Hawks target Stan Van Gundy as potential coach – and lure for Dwight Howard

The Atlanta Hawks are aggressively pursuing Stan Van Gundy for the franchise's head-coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

General manager Danny Ferry has made Van Gundy his top target to replace Larry Drew, sources said.

There has been contact between Ferry and Van Gundy, but the two sides have yet to meet in person.

The Hawks plan to make a hard push for free-agent center Dwight Howard on July 1, and there's some belief that Van Gundy could actually turn out to be a benefit in recruiting Howard back to his hometown.

[Also: Bucks interview J.B. Bickerstaff in coach search]

Howard has expressed some sentiment that he better appreciates Van Gundy as a head coach, despite their clashes together in Orlando that ultimately led to the coach's firing after the 2011-12 season.

Van Gundy hasn't made a decision about returning to coaching this year, but he holds Ferry in high regard, league sources said. Van Gundy has declined interest in the Milwaukee Bucks' head-coaching job.

In parts of eight seasons with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, Van Gundy (371-208) has a .641 regular season winning percentage and (48-39) a .552 postseason winning percentage. He led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009 and reached the conference finals in both Miami and Orlando.

Drew's contract runs out on June 30, and he's been informed the organization will start to talk with other candidates. While it's almost assured that Drew has coached his final game in Atlanta, there's a small possibility the Hawks could miss out on several of their top targets and return to Drew, sources said.

[Also: 76ers hire Sam Hinkie as president, GM]

The Hawks' shortlist includes San Antonio Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer and CSKA Moscow assistant Quin Snyder, sources said.

Ferry worked with Budenholzer in two separate stays in the San Antonio front office, and has a relationship with Snyder back to their days at Duke.

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