NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – According to longtime NBA writer Mark Heisler, the Brooklyn Nets have contacted former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy about their open head coaching position.
The story has not been confirmed or denied by any of the parties involved, but Heisler reported Friday that Van Gundy and the Nets engaged in preliminary discussions.
Brooklyn is looking to fill their head coaching void after the team elected to not bring back interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo. Van Gundy has served as a television analyst for ESPN and ABC for the past six years.
The 51-year-old is a career 430-318 in 11 NBA seasons and mostly recently coached the Houston Rockets in the 2006-07 season. Van Gundy led the Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals where New York lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
Coaching legend Phil Jackson has continued to be on the Nets’ radar, although it is unclear whether “The Zen Master” wishes to return to coaching after turning down the Nets in the past.
During his time with the Knicks, Van Gundy was praised for his defense-first style of coaching and giving the Knicks a tough identity. NBA experts including Charles Barkley have openly criticized the Nets for lacking physicality and toughness.
Perhaps, Van Gundy’s style of basketball is what the Nets need to take their next step forward.
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