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Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Dunleavy reportedly on Nets’ coaching candidates list

Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Dunleavy reportedly are two of the names on the Brooklyn Nets’ list of potential head coaches. The Nets fired Avery Johnson on Thursday, just 28 games into the season. Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo was promoted to interim head coach, but the team is believed to have its eyes on some other candidates.

At the top of the team’s list is Phil Jackson, who is said to be open to hearing their offer. Jackson reportedly was prepared to accept the Lakers job until it was given to Mike D’Antoni. He famously is only interested in coaching teams he believe can win a championship. The 14-14 Nets likely will not fit that criteria, so we doubt he will seriously consider the position, though CBS Sports’ Ken Berger says Jackson is “intrigued” by the job.

Van Gundy is said to be high on the Nets’ list if they are unable to get Jackson. ESPN New York says the Nets hold Van Gundy “in high regard” and consider him a serious candidate for the job. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski says Van Gundy is interested in the position, but he will not talk to the team until after the season out of respect for the current coach. The Nets were turned down by Van Gundy before hiring Johnson in 2010.

In addition to Van Gundy, Wojnarowski mentioned Kelvin Sampson as a potential candidate for the job. Sampson served as the Rockets’ head coach while Kevin McHale took a personal leave of absence last month. The New York Times’ Howard Beck says Sampson’s name has been discussed, but he is not viewed as a “significant candidate.”

Beck mentioned former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy as a candidate (as did ESPN New York). Dunleavy lobbied for the job on his radio show.

“First off, I’m from Brooklyn, so if ever given the opportunity to coach a team from Brooklyn, it would be a dream come true,” Dunleavy said on his SiriusXM show, via the New York Times. “Right now, to the best of my understanding, is that P. J. has been given the job on an interim basis — I’m not sure with the opportunity to keep it or not — but he’s a friend of mine, he’s a good coach and I wish him all the best in what he’s doing right now.”

Both ESPN New York and the Times mention Larry Brown as a potential candidate, citing his relationship with Billy King. Brown is currently in his first season as coach at SMU. Nate McMillan and Flip Saunders have also been mentioned as candidates for the job.

The Nets beat the Bobcats at home 97-81 on Friday in their first game under Carlesimo.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Jeff Van Gundy: Northern Illinois doesn’t belong in BCS bowl game

jeff-van-gundy-red-glassesJeff Van Gundy is the latest pundit to say that Northern Illinois shouldn’t be playing in a BCS bowl game.

The former NBA coach and current NBA analyst’s comments were prompted by a promo for the Orange Bowl between Northern Illinois and Florida State that was read by his broadcasting partner, Mike Breen, during the Clippers-Nuggets game on Christmas.

“How flawed is that BCS system that Northern Illinois is in that bowl?” Van Gundy asked rhetorically. “Oklahoma — you’re telling me they’re not better? If you put Northern Illinois into the Big 12 … Louisville is in [the Sugar Bowl] … come on, that’s ridiculous.”

Van Gundy went on to say that a team’s conference should carry more weight.

“I’m happy for Northern Illinois. They’ve had a great year. I’m just saying, if you want the best teams, you’ve got to give the leagues they play in … you put Northern Illinois in the SEC, you think they’re coming out unscathed?”

What’s funny is that Van Gundy was ripping the BCS for the exact opposite reason most people criticize it for. Most people complain that the BCS is too elitist and doesn’t give a chance to the smaller-conference teams the way the NCAA basketball tournament does.

I generally hold a similar opinion to Van Gundy, but I guess we’ll find out on January 1 whether or not Northern Illinois belongs with the big boys. We do know one thing: Van Gundy is sure to set off a reaction among Huskies fans the way Kirk Herbstreit did.

Jeff Van Gundy wants to brand floppers with ‘F’ on jersey

Jeff Van Gundy is an opinionated guy, and he hates flopping. When you start talking about flopping with him, you’re going to get some strong thoughts.

The former NBA coach and current ABC/ESPN commentator was talking about the NBA’s new anti-flopping rule with Mike Breen during Friday’s Heat-Hornets preseason game. Players will be subjected to fines for flopping, and they could even be suspended if they are caught flopping too frequently.

“I was reading something the other day that said they didn’t think anybody would be suspended this year. Me? I think some of these guys will be suspended after one game because they flop so often,” said Van Gundy.

“Reggie Evans, if he plays 20 minutes in a game, he can’t help himself — he’s going to get the warning and the six in one game!

“And I don’t understand why [the NBA won't make the flop violations public]. Why not call these guys out? That’s a flop, and he’s a flopper. I think they should, and I think they should put the flopping “F” on their uniform too.”

Classic Van Gundy. Who else (besides his brother) would suggest branding violators scarlet letter-style? Some players like Dirk Nowitzki think the new rules are crap, but Van Gundy likes it. Hey, if fines don’t work, maybe public shaming will be the only way to rid flopping from the game.

Big thanks to @CJZero for the story/video

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Jeff Van Gundy puts on red glasses to join the cool crowd (Picture)

Jeff Van Gundy became a trending topic on Twitter before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Celtics and Heat even began. After looking at the picture above, it’s easy to see why. I guess that was his way of connecting with the cool NBA kids crowd that consists of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Dwyane Wade.

Once the actual game began, Van Gundy went overboard defending the Heat and LeBron James. It was almost like he was trying to make up for all the unfair criticism James has received. Either that, or he was subtly lobbying for the Heat coaching gig in case Erik Spoelstra gets fired.

H/T Jimmy Traina, Sportress of Blogitude
Pic via Nick Simmons

Jeff Van Gundy says it’s ‘absurd’ that the Magic pretend Dwight Howard wasn’t the reason Stan Van Gundy was fired

There are two theories regarding the firing of Stan Van Gundy: the Magic are looking to start fresh, or they know their only chance of keeping Dwight Howard was to fire their head coach. With rumors floating around that the Magic are looking to deal Howard around draft time, the former is a definite possibility. However, Jeff Van Gundy fully believes Howard drove his brother out of Orlando and that it’s insulting for the Magic to pretend otherwise.

“To hide behind the fact or try to make everyone believe that Dwight Howard didn’t have a part in this is absurd,” Jeff Van Gundy said during an interview with 98.7 ESPN in New York. “Say listen we fired this guy because we know this our best chance to keep Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard and I decided to fire him. To do anything else is playing a game of semantics. It really is.

“Okay listen (CEO Alex Martins) all you have done in your 25 years in the business is release press releases and run the business side. You don’t know if a ball is blown up or stuffed. You don’t know if the pick and roll coverage on the side is right or wrong. Just say that I have no knowledge about basketball. He doesn’t know one thing about basketball so please hold off your comments on my brothers expertise since you know nothing about basketball.”

The situation in Orlando has been a public relations nightmare all season long, and we all knew this is the way it was going to end. Perhaps the Magic are trying to rebuild and firing their head coach and general manager and trading their star player is the best way to go about it. That being said, we know Dwight’s unhappiness spelled the end for Van Gundy. To pretend Howard had nothing to do with it is indeed absurd.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Dwight Howard: Jeff Van Gundy’s not our coach, so what he says doesn’t matter

Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson made headlines when Jeff Van Gundy, who was commentating for ESPN, made a big fuss during Wednesday’s Magic-Knicks telecast about them not participating in the Magic huddle during a timeout in the latter stages the Magic’s 108-86 blowout loss. On Friday, Howard, Nelson and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy commented on the episode, expressing some regret but conceding that it didn’t deserve the backlash it received.

“Jeff Van Gundy’s not our coach, so what he says doesn’t really matter. What Stan says matters,” Howard said.

“I probably should have been in the huddle,” Nelson added.

“It’s my job to get in the huddle, to be a leader.”

Van Gundy said he didn’t see Howard and Nelson away from the huddle, but acknowledged that it’s something that happens plenty of other times across the league. He added that he didn’t address the incident with his co-captains but said, “It’s not a good thing.”

“We were down by 30,” Howard said. I’m pretty sure the reason we lost wasn’t the fact that me and Jameer weren’t in the huddle. There’s no need to make a big deal about it. We could have been in the huddle. We should have been in the huddle. But it’s over with.”

Apparently everybody seems to have learned from this. But, sadly, it looks like Howard misses the point. This isn’t about winning or losing. This was about being respectful to your teammates and coaches and having the proper decorum in the face of defeat. Both players should have been up with their teammates. Don’t expect Howard and Nelson to make the mistake again.

Photo credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

Jeff Van Gundy rips Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson for ignoring team huddle

Jeff Van Gundy says he doesn’t talk to Stan Van Gundy about the Magic, but he sure stuck up for his brother during Wednesday night’s telecast.

The Magic got embarrassed by the Knicks 108-86 and were blown out so badly at Madison Square Garden all the team’s starters got pulled early. At one point late in the game, the team gathered during a timeout but Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson were off to the side doing their thing and even laughing. That really bothered Jeff Van Gundy, who was calling the game for ESPN.

“I was watching the Magic at that time out where Dwight Howard and [Jameer] Nelson didn’t join the huddle. Last night [Andrew] Bynum doesn’t join the huddle. When did this become acceptable that you just aren’t a part of it when it’s not going well and you separate yourself like ‘this is not my problem’ or like you don’t support your teammates?” Van Gundy asked on-air.

“The least you can do is just get up,” he continued. “I don’t understand. I read that (Lakers coach) Mike Brown said he didn’t have a rule that Bynum has to get up. Should you need a rule?”

Van Gundy makes a great point. Why has it become acceptable for players not to participate in team huddles? It happens way too frequently and that’s not the way things should be. Like we said after Derek Anderson’s infamous Monday Night Football meltdown, players need to watch their body language during blowout losses. Dwight Howard is known for being a joker, but when your team is losing by 20-plus points, it’s no laughing matter.