It looks like ESPN’s NBA coverage may soon be down to a single Van Gundy. Jeff Van Gundy has been with ESPN/ABC’s NBA coverage as a game analyst since 2007, and brother Stan joined the network as a studio analyst last September, but Stan is now reportedly set to leave for work as a game analyst at Turner Sports. That’s as per Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, who writes that the elder Van Gundy could even wind up as part of a three-man booth on top Turner games:
Turner Sports is revamping its NBA coverage and is on the verge of hiring Stan Van Gundy away from ESPN to be a prominent game analyst, The Post has learned.
Van Gundy’s addition could have long-term implications for Turner’s top games. For its marquee event, the conference finals, Turner typically goes with a three-man booth.
In the recent past, it has been Chris Webber and Reggie Miller joining Marv Albert. It is easy to imagine that Turner may want a coach and a player combo in the future.
That’s interesting, considering that Van Gundy doesn’t appear to have much experience as a game analyst. He did do some college basketball game analysis for NBC in 2012, but his work with ESPN has primarily been on their studio shows, and as a guest on radio shows like The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. And while he does have decades of coaching experience, experience playing or coaching doesn’t always translate into skill as an in-game commentator (see the criticism for the Players Only franchise, which Turner quietly axed as a game broadcast idea last month).
Van Gundy has also been embroiled in plenty of feuds with the media, including a threatened boycott of ESPN (over them publishing LaVar Ball quotes that criticized then-Lakers’ coach Luke Walton) while he was with the Pistons last January. And there have been past reported job moves by him that didn’t actually pan out, specifically ESPN’s plans to bring him in for NBA Countdown in 2012. The network said then the sides “differed on potential assignments and we moved in another direction,” but many (including Jeff) thought the NBA and commissioner David Stern may have played a role in nixing that move, with Stan Van Gundy himself accusing ESPN of lying with their comments that they couldn’t agree on a role. So we’ll see if this one comes to pass, and we’ll see how Van Gundy does with it.