Sources: Pelicans interview Jeff Van Gundy for coaching vacancy

The New Orleans Pelicans’ coaching search is gathering momentum, a process that included a formal interview Tuesday with Jeff Van Gundy, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Jeff Van Gundy during his coaching days with Houston. (AP)
Jeff Van Gundy during his coaching days with Houston. (AP)

Van Gundy, one of the NBA’s top available coaches, and New Orleans officials met in the Bay Area to discuss the opening. The sides had spoken over the phone, but this was the first face-to-face meeting, league sources said.

For now, New Orleans officials and Van Gundy are beginning the process of getting to know each other. Van Gundy had traveled to the Bay Area for his role as a television analyst for the Western Conference finals.

New Orleans general manager Dell Demps met with another candidate, Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry, in the Bay Area prior to the start of the Western Conference finals.

It is possible Demps will meet with Gentry a second time in the near future, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Golden State officials will only allow interviews between playoff series.

New Orleans officials have been active in making calls on Van Gundy, researching his successful seasons as head coach of the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks.

Van Gundy, 53, has been a target of several franchises since leaving the Houston Rockets in 2007.

He has long established himself as one of the NBA's elite defensive minds.

Van Gundy reached the playoffs nine times as coach in New York and Houston, including a trip to the NBA Finals (1999), the Eastern Conference finals and three trips to the conference semifinals with the Knicks. He won 50-plus games twice in four seasons with the Rockets.

New Orleans fired coach Monty Williams after a 45-37 regular season and an opening-round playoff sweep by Golden State.

The lure of superstar Anthony Davis has made the Pelicans' job attractive to candidates.

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