Memphis Grizzlies Interested in Jeff Van Gundy as Coach-GM

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By James Patrick Quizon | May 25, 2014 8:56 PM EST

With head coach Dave Joerger on the way out chief executive officer Jason Levien booted from of the Memphis Grizzlies, the franchise is reportedly offering both positions to the popular broadcaster and veteran mentor Jeff Van Gundy.

Reuters
May 3, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) loses the ball while being guarded by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) and center Kendrick Perkins (5) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

If the former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach is offered and accepts the dual job, he will have a role similar to his brother, Stan who signed a recent deal with the Detroit Pistons as coach and GM.

There is no official offer for Van Gundy or “JVG”, who currently works as an NBA analyst, nor an official firing of Joerger but the latter already met with the Minnesota Timberwolves higher-ups and all signs point the first-year coach leaving Memphis.

The 52-year-old Van Gundy is known as a colorful and tough mentor on the sidelines emphasizing a defense-first approach in his system.

He coached the Knicks from 1996 to 2001 leading the squad to six postseason appearances. This includes the run to the NBA Finals in the lockout season of 1999 when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA championship.

SVG joined the Rockets in 2003 to 2007 coaching the likes of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady and leading them three times to the NBA Playoffs. For his career, Van Gundy has a record of 430-318 (57.5% winning percentage) as a head coach.

If JVG goes to Memphis, his coaching style will nicely fit with a Grizz squad known for their grind-it-out defense with players like Mike Conley, Tony Allen and Marc Gasol.

Other coaching candidates for Memphis include Alvin Gentry (Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach), George Karl (former Denver Nuggets coach and ESPN broadcaster).

However, the recent trouble between owner and front office could turn off the coaching prospects including Van Gundy, who is a likeable personality on-air because of how he speaks his mind in criticizing the NBA and its referees. Will an outspoken guy like JVG co-exist with an owner like Robert Pera, who apparently likes more control of his team?

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(Photo: Reuters / Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)
May 3, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) loses the ball while being guarded by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) and center Kendrick Perkins (5) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
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