Jeff Van Gundy New Favorite To Be Rockets Head Coach

Jeff Van Gundy New Favorite To Be Rockets Head Coach

The Houston Rockets are the best remaining team in the NBA without a head coach.

On the heels of a disappointing second round exit from the postseason this year, Mike D’Antoni opted to leave the organization. The big question ever since his departure has been what direction the franchise would ultimately go in with its next head coach.

This past week, ESPN NBA insider Tim McMahon appeared on The Hoop Collective and revealed that Jeff Van Gundy is currently the favorite to fill the vacancy.

“I still think Jeff Van Gundy is probably the favorite but they’re definitely doing their due diligence,” he said.

The primary thing working in Van Gundy’s favor, it appears, is that his vision for the franchise lines up reasonably closely with GM Daryl Morey’s.

“Really, I think the most important thing for the coaching candidates is going to be aligning with Daryl Morey and his vision in terms of basketball philosophy as well as who is going to be on that staff because we all know Daryl Morey is very hands on in terms of putting together a coach’s staff,” McMahon continued.

Also worth noting is that Van Gundy’s cost will probably fit what owner Tilman Fertitta is looking to pay more so than someone like, say, Ty Lue.

“Another thing is, Ty Lue is interviewing there,” McMahon added.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think Tilman Fertitta is paying Ty Lue’s market value. I don’t think he’s paying top dollar for a coach.”

Is the interest mutual? According to Brian Windhorst, it very much is.

“All of us know Jeff Van Gundy,” he said.

“He’s a colleague. He really badly wants to get back into coaching. He’s really tried to reinvigorate his career. He really wants another job, and Houston is his home.”

Van Gundy has not served as an NBA head coach in more than a decade. During his first go-round with the Rockets, he led the team to a 182-146 mark and three first-round postseason exits in a four-year span.

Since departing, he has broadcasted games on ESPN alongside Mike Breen and Mark Jackson.

Three years ago, in 2017, Van Gundy became head coach of the senior United States men’s national basketball team for that year’s FIBA AmeriCup tournament, where he ultimately won gold. He also served as the coach for the qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

Will the Rockets really hand him the keys to the kingdom after such a long sabbatical from the pro ranks? It is certainly looking like things are trending in that direction.

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Anthony Amador

A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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