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NBA AM: Is It Stan Van Gundy’s Last Game?
Posted By Steve Kyler On May 8, 2012 @ 8:27 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Stan’s Last Game?: The Orlando Magic face elimination tonight in Indiana, and while there is always a chance that Orlando fights their way to a win, there is a seeming inevitability to the Magic losing this series and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy losing his job.
“I’ve been around coaching my entire life — literally, my entire life,” Van Gundy said to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “I really think, for all coaches, I don’t think that’s disconcerting at all. You sort of know when you go into it — and, for me, I knew long before I went into it because I’d been around it — that’s all part of it. You don’t worry about that.
“I think the only thing you worry about is winning games, and you’re not happy being down 3-1. I’m upset about losing Game 4 and the whole thing. But the rest of it, I don’t have any control over that. I do have some control over getting our team ready to play.”
Van Gundy was hired in 2007 after Florida Coach Billy Donovan jilted the Magic at the altar, going on to win 259 regular season games in Orlando, a 74.2% win percentage. He has taken the Magic to the Eastern Conference Finals twice in his five seasons in Orlando and a trip to the NBA Finals in 2009.
It widely believed that Van Gundy is just as frustrated in Orlando as some of his players are with him and that an eventual end to the marriage would be good for both parties involved.
League sources peg Van Gundy as a possible candidate for the Portland Trail Blazers job and the Washington Wizards job, should he gain his release.
Van Gundy has one more year remaining on his deal with the Magic, so jumping immediately into another coaching job might not be necessary for Van Gundy, who some say might want a break after a very trying and taxing season in Orlando.
Virtually every coaching contract in the NBA has “set-off” provisions, meaning whatever Van Gundy is owed by Orlando is reduced by whatever new salary he takes with another team. He signed a contract extension in 2010 that bumped his annual pay to just over $4.3 million, and he has one more year left on his deal.
If the Magic are eliminated tonight, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before the Magic put Stan out of his misery. Frankly, that might be the best thing for Stan, who will move to the front of the coaching line.
Bobcats Begin Coaching Search: The Charlotte Bobcats are expected to be in the San Francisco area today to meet with Warriors lead assistant Mike Malone about their open coaching position.
Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski is also reporting that the Bobcats plan to interview Magic assistant Patrick Ewing, a long-time friend of Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.
Former Portland coach Nate McMillan is also expected to interview for the job, as is Indiana’s Brian Shaw according to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
The Bobcats’ coaching chair opened up as soon as the season ended with outgoing coach Paul Silas agreeing to a consulting role within the organization, as both parties mutually agreed a change was needed.
The Bobcats have a 25% chance of landing the top overall pick in June’s NBA Draft; however that pick alone won’t make the Cats an attractive coaching job.
There is an ever-growing concern that Charlotte won’t spend the necessary money to compete in the East, making the coaching job in Charlotte an uphill climb.
For coaches like McMillan and Malone, they will have several options to consider this summer. Ewing, who has been trying to land a head coaching job for years, might be the best option because he may not require some of the conditions other candidates will demand as part of the job.
The Bobcats have $43 million in 2012-2013 salary commitments which includes the $4.385 million Qualifying Offer to DJ Augustin and the $3.00 million Qualifying Offer to DJ White.
That number also includes the $7.372 million ending deal of DeSagana Diop and the $10.9 million ending deal of Corey Maggette, giving the Bobcats lots of flexibility going forward.
Does Anyone Want The Blazers’ GM Job?: The Portland Trail Blazers General Managers job has been open for almost a year since the team abruptly relived Rich Cho on May 23rd, 2011 after less than a year on the job.
Since that decision, the team is said to have met with more than a dozen would-be replacements, including all of the names you’d expect to be linked to the team; however, a candidate still has not been found and more and more candidates seem to be turning the Blazers away.
As one insider put it recently, the manner in which Kevin Pritchard was relieved, and then how Rich Cho was handled and how current interim GM Chad Buchanan has been treated – there is a sense that it is just not a good job.
The Blazers had zeroed in on former Suns’ executive Steve Kerr, and while Kerr would like to get back into the NBA, more than a few people have speculated Kerr has more interest in coaching than being an executive and that Kerr isn’t in any hurry to leave his TV gig unless it’s the absolute right fit. Kerr recently told HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram that he has “zero interest” in pursuing a GM job at this time.
The Blazers have recently sought permission to talk with current Pacer GM David Morway, but its seems Morway – who has been in Indiana for what’s going on 13 years – would rather be the eventual successor to Larry Bird as team president in Indiana than be the GM in Portland. Keep in mind Kevin Pritchard is on the staff in Indiana so Morway likely knows where the bodies are buried in the Portland job.
The Blazers interviewed long-time agent Noah Croom of Goodwin Sports Management for the job, but have not moved forward on that front. Pairing Croom with Chad Buchanan as an assistant GM would create a smart and savvy front office, but it seems the Blazers are still hopeful they can land a major GM-type, which is beginning to seem unlikely.
Insiders that are familiar with the situation say there are way too many layers of people in Portland, and that while all teams have a community process in making decisions, there is simply too much going on in Portland that does not relate to basketball. Unless owner Paul Allen removes some of the lieutenants in the process, finding a serious GM will either take a monster paycheck or a lowering of the standards.
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