Jeff Van Gundy would only have interest in Nets job if there’s a vacancy
By Adrian Wojnarowski
While Jeff Van Gundy may ultimately have interest in the Brooklyn Nets opening, he will be unwilling to meet with team officials while an interim coach is in place, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Brooklyn has yet to start contacting candidates as part of a search to replace Avery Johnson, who was fired on Thursday. The Nets promoted assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo to interim head coach for the immediate future.
When reached on Friday night, Van Gundy made it clear that he would never inquire or leverage for a job where a coach was already in place.
“I would never comment on a job that was filled,” Van Gundy told Yahoo! Sports. “I was an interim coach. I hope P.J. has great success there. He’s someone I respect greatly.”
Van Gundy has never met with an organization that had a coach in place, and the Nets would have to wait until season’s end and clarify Carlesimo’s status before he would entertain conversations with Nets officials.
Van Gundy, who led the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1999, is a popular figure in New York basketball.
When Van Gundy was the Knicks’ interim coach, Phil Jackson met with his bosses and Van Gundy vowed to never let that happen with him. As the son of a lifetime small-college coach, Bill Van Gundy, he considers it part of the profession’s code.
Van Gundy turned down the Nets before Avery Johnson was hired in 2010. One issue that made the job unappealing to Van Gundy is now gone: The understanding that he would have to move his family to New Jersey for two years in Newark, and then displace them again with a move to Brooklyn.
Van Gundy, who also coached the Rockets, had conversations with them about a possible return in 2010, but the dialogue never went too far, sources said. Houston hired Kevin McHale. Before Toronto hired Dwane Casey that summer, GM Bryan Colangelo reached out to Van Gundy about the Raptors job, league sources said.
So far, Van Gundy has resisted leaving his Houston residence while his oldest daughter was still in high school. He currently does television work for ABC.