Jeff Van Gundy Rumors

When he was an assistant in New York and Houston and unable to land job interviews to be a head coach, teams wondered if he had any other interests. Even as the NBA has come to lionize the athletes and coaches who share off-court projects, Thibodeau has remained consistently tunnel-visioned. Jeff Van Gundy, his former boss, didn’t know why they cared, or why Thibodeau couldn’t answer the question agreeably.
Jackson’s ESPN partner Jeff Van Gundy stressed they’re too gutted and threadbare to judge Vaughn on record alone. “Having been an interim coach, [there’s] anxiety, day-to-day not knowing what your future is,” Van Gundy said. “But because Jacque’s been a head coach in Orlando, he understands that while you control some things, you certainly don’t control everything. [The] only thing you do control is how well you do your job. Now he’s bringing a very decimated team to this bubble, and most likely they’re going to really struggle [in] the playoffs because of just being out-talented.”
Asked if an NBA coach can still be a taskmaster such as Thibodeau, Van Gundy went on a rant, saying it’s “slander’’ to criticize the 62-year-old New Britain, Conn., product on that front. “I don’t think players have changed nearly as much as organizations and coaches have changed,’’ Van Gundy said. “You can’t demand less of players and then complain that they’re willing to do less at times. I find it does a disservice to players. I think good players in any era want to be challenged and pushed to be their best and they want to play on teams of significance. This idea that Tom doesn’t know how to pace his team is one of the great slanders that has been perpetuated by the media on a coach.”
From March 2 in Houston until the end of the regular season, the Spurs won 31 of their final 36 games. “Because it was a shortened season, there were so many games that were condensed,” Elliott says. “And when games start coming at you like a conveyor belt, if you can keep your rhythm, you can rip off a lot of wins.” The Spurs accomplished this despite an offense that relied heavily on their pair of big men, with Elliott the only true elite perimeter marksman. “They were very limited offensively,” notes Jeff Van Gundy, the former Knicks coach who met them in the Finals that year. “He’s right,” Kerr confirms. “We didn’t have a lot of ways to score. It was Woody Hayes, three yards and a cloud of dust.”
Woodson, 62, the former Knicks head coach, is among several candidates who’ve met with team brass via video conference. Woodson, like frontrunner Tom Thibodeau, has a connection to team president Leon Rose and top Knicks executive William Wesley because they represented him at CAA as agents. It’s possible that Woodson, who owns the highest winning percentage of a Knicks coach since Jeff Van Gundy, is hired as an assistant if he’s bypassed for the top job.
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Job
It was less than three months ago that a single confirmed case prompted the entire league to shut down, and Jeff Van Gundy, the longtime coach and ESPN analyst, isn’t sure how players will react if the virus surfaces. “Right now we’re somewhat underestimating the fear of that scenario,” Jeff Van Gundy told the Daily News. “For the players on the guy’s team, for the players who have played against that team or will play against that team or that will play against that team. I’m not sure we know — because I know I don’t know, if that fear is going to be more than I expect, less than I expect.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
Van Gundy is also concerned about maintaining the sanity of players who are restricted to a bubble for up to three months. He mentioned that it will be much longer than a normal NBA road trip, which are often draining enough on players who are eager to get home after less than two weeks. “I think also we can’t try to mitigate the length of time and staying power that teams playing all the way through in the bubble are going to have to have,” Van Gundy said. “For them being in one spot and not at home ever for that amount of time, and how draining road trips can be mentally.”
In raving about Thibodeau in general, Van Gundy touted him as more than a defensive master. The former Bulls and Timberwolves head coach was on Van Gundy’s staffs previously with the Knicks and Rockets. “Tom Thibodeau is a great, great basketball coach – like, great,’’ Van Gundy said on SiriusXM radio. “And I think unfortunately for him the perception of him on the sidelines as this gruff, nasty dude is not even close to who is he personally. Like, he is a great guy. He’s fun to be around. He’s enjoyable to be around, and he loves basketball. He loves NBA basketball and he works at it and he is elite in his profession.”
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Search
With the Rockets, Nets and 76ers occupied until late August with the season restart, the Knicks don’t even have competition. “I hope he gets another opportunity to be a head coach because if you look at his body of work he certainly deserves it and any team that may interview him or hire him would be very fortunate to have him as a head coach.,’’ Van Gundy said. “He gets thought of as a defensive coach but if you look at his best teams in Chicago and in Minnesota they were very high level statistically speaking offensive teams and I think it’s been overlooked when people try to evaluate Tom from the outside.”
Van Gundy joined ESPN’s First Take to recall what it was like to coach against Jordan’s Bulls, and said that while Jordan’s ability was an obvious challenge, it was the Bulls’ team defense that posed the biggest hurdle for his Knicks teams. “When you think of the Bulls, Jordan’s talent got most of the notoriety, and then secondarily the triangle offense that Phil Jackson instituted. But for , the hardest thing for us in those games to try to come out with a win was being able to score enough against their great defense. They had great size at every position. They were tremendous defensively. We had a hard time rebounding the ball, particularly when we were double teaming Jordan. And, third, in the games we lost, critical games in the playoffs, our free-throw shooting betrayed us. Those three things were three constants, along with obviously Jordan and the triangle offense.”
To trade the high draft pick or not to the trade the high draft pick. That is the question the Warriors’ front office will have to answer once the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery finally happens and the franchise knows exactly where it’s slated to pick. NBA TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy admittedly doesn’t watch much college basketball and isn’t well-versed on this year’s crop of draft prospects. So it’s understandable why the former head coach spoke more passionately about the concept of the Warriors trading the selection.
“If you’re Golden State — (general manager) Bob Myers does such a great job, Steve Kerr is a terrific coach and they have the right best players because they’re all in for the team — but (Steph) Curry’s not young,” he said Tuesday on KNBR 680. “So if you could get the right trade for a great player to supplement what you have and boost your chances of winning it all now — I think that’s gonna be a very viable option for them. “Who that is — I don’t know.”
So one school of thought is to go “all in” during this window of opportunity. The other perspective is to restock the cupboard with a couple young lottery picks who can take the baton and lead the franchise into its next iteration. Fortunately for the Warriors, they have multiple paths to choose from. “Ultimately, I think there are gonna be a lot of opportunities out there,” Van Gundy said. “They had to withstand this season, but I have a feeling after they get through this, they’re gonna come out with a terrific player in the draft or a package of players for that draft pick.”

Jeff Van Gundy 'a very possible' replacement for Mike D'Antoni

Sam Amick: But again, who the hell knows on the back end, but Jeff Van Gundy’s name is the one that I heard consistently as a very possible replacement for Mike and, and it’s interesting to see Thibs’ name in there now because you got a guy who was Jeff’s top assistant when Jeff was the Rockets coach and a guy who, you know, in terms of like the optics around Tom, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster the past couple of years, you know, he was labeled, essentially, like, kind of a dinosaur who was too tough on his players and did not assimilate with today’s NBA.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 16 more rumors
Sam Amick: So, you know, Van Gundy and Thibs being from the same tree, whatever happens next, I think you are starting to get a sense of what might be prioritized, obviously defense first, discipline… Now, you know, it’s trying to juxtapose that reconcile that with James Harden in particular, you know, with Thibs or Van Gundy is barking at him on the on the defensive side. I mean, there’s a lot we could get into there. But right now, that’s probably how I see it.
Ex Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy says some people have forgotten just how good Patrick Ewing was. Here’s Van Gundy talking about Ewing during an interview with Chris Russo and Mad Dog Sports Radio: “I think we have amnesia, sometimes, as Knick people, just to how good Ewing was and how well he played. If you’re going to be compared to Jordan, then everybody’s going to come up short. But if you’re compared to a level of greatness? “I went back and watched the games and looked at the stats because it was intriguing to me, from other people’s recollection, ‘I was like, this guy is unbelievable.’ Even back then, how people try to portray Patrick as not coming through in the clutch. And I’m like, ‘Hold on, I was there at every game. I remember this guy carrying us on a nightly basis.’
“And if you just start scrolling through YouTube, it’s one (great) game after another. I was talking to my brother (Stan Van Gundy) before you called. And I was (saying), ‘This guy (Ewing) had 46 (points) in Atlanta, and I didn’t remember it at all. I think it was in 1993. That’s how you know you’re great. When a guy gets 46 (and you don’t remember it). He didn’t just come through once in a while where you would remember it. He was coming through with big games all of the time and they sort of start fading from your memory. And it’s been great to sort of go back and look, as people have talked about these series, because when I look and I watch, and then I look at the box scores, this guy absolutely carried us. We had a lot of other really good players, but this guy? Man. We were so blessed to have a Ewing in his prime.”
The Patrick Ewing-led New York Knicks reached the NBA Finals twice in 1994 and ’99, but according to Jeff Van Gundy, their greatest team didn’t come from those two seasons. Van Gundy told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski the 1992-93 Knicks had the best shot of any iteration of the ’90s Knicks of winning a championship … if not for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. “We had a really good team in ’97, but I thought our best team was ’93,” said Van Gundy, who was an assistant to Pat Riley that season. “I thought we were primed, but we just didn’t have that shot-creator that we needed on the wing.”
Rivers said he did quite enjoy re-watching the Boston Celtics team he coached win the 2008 NBA Finals over the Lakers – and that he found that he actually didn’t mind watching the 2010 Finals that his Celtics lost after that. “You know, I’ve never watched that game live, in the context of watching it with sound and commercials, I’ve never done it,” said Rivers of the 2008 triumph. “I was calling (announcers Jeff) Van Gundy and Mike Breen, giving them crap on some of the things they said, that was fun.”
Holed up in Houston, Van Gundy hopes he’s wrong, but doesn’t like the signs. “I‘m not an expert, but I’d be surprised if the NBA plays again this season,’’ Van Gundy told The Post. “It’s going to be hard to get it back going. I would suspect it will be very difficult. The good thing is I trust (commissioner) Adam Silver to do what’s right and best and not what is in the best interest of money. “If it does (go on), that will be great because you know Adam is putting no one unnecessarily in harm’s way. I hope I’m wrong. I hope in June, July it’s safe for our players to go back to work. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
“I‘m not an expert, but I’d be surprised if the NBA plays again this season,’’ Van Gundy told The Post. “It’s going to be hard to get it back going. I would suspect it will be very difficult. The good thing is I trust (commissioner) Adam Silver to do what’s right and best and not what is in the best interest of money. “If it does (go on), that will be great because you know Adam is putting no one unnecessarily in harm’s way. I hope I’m wrong. I hope in June, July it’s safe for our players to go back to work. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Van Gundy has done the NBA Finals for ABC/ESPN for 13 straight years with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson. “There’s a lot of disappointment,’’ Van Gundy said. “If you’re involved in the NBA, you certainly miss it especially this time of year coming down the stretch and playoffs. But NBA people, when I talk to them, the conversations don’t center around, ‘I wish we were playing.’ It centers around, ‘Gosh, I hope we can make moves to get this (coronavirus) under control.’”
Storyline: Coronavirus
During an appearance earlier this week on the “Knicks Fan TV” podcast, in which he said Dolan is “scared” of him, Oakley was asked if he thought Van Gundy would be a good selection as the next Knicks head coach. “With these guys, a Jeff-type coach?,’’ Oakley said. “If I know Jeff correctly — and I played for him and know how he coached — I think it would be tough to come back and coach young guys. What he believes in for his offense and defense in this day and age, it’s totally different.’’
Oakley doesn’t think Van Gundy would have the patience for the millennial NBAer. “You can make three, four turnovers and miss four free throws in the first few minutes and take bad shots,’’ Oakley said. “You look at these teams. Out of 80 shots, 30 shots are bad. “Basketball has changed. You’re not getting the 1990s back. 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.”
Clifford said on Saturday that a lingering cold and a lack of food intake prior to Friday’s game led to the dizziness that he experienced – something his coaching buddies scolded him about profusely. “I’d say the best (conversation) that I got was a stern lecture from Stan (Van Gundy) last night, and Jeff (Van Gundy) also, and (Tom Thibodeau), too,’’ said Clifford, referring to the medical distress that forced him off the sidelines in the third quarter of the Magic’s 132-118 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. “Those three guys, and Patrick (Ewing), all my guys, they weren’t like … well, not `Hope you feel better.’ It was more like, `C’mon man, you’re not 51 anymore.’”
We know that Leon Rose has connections to Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy. Both are expected to get consideration from New York. But Rose – and his longtime business partner William ‘World Wide Wes’ Wesley – certainly have relationships with dozens of coaches around the NBA and NCAA. Included among that group is former Knick Mark Jackson and ex-Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.
Colangelo is still powerful in the NBA as the director of USA basketball and chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame. On Friday, he endorsed two Team USA coaches — Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau — for the Knicks job. “Those are great basketball guys. They’re terrific coaches. I have great respect for both of them,” Colangelo said. “They’re different. They’re alike in some ways. But they’re born to coach. And the fact that they’re not — there are teams out there that could use those guys, for sure.”
Even with all of those unknowns, it’s worth noting that Miller has a relationship with former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy. Miller was an assistant under Van Gundy with the Team USA World Cup qualifying team in 2018. Van Gundy has spoken glowingly of Miller. So it’s fair to presume that if Van Gundy were hired as the Knicks next head coach, Miller would be considered as an assistant on Van Gundy’s staff.
If team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry were coming back next season, Miller had a shot to return if his record got to be around .500. But Mills is gone, Perry may be demoted or fired and incoming president Leon Rose is prepared to make a flashy coaching hire after the season. According to NBA insiders, ex-Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are expected on Rose’s short list.
According to NBA insiders, ex-Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are expected on Rose’s short list. Neither Thibodeau nor Van Gundy have gained so much as an interview across the years. Owner James Dolan was said to hold a grudge against Van Gundy for quitting during the 2001-02 campaign.
Thibodeau is a Creative Artist Agency client and has worked with Rose, who will leave his position as head of CAA’s basketball department. According to a source, Van Gundy likes Rose and the feeling is mutual. Van Gundy and Thibodeau are still tight. Thibodeau was Van Gundy’s assistant during their Knicks days. “If Leon ever hired Jeff, the fans would love him,’’ one insider said.
“There’s not one benefit of coming in as an interim coach,” Van Gundy said, speaking of the task generally. “Not one. No preparation time. You have to take over for someone who hired you who just got through a traumatic, life-altering experience of losing a job. You have to navigate how you can be loyal to that person and at that same time move forward with your team to get them to play well. That’s a very hard thing to do.” And he adds: “As a lifer who has not had it easy to get to the NBA, he is enjoying this great opportunity. And I’m not going to be surprised at the end of the year if Steve Mills and Scott Perry say, ‘Hey he did such a great job that we’re going forward with him.’”
“Mike Miller hasn’t had an easy path in coaching,” said TV analyst and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, who had Miller on his 2018 USA World Cup Qualifying Team coaching staff. “Give him a lot of credit for all the work he has put in to get to this point. He’s a no-nonsense, straight-shooting, not-looking-for-any-limelight guy. He just wants to coach basketball and do the best job he can to help the players.”
Jeff Van Gundy, who could be a Knicks coaching candidate if they move on from interim coach Mike Miller, admitted the franchise has not showed proper direction since former president Dave Checketts left the organization in 2001. Van Gundy said Checketts was “a great leader.’’ “Since then they’ve never settled on a direction of leader from a general manager standpoint or a coach,’’ Van Gundy said on Sirius Radio on Friday prior to the Knicks beating the Kings 103-101. “It’s been constant change and unfortunately that amount of change has led to an inconsistency of philosophy, of belief, and I just think they have to settle and give whoever they pick next the opportunity to grow and evolve.
“It was a really great experience,” Calhoun said. “Pop was great. The folks on his staff, Chip Engelland, Ime Udoka, Will Hardy, they were great. Steve Kerr, awesome. Jay Wright from Villanova and Lloyd Pierce, Jeff Van Gundy, P.J. Carleslimo – they were great people, first and foremost, alongside being really talented coaches. “I’ve worked (Tim Grgurich’s) summer camp and the NBA predraft camp and now Team USA. Those are all unique opportunities where you get to spend time with players. You spend a lot of time with them. You’re in the trenches with them. For me, the relationships I’ve built with other players and the other medical staffs, that’s an opportunity you don’t normally get this sport. The experience as a whole is one of those life experiences that you just can’t replace.”