|Van Gundy visits Sacramento, weighs options|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 06 June 2007 15:39|
Van Gundy spent Wednesday in Sacramento, touring the area and meeting with Kings officials for further discussions about becoming their head coach, the club confirmed.
The Orlando Magic are also hoping to sign Van Gundy after Florida coach Billy Donovan backed out of a deal over the weekend, but the Kings apparently are making a renewed push to get the former Miami Heat coach. The Indiana Pacers aggressively pursued Van Gundy during the offseason before hiring Jim O'Brien.
Van Gundy, a Northern California native, was expected to meet with Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie, who just returned to Sacramento from a pre-draft camp in Orlando.
Efforts to contact Van Gundy weren't successful Wednesday, and Petrie didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
The Kings have interviewed several candidates to replace Eric Musselman, who was fired April 20 after one tumultuous 33-win season. But Van Gundy and Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis are the only candidates who received invitations for second interviews in Las Vegas last week, where both met with Petrie and owners Joe and Gavin Maloof at the Maloofs' casino.
Van Gundy coached the Heat for two seasons before resigning early in his third campaign, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Pat Riley took over the club and led it to the NBA title, while Miami retained Van Gundy's services as a consultant.
That contract could hamper the Magic's hopes of signing Van Gundy from their division rivals: Riley, also the Heat's president, is thought to want compensation from Orlando for signing Van Gundy, while Miami probably wouldn't require compensation from the Pacific Division's Kings.
Van Gundy's love for family might help the Kings. He grew up in Martinez, Calif., a Bay Area town about 60 miles from Sacramento.
But Orlando has the pull of budding superstar Dwight Howard, a young playoff roster and ample salary cap room that could be used to improve it. The Kings' streak of eight consecutive playoff berths ended last season, and the club has no cap room to alter a roster full of veterans who squabbled over personality issues and playing time last season.
Van Gundy's teams in Miami were strong defensively, and the Maloofs still desire a defense-oriented team after dazzling the NBA for eight years with former coach Rick Adelman's uptempo offense. Musselman couldn't coax Sacramento to play strong defense last season despite the presence of Ron Artest, once considered one of the league's top defensive players.