ESPN has had relatively good luck with their top analysts staying in place and resisting the temptation to return to the coaching profession.  But that may not be the case much longer.  Lead NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy is reportedly a candidate for the vacant New Orleans Pelicans job.

Van Gundy has been with ESPN since being fired by the Houston Rockets after the 2006-2007 season and called the NBA Finals with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson (in between his own coaching stint with the Golden State Warriors).

Here’s the report from Marc Stein at ESPN:

Jeff Van Gundy has emerged as a candidate for the New Orleans Pelicans’ head-coaching position, according to league sources. ‎Sources told ESPN.com this week that the ESPN analyst has expressed interest in the opening and is under consideration for the job, which opened when the Pelicans dismissed Monty Williams earlier this month.

Van Gundy joins Golden State associate head coach Alvin Gentry and Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau as confirmed candidates for the position, according to NBA coaching sources.

Gentry is the only candidate known to have formally interviewed for the post, with sources saying the uncertainty surrounding Thibodeau’s contractual situation with the Bulls has prevented the Pelicans and Orlando Magic from formally requesting to interview him. ESPN.com reported Monday that the Pelicans had been granted permission to interview Gentry before the Warriors began play in the Western Conference finals.

Van Gundy has been a popular TV figure since he coached the Houston Rockets in the 2006-07 season, and he has resisted interest from several teams in recent years, professing his desire to stay in broadcasting. But Van Gundy’s return to coaching has long been seen as inevitable, and the presence of rising star Anthony Davis as the centerpiece of an underrated roster has made the New Orleans job one of the most coveted in the league, with the Pelicans finishing strong under Williams to beat Oklahoma City for the West’s last playoff spot.

It’s hard to believe that JVG has been working in television for almost an entire decade.  In that time he’s been a breath of fresh air as a television analyst, willing to speak his mind on a number of basketball topics (and non-basketball tangents).

Van Gundy’s name has always been on the periphery of coaching rumors and it has always seemed as if he’d only return for just the right situation.  I would think that getting the chance to coach Anthony Davis, a once-in-a-generation talent, would be that opportunity.  If Van Gundy is ever going to give coaching one more shot, now just might be the time to do it.

[ESPN]

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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