring. The team and Stoute himself released statements hours later disavowing those comments. Interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry was among those “particularly bent out of shape” by Stoute’s comments on ESPN, a source tells Berman.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that Marcus Morris lobbied earlier this season for Dennis Smith Jr. – with whom he shares an agent – to receive more playing time. Smith, who lost an advocate when the Knicks traded Morris last week, has appeared in the team’s last eight contests, but logged fewer than eight minutes in each of the last two games.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday suggests (via Twitter) that Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas may be a name to watch as the Knicks seek an experienced basketball executive to work with Leon Rose in their new-look front office. However, Popper cautions (via Twitter) that Karnisovas signed an extension with Denver last year.
  • Before the Knicks decided on Rose for their president of basketball operations opening, there was speculation that Kevin Durant‘s manager Rich Kleiman could be a candidate for the job. That wasn’t the case, according to Kleiman, who tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv that he never heard from the club.
  • Tom Thibodeau has been cited as a potential head coaching candidate for the Knicks, and while Taj Gibson isn’t openly campaigning for his former coach, he believes Thibodeau can have success in today’s NBA. “He’s been misunderstood,” Gibson said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “A lot of players have different mindsets. His mindset is winning. To win games you got to go through a lot of hard work. Sometimes young players don’t understand it.”

JVG, Thibodeau Being Considered For 2020 Knicks

Despite interim Knicks head coach Mike Miller leading New York to a solid 13-19 record during his brief tenure with the team, incoming president of basketball operations Leon Rose will reportedly consider some starrier names for his bench during the 2020 offseason.

Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy are among the coaches expected to be on the short list for the Knicks’ head coaching job during the 2020/2021 season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Van Gundy, currently an analyst for ABC and ESPN, last coached the Rockets during the 2006/2007 season. Both are assistants for USA Basketball. Van Gundy, 58, was a Knicks assistant coach from 1989-1996 before taking the reigns as head coach during the 1995/1996 season.

As the Knicks’ head coach, Van Gundy led the team from 1996-2001, compiling a 257-172 record. His biggest success arrived when he took the Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Spurs. Van Gundy was also a successful head coach with the Tracy McGrady/Yao Ming-era Houston Rockets from 2003-2007.

Thibodeau last coached the Timberwolves for part of the 2018/19 season. He also simultaneously served as team president. Thibodeau, 62, served under Van Gundy in New York starting in 1996, and remained as an assistant coach for the Knicks until 2004.

As a head coach, Thibodeau led the Derrick Rose/Joakim Noah-era Chicago Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, and the Timberwolves to their first playoff berth in 13 years circa 2018. He won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in 2011. As an associate head coach under Doc Rivers, Thibodeau helped the Celtics to the 2008 title. Thibodeau has done some analyst work for ESPN since his 2019 departure from the Timberwolves.

Knicks Rumors: Mills, Perry, Olshey, Coaches

Several members of the Knicks organization said this week that they expect president Steve Mills to be replaced at season’s end, or even earlier, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

The report is similar to one issued by Frank Isola of The Athletic last week. Isola suggested that Mills will be reassigned within the organization or let go altogether, but Begley hears from sources that the situation remains fluid. If the Knicks can turn things around this season, it may improve the odds that Mills sticks around, particularly since he still has years left on his contract beyond 2019/20, Begley writes.

The future of general manager Scott Perry is thought to be tied to Mills’ future to some degree, but not entirely. If Mills is dismissed during the season, the belief is that Perry would take over as the head of basketball operations on an interim basis, per Begley.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks’ vision for their next head coach is someone who has the “stature and ability” to have success in the New York market, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Team officials want someone who can lean on prior success and experience, which explains why high-profile executives like Masai Ujiri and Sam Presti have been cited as potential targets.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post examines whether Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey might be another target for the Knicks, noting that the Blazers’ exec has strong New York roots. Olshey is happy in Portland, but a person close to him tells Berman that it may not be his last stop. “He’s got full autonomy here to run things as he sees fit and he’s pretty happy with his salary, I think,” that NBA official said. “He’s never going to be a huge fan of retiring in Portland as a city, so maybe this isn’t his final destination. But he’s not a big media guy even if he’s a big-city guy in some ways.”
  • According to Shams Charania, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Tom Thibodeau are among the names on the Knicks’ current head coaching wish list. Ian Begley agrees that Jackson has support within the franchise, adding that Jason Kidd is someone else who has organizational support.
  • Carmelo Anthony, who spent seven-and-a-half seasons with the Knicks, is holding out hope that the team will retire his number, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “I think anybody would want that, if you have the opportunity to get that,” Anthony said. “We’ll see what happens when that time comes. Hopefully, they hang No. 7 up there somewhere. We’ll see what happens.”

Knicks Reportedly “Obsessed” With Masai Ujiri

The Knicks are “obsessed” and “enamored” with Raptors executive Masai Ujiri as the next man to run the franchise, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. A front office shakeup is expected in the wake of yesterday’s firing of head coach David Fizdale, especially considering the poor track record of team president Steve Mills.

Begley speculates it would take “significant money and full autonomy” to land Ujiri, who is already in a comfortable spot after building a championship team. Even if the Knicks are willing to grant that, Ujiri may not want to work for a controversial figure like James Dolan, and he is signed with Toronto until 2021, a contract he said in October that he plans to honor.

Echoing a report we shared last week, Begley states that the Knicks believe Ujiri could be drawn to New York City to provide a larger platform for his charitable work with the Giants of Africa Foundation. However, there was similar speculation about Washington, D.C., a few months ago when the Wizards were restructuring their front office, and Ujiri opted to stay in Toronto.

There’s more Knicks news to pass along:

  • Despite a 4-18 start and six straight losing seasons, the Knicks’ front office job is still viewed as appealing around the league, Begley adds in the same story. The team has drafted well under general manager Scott Perry and has held on to its first-round picks. The Knicks also retained cap flexibility by signing seven players to short-term contracts this summer after failing to land their top targets in free agency.
  • A few players got to say goodbye to Fizdale before he left the team, Taj Gibson tells Begley (Twitter link). Gibson said Fizdale was emotional during the departure, adding, “Guys loved him.”
  • Mark Jackson, a former Knicks guard and ex-head coach of the Warriors, is a 5-1 favorite to be the next head coach, relays Adam Zagoria for Forbes. The oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag have Kenny Smith second at 6-1 and Italian coach Ettore Messina at 7-1. Next in line are three college coaches, Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
  • Interim coach Mike Miller thanked Fizdale and the Knicks organization during today’s pre-game press conference (video link from Vorkunov). Neither Mills nor Perry has addressed the media since the firing became official, and nobody from management has commented apart from an unattributed statement that was released Friday.
  • Former NBA player Keith Bogans has been named to Miller’s staff, the Knicks announced on Twitter.

Knicks Notes: Fizdale Fallout, Potential Long-Term Replacements

The Knicks fired David Fizdale earlier today while also relieving Keith Smart of his duties as assistant coach. The move comes after a 4-18 start, which ties a record for worst in franchise history.

While Fizdale repeatedly told reporters that he had owner James Dolan’s backing, Jabari Young of CNBC.com hears from an agent who represents coaches around the league that the firing was “inevitable.” Assistant coach Mike Miller will now take over as the interim head coach with 60 games to go in the season.

Former Warriors coach and Knicks guard Mark Jackson has been linked to the team as a long-term candidate for the role (any major hire is likely to come in the offseason) and Young reports that Spurs assistant Becky Hammon would be interested in the job should the team be willing to offer her a long-term deal. Young mentions four or five years as the necessary length of the contract.

Young also mentions former Coach of the Year (2007) Sam Mitchell as a good candidate for the short-term, as Mitchell has a reputation for getting top effort out of players.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Jeff Van Gundy, Jason Kidd, and Tyronn Lue are among the former NBA coaches that Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic names as options for the Knicks. Vorkunov also lists several potential candidates without former head coaching experience, such as Jarron Collins, Stephen Silas, and Ettore Messina.
  • The firing of Fizdale won’t clean up the Knicks’ issues, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today explains. Zillgitt believes that the front office should shoulder the blame for putting together this roster and simply expecting Fizdale to produce results with it.
  • Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post argues that the Knicks should fire team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry. The regime put together a plan of signing big-name free agents and failed to deliver.