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Ted Sillanpaa blog: Van Gundy says Warriors made contact, remains torn over potential return to NBA


With Steve Kerr on the verge of signing a contract to coach the New York Knicks, media attention turns to Stan Van Gundy as the leading candidate for the vacant Golden State Warriors coaching job.

And, that's all it is -- media attention. The Warriors haven't issued a statement explaining the process they'll use to hire a head coach to replace fired Mark Jackson.

(This story also appears on Ted Sillanpaa's blog: http://overtime.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/)

Before hiring Jackson, the Warriors interviewed a large pool of candidates. Then, co-owner Joe Lacob interviewed three finalists before selecting Jackson. That makes it unlikely that initial reports that the Warriors were ready to hire Kerr immediately were true. They're apparently compiling a list of candidates right now.

Kerr's agent, Mike Tannenbaum, is talking with the Knicks, according to the New York Post. The two sides believe a deal will be made early this week. Kerr, the Post reports, plans to join Knicks president Jackson in Chicago for the NBA Draft combine Thursday.

Van Gundy, according to ESPN's Marc Stein is most likely the Warriors top candidate for the job. Golden State is still putting together that list of coaches the organization is interested in. Van Gundy is already on that list.

"I have not met with (the Warriors)," Van Gundy told the Orlando Sentinel. "There have been calls to gauge interest, and until you get a chance to actually talk to somebody, it's even hard to say if they're interested or if I would be (interested). So we're not at that point of even sitting down and talking yet."

Van Gundy, who attended Alhambra High School in Martinez, said on NBC radio Sunday that "there aren't many better places to live in the United States than the Bay Area in California."

Van Gundy hasn't returned to coaching in the last two seasons because he's happy working in radio and television and living with his family in Florida. He has expressed a desire to keep his family in place until his children finish high school.

"I think the Warrior one (job) comes up because I'm from out there. I went to high school in the Bay Area. I grew up out there," Van Gundy said in the Orlando Sentinel. "I said several times during my coaching career when we would go play out there that it was always important to me playing out there because I grew up [there].

"That arena is old, so it was the same arena, and when I was a sophomore in high school, the Warriors won the NBA championship in 1975 led by Rick Barry. Al Attles was their coach. I was a huge fan, and everybody knows that, and so I think that's why my name comes up when it's associated with that job in particular."

Van Gundy is a vocal, opinionated head coach. He might feel that even the talent-laden roster the Warriors have could lure him to work for Lacob and the front office that decided to fire Jackson after he guided the club to two playoff spots.

There are NBA executives, reportedly, say the Warriors will have trouble finding a top-of-the-line coach to follow Jackson.

"This is not a popularity contest, OK? There is no chance - and I mean no chance - that whatever we do, it'll be loved by everybody. It is not going to be universally acclaimed by everybody," Lacob said in the San Francisco Chronicle. "We know best, we hope. We know all of the details. We know what we feel we need to do. We will listen to a lot of people, form an opinion and then try to do what we think is the right thing. If it's unpopular, it's unpopular."

Van Gundy isn't lobbying for the Warriors job.

"Part of me does (want to coach), and part of me doesn't," Van Gundy told the Sentinel. "Look, we're so happy in central Florida. It would really have to be a great situation for me to get back in. I miss a lot of it. I really do. I miss the competition. I miss the challenge. I miss the camaraderie of it. But I also like the time that I've had, so we'll just have to see what happens. You weigh every situation."

It has been reported that Warriors will interview former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins this week. The New York Post revealed that the interview would take place at the NBA Draft combine.

(Follow Ted Sillanpaa's blog http://overtime.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/. Follow Sillanpaa on Twitter @tedsillanpa. Contact him at 707-526-8623 or ted.sillanpaa@pressdemocrat.com)