The game of switching head coaching chairs continues, as the Memphis Grizzlies, who are about to lose their guy on the sidelines, are the next to show interest in Jeff Van Gundy, a TV analyst for the last seven years but his name keeps coming up when ever a coaching vacancy appears.
Van Gundy has been working for ESPN since 2007. He coached the New York Knicks from 1996 until 2001, reaching one NBA final. He later spent four seasons as the head coach of the Houston Rockets, never getting past the first round in the playoffs. He hasn’t been past that stage since 2000, when he led the Knicks to the conference finals, losing to the Indiana Pacers.
Dave Joerger was good, but no one is making too much of an effort to keep him in Memphis. He seems to be heading to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which means the Grizzlies are looking for their third head coach in as many seasons, hoping that they can keep their group together after a season that ended a lot earlier than expected, partially due to Marc Gasol missing a big chunk of the season, hurting their playoff seeding.
Van Gundy has turned down quite a few offers in recent years to get back to the bench, and the Grizzlies are contemplating offering him the kind of dual role the Detroit Pistons gave to his brother, Stan Van Gundy – head coach and team president, which means plenty of control over pretty much every basketball decision.
Van Gundy never likes to talk about coaching speculations, but some think that the change at the top of the Grizzlies’ pyramid which means something of clean slate and plenty of control for Jeff Van Gundy to begin with might be a bit more interesting to him than other job offers he has gotten in the past.
Grizzlies owner Robert Pera fired his CEO Jason Levien, who was Joerger’s biggest supporter and pushed for him to replace Lionel Hollins. The Grizzlies did finish the season at 50-32 despite an awful start, but it is rumored Pera was sick of seeing Joerger on the sidelines very early on, which led to the termination of his relationship with Levien. There’s still a matter of what compensation the Timberwolves give the Grizzlies for the 40-year old head coach, but there’s not going to be too much standing in his way.