The New York Knicks are adding to their list of possible head coaches as they have reached out to the representatives of both Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson this weekend, as first reported by the New York Daily News.
The two currently working for ESPN as NBA commentators and analysts join David Fizdale and Jerry Stackhouse as coaches that have been contacted by New York.
Fizdale, currently an assistant with the Miami Heat and former Memphis Grizzlies head coach, will interview with the Knicks sometime this week. Stackhouse is currently coaching the Raptors 905, the G-League affiliate of the Toronto-based NBA franchise. He has also garnered interest from the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets.
Both Van Gundy and Jackson provide familiar faces to those around Madison Square Garden.
Jackson starred at St. John’s University before being drafted by the Knicks 18th overall in the 1987 NBA Draft. He spent six-plus seasons in New York over two-separate stints, ranking second on the franchise’s all-time list in assists (4,005) and sixth in steals (720).
It wasn’t until nine years after his playing career was finished that he broke into the coaching ranks, taking over the Golden State Warriors in 2012. He helped build the organization into the powerhouse it is today, helping develop Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson while drafting Draymond Green.
However, problems with members of Golden State’s front office withheld Jackson from reveling in the overwhelming success achieved by the franchise as he was fired after the 2013-14 season. Steve Kerr took over and has led the Warriors to a pair of NBA titles in the last three years.
Jackson’s broadcast partner, Van Gundy, hasn’t coached an NBA game since 2007 with the Houston Rockets. However, he is the top choice of plenty of Knicks fans pining for the team to get back to the successful times of the 1990’s.
Van Gundy spent 14 years in the Knicks organization, the first seven as an assistant coach before taking over for Don Nelson 59 games into the 1995-96 season.
He recorded winning seasons every year he coached and made the playoffs six times, including a magical run to the NBA Finals in the strike-shortened 1998-99 season as a No. 8 seed.
His 248 wins and six playoff appearances rank third in Knicks history while his 69 postseason wins are second to the legendary Red Holzman. He recently coached the United States national team in World Cup qualifying, a roster comprised mostly of G-League players.
Among other potential head-coaching candidates are Jay Wright and David Blatt, though it is unknown if the Knicks have contacted them as of yet.
Wright is coming off a second national championship with Villanova, a program he has spent the last 17 years.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Blatt was exiled to Europe after his unceremonious firing two years ago. He’s been coaching Darussafaka of the Turkish Super League.