3. Jeff Van Gundy
The latest: Flip Saunders tried to get Van Gundy to leave the booth and coach the Minnesota Timberwolves a month ago — he said no.
The skinny: Van Gundy has been a bit of a coaching enigma since being fired by the Rockets in 2007. Nearly every year since, teams have tried to lure Van Gundy back from color commentating and, despite initial interest, he has denied them every time.
“Van Gundy brings a defense-first philosophy and a tough, physical attitude. Van Gundy has also worked extensively in the development of elite big men Patrick Ewing and Yao Ming; working with budding All-Star Brook Lopez could be beneficial. Van Gundy’s squads rank high in defensive efficiency — only once has one of his teams not ranked in the Top 5 (2000’s NYK ranked 6th).”
Rumors speculated that Van Gundy was a top candidate last summer for Brooklyn, but the Kidd hiring came out of nowhere and left those reports at the wayside. Could it finally be time for Van Gundy in Brooklyn?
The verdict: If Van Gundy just denied Minnesota, it might mean he’s comfortable with his current position and has no desire to rejoin the cutthroat industry of head coaching again. Or, it could be because they’re set to trade Kevin Love at any moment and sink like a stone. Either way, it seems unlikely that Van Gundy will coach Brooklyn.