On Monday, Stan Van Gundy opened up about his thoughts on the New York Knicks and their cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Nets. Is he right that the Nets are more stable?
Never one to mince words, Van Gundy didn’t hold back on the mess that is the Knicks when asked if he would take their head coaching job if offered.
“I’m not interested in the New York Knicks. No,” Van Gundy said. “First of all, there’s a family history there. If anyone would be interested in that, and I’m not sure he is either, it would be my brother.”
The younger Van Gundy brother, Jeff, coached the New York Knicks from 1995 until he abruptly resigned 19 games into the 2001-02 season. He was also an assistant coach with the Knicks from 1989 until 1995.
It’s no secret that the Knicks are embattled and have been for years (decades, more accurately), but Stan Van Gundy didn’t just go on the radio to trash them. Not exactly, at least.
He was asked about the Brooklyn Nets in comparison and had this to say:
“Of the two the Nets are the better job. There’s no question about that right now,” Van Gundy said. “The organization has been more stable. They’ve won more games. They have more talent.”
He’s certainly right, up to a point at least. The Nets made waves last summer by signing two of the biggest stars on the free agent market, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. While Durant was expected to miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season regardless with a ruptured Achilles, Irving also missed plenty of time and was his usual enigmatic self when he was with the team.
As of the start of the NBA’s hiatus on March 11th, the Nets were a disappointing 30-34 and seventh in the Eastern Conference in a woefully pitiful bottom portion of the playoff bracket.
They fired their previous head coach, Kenny Atkinson, with a surprise announcement on the morning of March 7th. This was largely due to a lack of cohesion between Atkinson and various players on the team (likely including the star duo) but unless you’re LeBron James and printing trips to the NBA Finals, good players calling the shots about what coach stays or goes can certainly lead to questions about organizational stability.
Now clearly the Brooklyn Nets are more stable than the Knicks, but this is more an indictment on the Knicks than credit for the Nets. Whenever the next offseason begins for the NBA, the Nets may find themselves in an awkward spot where in order to improve, they have to move some of their building blocks. This may include Spencer Dinwiddie, the man who did the heavy lifting to recruit Irving and Durant to Brooklyn in the first place.
Will this have a negative impact on the Nets as they are currently structured? Will Irving have problems with a Dinwiddie trade that perhaps cause him to seek yet another trade? If stability is relative, yes, the Brooklyn Nets are stable for a team based in New York.
However, while everything Van Gundy says about these two teams is true, the Nets may yet prove to be a house built upon a shaky foundation.