Veteran mentor and commentator Jeff Van Gundy took his first step in a probable return to a head coaching position in the NBA. Van Gundy was formally interviewed by the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, making him the first possible option to coach the Anthony Davis-led squad weeks after the firing of previous head coach Monty Williams.
According to Yahoo Sports, Pelicans officials met with Van Gundy in California, where he was calling the Western Conference Final series between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. The 53-year-old Van Gundy is considered one of the top “free agent” coaches in the league owing to his rich experience as a mentor.
Van Gundy’s first stint as head coach was with the New York Knicks, where he coached from 1996 to 2001. Van Gundy -- along with players like Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell and Marcus Camby -- led the eighth-seeded Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
After a two-year coaching hiatus, Van Gundy returned to lead the Houston Rockets from 2003 to 2007. At Houston, Van Gundy helped the team reach the postseason in three of four years he was with the squad, which featured players like Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.
For his coaching career, Van Gundy owns a 430-318 win-loss record in the regular season and 44-44 win-loss record in the postseason. Should Van Gundy and the Pelicans agree on a deal, the veteran mentor will handle big man Davis, who is considered one of the best players in the league. New Orleans made the playoffs this season, but was swept by Golden State.