The Los Angeles Clippers’ coaching search has officially begun in the wake of their decision to not bring Vinny Del Negro back, and several high-profile candidates are reportedly on the team’s radar. The top target at this point appears to be Jeff Van Gundy.
Van Gundy, whose clever broadcasting antics have become a staple of every basketball household, last coached with the Houston Rockets in 2007. His name is thrown around in association with vacant head coaching positions every offseason, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Van Gundy is open to a coaching return for the right opportunity.
Wojnarowski also reported on Thursday that the Clippers have interest in George Karl, who has one year remaining on his contract with the Denver Nuggets and is uneasy about coaching under a one-year deal. However, it is not likely that the Nuggets will let him leave, as the team holds an option that could trigger three more years on his contract.
According to ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne, Van Gundy and Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw are currently at the top of the Clippers’ short list. It is believed that Shaw would be interested in the head coaching position, but LA has to wait until the Pacers’ season is officially over before they can discuss it with him.
Another candidate the Clippers are reportedly considering is Byron Scott, who has not enjoyed much success as a head coach since he led the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances a decade ago. Scott was recently fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers after he was unable to rebuild the team in the post-LeBron era, but Shelburne and ESPN’s Chris Broussard pointed out that he was a championship player for the Lakers and is still popular in LA.
Scott also remains close with Chris Paul from their days together in New Orleans. As Del Negro recently hinted, having Paul’s endorsement is by no means insignificant when it comes to keeping a job with the Clippers.
So many candidates, so little time.