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Dallas Mavericks are pursuing Jeff Van Gundy for an assistant coaching job

The Mavericks are reportedly interested in bringing Jeff Van Gundy on board as an assistant.

2019 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Training Camp - Las Vegas Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks are pursuing ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy for an assistant coaching position, per NBA reporter Marc Stein.

“I’m also told that [the Mavericks] plan to gauge Jeff Van Gundy’s interest in a potential return to the bench as an aide to Kidd after 15-plus years in broadcasting,” Stein writes in his newsletter.

The former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach hasn’t been on the sidelines for more than 15 years, but his name has occasionally surfaced in head coaching searches over the years.

Van Gundy spent time as an assistant under Pat Riley with the Knicks, and took over as head coach in New York when Riley’s replacement, Don Nelson, was fired. Van Gundy eventually led the Knicks to the NBA Finals in the lockout-shortened 1999 season, losing to the San Antonio Spurs.

Van Gundy has been a broadcaster for ESPN since he parted ways with the Rockets in 2007. He went 430-318 as a coach, and most recently was head coach of the USA men’s national team at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup tournament and the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers. He served as an assistant for the 2020 Olympics

Some Mavericks fans might scoff at the idea of Van Gundy sitting on the bench with Jason Kidd, but Van Gundy was a good coach, and might lend some valuable experience to what’s a relatively inexperienced staff. And Van Gundy hasn’t been away from the game for 15 years, even if he hasn’t been coaching. Providing color commentary isn’t the same as coaching, of course, but he’s had to keep up with the latest trends in the NBA as opposed to just sitting at home.

Van Gundy was also trusted to coach Team USA as recently as 2019, as mentioned above, and served as Director of Scouting. He’s very much aware of the trends in pro basketball today, not just in the NBA, but across the globe. Not only that, Van Gundy has probably been a part of more deep postseason runs than the rest of the Mavericks’ coaching staff combined. Not only did he take the Knicks to the Finals as head coach, he was an assistant when New York lost in the Finals to the Rockets, and made two other conference finals as a head coach and assistant.

There were other assistant coach candidates that I would have preferred, but they continue to be hired by other teams. But bringing Van Gundy into the fold wouldn’t be some failure. While it seems a little far-fetched that Van Gundy will return to the NBA after 15 years to be an assistant, hiring an experienced, successful coach to be Kidd’s right-hand man would be a win for the Mavericks, and they should take any victory they can get right now.