Legendary NBA announcer Jeff Van Gundy was discussed for an assistant coaching role under Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla but was ultimately passed on according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
Van Gundy reportedly spoke with multiple franchises this offseason looking to transition from a broadcasting role ESPN fired him from in June that saw him call 16 NBA Finals series; mostly alongside play-by-play virtuoso Mike Breen.
Among the teams he had contact with were the Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks.
Analyst feels Boston Celtics coaching target was fired because of Adam Silver
Chris “The Mad Dog” Russo believes Van Gundy’s firing was a top-down decision from the offices of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver — saying as much during the July 4 edition of the Sirius XM podcast “Mad Dog’s Daily Bite.”
“I can’t fathom the idea that ESPN in these layoffs, would fire Jeff Van Gundy,” Russo said. “You’re not going to convince me that ESPN (and Disney boss Bob Iger) woke up in the last two weeks, looked at the budget sheet, and said, ‘We gotta fire Van Gundy because we gotta save some money — if that’s the case, fire Mark Jackson.’ ESPN will never admit it. They’re gonna say it’s our call. Nonsense. Why would they get rid of a great team? That team is a great team with [Mike Breen]…You’re not going to convince me that that team, that everybody likes. Nobody doesn’t like that team. That leads me to the conclusion that someone in the league office must’ve told ESPN, ‘I want Van Gundy out.’ We all know he’s biting. We all know he gets on the officials. We all know he doesn’t hold back with his NBA opinions. So, if you’re asking me, little talk show host, who may not know a thing, this is just my opinion, Silver is the one who fired Van Gundy. Silver told ESPN, ‘I want him out.'”
Whether or not that is true isn’t something we’ll find out until years from now or not at all, so we oughta just be thankful we got to learn of this wild Van Gundy-Boston Celtics rumor; one that likely wouldn’t have worked out in execution with the legendary coach breathing down Mazzulla’s neck.