Jeff Van Gundy is a lead analyst for ESPN, and would normally have been the color commentator on the national broadcast of the Knicks-Bulls contest aired on ESPN Wednesday night.
But due to a complicated set of circumstances, Van Gundy didn’t participate.
ESPN executives and analyst Jeff Van Gundy decided it was best the color commentator not be part of the New York Knicks-Chicago Bulls broadcast at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the decision to keep Van Gundy off the air for the game.
With the Knicks struggling at 5-15 entering the Bulls game and Coach Mike Woodson under pressure to turn the team around, Van Gundy, who used to coach the Knicks, was mentioned by the New York Post as a potential replacement. ESPN and Van Gundy decided it was best if he was not the story of a game he was calling.
Woodson is believed to be on the hot seat given the Knicks’ rough start, but someone like Van Gundy who hasn’t coached since the 2007 season isn’t about to jump into such a volatile situation mid-season, and he’s said previously that he wouldn’t entertain any offers while another head coach was still in place.
Still, the fact that his name has surfaced as a rumored replacement for Woodson if the team indeed decided to make the switch made it awkward at best for Van Gundy to be sitting at the scorer’s table for this one.