Gio: Why I Don't Want To See Jeff Van Gundy-Knicks Reunion

Coach Reportedly On Rose's Short List

Boomer and Gio
February 11, 2020 - 9:43 am

The Knicks haven't truly been relevant since Jeff Van Gundy unexpectedly resigned as head coach in December 2000. Could he be the one who turns the woebegone franchise into a contender again? 

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A New York Post report Monday night said that, according to NBA insiders, Van Gundy is expected to be on Leon Rose's coaching short list. Rose will reportedly be named team president any day now. Former Bulls and Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, who was an assistant under Van Gundy in New York and Houston, is also likely expected to receive serious consideration for the Knicks' coaching job.

As much as some Knicks fans might welcome Van Gundy back to Madison Square Garden, WFAN's Gregg Giannotti explained on Tuesday's "Boomer and Gio" show why he's not crazy about the idea.

"Jeff Van Gundy and the memories I have of him in being a great coach for the Knicks, I mean, I don't want anything to ruin that because I don't think that this Knicks team right now is going anywhere as presently constituted, and Jeff Van Gundy's going to come here, not be given a shot, potentially fail, and that's going to go up in flames. I don't want to see that," said Giannotti, a Knicks fan.

"Van Gundy, to me, if the team was on the precipice, it'd be perfect," Gio added. 

"It just doesn't feel right to me. I'm not ready to take from the Knicks' past and then put it in the Knicks' present and think that, that's going to be sprinkling magic faerie dust on the organization. I just don't think that's going to happen."

Giannotti also,wondered if Van Gundy would even want the job, remembering that at press conferences near the end of the coach's time with the Knicks, he "looked like a zombie, like the bags under his eyes, and he was pale, and he was sitting there and whatever hair he had left was just falling out of his head."

Head coach Jeff Van Gundy of the 2019 USA Men's Select Team yells to players during the 2019 USA Basketball Men's National Team Blue-White exhibition game at T-Mobile Arena on August 9, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

"That's what I remember of Jeff Van Gundy the coach," Gio said. "And then when he got into broadcasting, it was like all of a sudden all this energy was back. And that's why it's hard for me to believe that he wants to not only get back into coaching, but then do it with this organization that sucks the life out of everybody who was a part of it."

Van Gundy went 248-172 over parts of seven seasons with the Knicks. In his five full seasons on the Knicks bench, the team reached the playoffs every year and advanced to the NBA Finals in 1999. Van Gundy went on to coach the Houston Rockets for four seasons, but has been out of coaching since being fired in May 2007. He is now a commentator for ESPN.

The Knicks are currently 17-37, the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference. Coach David Fizdale was fired in December. He was replaced by Mike Miller on an interim basis. Team president Steve Mills was reassigned last week, opening the door for Rose, a longtime player agent. 

To listen to the open from Tuesday's "Boomer and Gio" show, click on the audio player above.

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