The New York Knicks have not shown any interest at this point in Jeff Van Gundy as a candidate for their head-coaching position, league sources told ESPN.
Van Gundy, a former Knicks coach and current NBA analyst for ESPN, would be open to talking about the position if he were approached by New York, league sources say. But league sources familiar with the matter say that despite contact between the team and Van Gundy’s representatives, there is no interest currently.
Van Gundy coached the Knicks for parts of seven seasons, leading the club to six consecutive playoff appearances and an Eastern Conference title in 1999. New York has won one playoff series since Van Gundy’s departure in 2001.
The Knicks are searching for a coach to replace Jeff Hornacek, who was fired Thursday morning.
The club earlier this week was finalizing plans to meet with their four top candidates: David Fizdale, Mark Jackson, Jerry Stackhouse and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Knicks plan to meet with Fizdale, Jackson and Stackhouse this week, and with Blatt, who is expected to travel to the United States, the following week.
New York also has received permission to talk to former head coach Mike Woodson, who’s now serving as an assistant for the LA Clippers, league sources told Wojnarowski. Woodson, who was fired by the Knicks in 2014 after more than two seasons at the helm, isn’t considered to be in the top tier of initial candidates. The Knicks will be hiring their ninth head coach since Van Gundy left abruptly, which led to some ill will between the two. Recently, that relationship seems to have been repaired, as Van Gundy has been acknowledged on the giant GardenVision video screen at Madison Square Garden in recent years.
The club is competing for potential coaches with several teams at the moment. Milwaukee, Phoenix and Memphis are currently manned by interim head coaches, while Orlando and Charlotte also fired their coaches.
Team president Steve Mills said that the franchise’s next coaching hire will need to “understand today’s player.”
Said Mills: “Today’s players are very different from yesterday’s players. So you have to be a person that understands who these guys are, where they come from, what their basketball journey is.”