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Stan Van Gundy would be one of the most sought-after names on the NBA head coaching market ... except it sounds like he's taking himself off the market.
The news comes to us Tuesday morning from "The David Baumann Show" on 1080 The Team in Orlando:
Van Gundy's Tuesday radio announcement follows a May 15 report by Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski that the former Miami Heat and Orlando Magic coach was "unlikely to return to coaching next season." Van Gundy also told Baumann that he hasn't interviewed with any NBA teams, "although several teams had contacted him and he keeps telling them no."
The 53-year-old Van Gundy was considered a top target of both the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks after their seasons ended. Van Gundy, however, reportedly declined interest in the Bucks' position, as did former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. He was also considered a "long shot" to accept the Atlanta job presently held by Larry Drew, pushing Hawks general manager Danny Ferry to give "significant consideration" to hiring CSKA Moscow head coach Ettore Messina. The Euroleague legend and former Los Angeles Lakers assistant would be the first European-born coach in NBA history.
Van Gundy did not coach in the NBA during the 2012-13 season after he and former Magic general manager Otis Smith were "relieved of their duties" in Orlando following the, um, unpleasant combustion of the Dwight Howard situation. (That "relief" came one year ago today, by the way.) He's rolled up a 371-208 record in seven-plus years on NBA sidelines, making the postseason in all seven seasons he completed — as you might remember, he stepped down in Miami "due to personal and family reasons" in December 2005 before Pat Riley took the reins and led the Dwyane Wade-Shaquille O'Neal combo to the NBA championship — and bringing the Magic to the NBA finals in 2009.
It wouldn't be shocking to see Van Gundy change his mind if the right coaching opportunity came around — he wouldn't be the first coach swayed by a combination of top-flight talent, top-shelf pay and a sound basketball operations arm — but for now, it seems, we're going to have to endure one more year without him on the sidelines. That's a bummer for fans of squads seeking a dynamite bench boss, and for those of us who could use a little more SVG in our lives. (Which is to say: All of us.)