Report: Jeff Van Gundy interested in Nets job, but won’t meet with team while interim coach is in place

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Jeff Van Gundy was an NBA head coach for 11 years with the Knicks and the Rockets, but hasn’t held that job title since the 2006-07 season.

It appears that may change as early as next year, but only if the Brooklyn Nets are willing to wait that long to secure Van Gundy’s services.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

While Jeff Van Gundy does have interest in the Brooklyn Nets‘ opening, he’ll be likely unwilling to meet with team officials while an interim coach is in place during the season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Nets haven’t reached out to Van Gundy, but he’s well regarded on every level of the organization’s ownership and management charts.

Van Gundy has never met with an organization that had a coach in place as part of his personal code, and he has respect for P.J. Carlesimo’s status. It is likely that the Nets would have to wait until season’s end to meet with Van Gundy about the job.

After more than five years out of the league, Van Gundy is still widely regarded as an excellent coach. His playoff appearances in both New York and Houston are reminders of that, and especially during his time in New York, Van Gundy cemented himself as a more than legitimate leader at the NBA level.

The question in this case is, how long will the Nets be willing to wait to settle on a replacement for Avery Johnson?

P.J. Carlesimo has the interim job, but no one expects him to retain it for long, and certainly not beyond this season. If ownership is patient enough to play out the schedule without a long-term solution in place, then Van Gundy may very well end up with the job, if in fact he decides to leave the broadcasting booth for a return to the sidelines.

But it’s more than likely that Brooklyn would like to secure a permanent solution sooner rather than later, just to ensure that the team’s minimum goal of reaching the playoffs is secured this season. If that’s the case, Van Gundy will likely remain out of the picture, given his insistence on not talking to a team about its head coaching job while one of his peers is currently occupying that seat.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.