Jeff Van Gundy could return to an old job, but maybe it’s not the one he has often been linked to.
Rather than the Knicks, Van Gundy could go back to Houston and coach the Rockets, The Athletic is reporting. With Mike D’Antoni’s contract up after the season and owner Tilman Fertitta setting the NBA Finals as a benchmark, a change could be coming.
Though Tom Thibodeau would be a candidate – The Post reported he’s an option for the Knicks and Rockets — so could Van Gundy, who coached the Rockets from 2003-07. According to The Athletic, there has been a “major divide” in contract negotiations between D’Antoni and the Rockets. It’s all but assumed the two will part ways as soon as this season — if it even continues — is over.
Van Gundy is one name that keeps popping up, according to the story, if the D’Antoni exit comes to fruition. The Post also reported that Van Gundy is a candidate for the Knicks job that is currently being held by interim coach Mike Miller.
A factor in the 58-year-old Van Gundy’s favor, granted he wants the job, is the ownership situation. Former owner Leslie Alexander was behind his firing and when he was up for the job in 2016, Alexander objected to general manager Daryl Morey wanting to hire the ESPN/ABC announcer.
But now Fertitta is in charge. While Van Gundy has mostly stayed away from coaching, he did coach the United States in the World Cup qualifying, perhaps a sign that he is ready to get back on the sidelines full time.