The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will have to change their respective focuses when it comes to the search for a head coach, as former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has pulled himself out of consideration.
Van Gundy, in an interview with 1080 The Team in Orlando, plainly stated that he would not be an NBA coach in 2013-2014. This announcement came on the heels of a report by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojanarowski that placed Van Gundy as “unlikely” to coach next season, but on the heels of interviews with the Hawks and Bucks, the news is somewhat surprising.
After leading Orlando and Miami to a 371-208 record during his seven-year head coaching career, Van Gundy was unceremoniously let go by the Magic on the heels of the Dwight Howard fiasco. It was the second consecutive job in which he was removed for a “suspect” reason, as he was pulled from the Miami head coaching job by Pat Riley (or for the stated reason of personal/family reasons, whichever you believe) in the midst of a Miami Heat title run in 2005-2006. Nonetheless, his reputation in NBA circles is pristine, and he’s considered by many to be one of the leading tacticians in the Association. It was widely considered to be a longshot for him to accept the Hawks or Bucks jobs, but his announcement of a “family decision” to stay out of coaching was a revelation.
The basketball media mourns today, as Van Gundy is almost legendary for his quotability, but in the end, it seems like he’ll be off of the sidelines for the foreseeable future. Milwaukee (who is interviewing “current” Atlanta coach Larry Drew) and Atlanta (who may turn overseas to find a new coach) are back to the drawing board, and it will be extremely interesting to see which direction each team chooses. With that said, I am confident that neither organization will find a better head coaching candidate than Stan Van Gundy.