When the New York Knicks were searching for their next head coach last summer, a familiar name was reportedly interested in the gig, but his interest was unknown by Knicks owner James Dolan.
That familiar face is former Knicks head coach and current NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy.
“I never heard that,” Dolan said of Van Gundy’s reported interest, according to ESPN’s Ian O’Connor.
“He wanted the job? Look, I’ll do whatever’s necessary to help the team. If Scott and Steve said Jeff’s the right guy, fine, but it was really their call. I didn’t meet anybody else other than Fiz. They said, ‘Look, he’s our pick, I want you to meet him.’ So I did. I wasn’t involved in the selection process at all.”
The Knicks ultimately hired David Fizdale to man the sidelines, but Van Gundy’s interest certainly warrants discussion.
Khris Middleton Plans to Re-Sign with Bucks
Wizards Preparing Run at Masai Ujiri
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wizards are looking to offer Ujiri a deal that could approach $10 million annually and also give him the opportunity for ownership equity.
Ujiri, who has two years left on his contract, constructed the NBA Champion Raptors team that just defeated the Golden State Warriors, and his unique vision and team building is credited as helping the Raptors reach the NBA’s ultimate prize.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is expected to reach out to Toronto ownership soon to request formal permission to meet with Ujiri, 48, and make him the astronomical offer which includes running the Wizards’ basketball operations and could also include taking on a larger leadership role in the Monumental Sports and Entertainment company that oversees the Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals franchise.
Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard Becomes First Player to Win Finals MVP in Both Conferences
With the win, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard was awarded the Bill Russell trophy, given to the Finals MVP, marking his second trophy and making him the first player in NBA history to win the award in both conferences.
“This is what I play basketball for,” Leonard said, according to ESPN. “This is what I work out for.”
“I think he’s the best two-way basketball player in the NBA,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said of Leonard. “He just goes. You know, I’ve seen some stuff from him this year that you just say, ‘Wow.’ You do. You say, ‘Wow.’ You appreciate the work that he’s put in. He works extremely hard at his game and works extremely hard on his body. And he loves this basketball thing. Loves it.”
Leonard averaged 28.5 points per game on 43 percent shooting in the NBA Finals, playing stellar defense as well.
Leonard took home NBA Finals honors back in 2014 when he was a member of the San Antonio Spurs team that knocked off the Miami Hear super-team led by LeBron James, who he played tough defense on throughout.
“Without a doubt, the best thing about this thing is that somehow I wound up on the sideline getting to watch this guy play up close,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse, who won an NBA title in his first season as a head coach in the league. “It’s really cool.”
Leonard scored 732 points in the 2019 postseason, which ranks as third-most in NBA history behind Michael Jordan (who scored 759 in 1992) and LeBron James (who scored 748 in 2018).
“I just kept working hard, working hard, and had my mind set on this goal right here,” Leonard said. “I came to a team, a new coast — that mindset was the same as mine, trying to get that Larry [O’Brien championship] trophy there. And this is what I play basketball for; this is what I work out for all summer [and] during the season. And I’m happy that my hard work paid off.”
The Raptors now have to convince Leonard, who is set to enter free agency, to stay with the team for the long-term.
“I’m ’bout to enjoy this with my teammates and coaches, and I’ll think about that later,” Leonard said.
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