After Van Gundy was fired as head coach of the Orlando Magic, ESPN had planned to hire the hard-nosed coach as an NBA analyst. Van Gundy's fire and willingness to say just about anything seemed to be a perfect fit on a desk filled with the soft-spoken Magic Johnson and Bill Simmons.
What happened next really ticked off Van Gundy.
Seemingly without any explanation, ESPN decided to retract its offer to
the former coach, which left Van Gundy no choice but to blame the commissioner. As a guest on The Dan LeBetard Show, Van Gundy accused Stern of influencing the network not to hire him.
"What I find fascinating … you have to give David Stern and the NBA a lot of credit … ESPN pays the league, and then the league tells them what to do. It's more ESPN's problem. You gotta have no b****s whatsoever to pay someone hundreds of millions of dollars and let them run your business."
ESPN and the NBA have a very close knit relationship and it has been speculated that Stern may have requested that ESPN terminate their offer to Van Gundy based on past issues the two have had. During his time in Orlando, Van Gundy took several shots at Stern and now he could be paying the price.
Current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy expressed concerns over the situation to the USA Today. The incident with his brother left Van Gundy to wonder if critical comments on air could cost him his job.
"As a broadcaster of the NBA, it gives you pause," said the former NBA
coach and current color commentator. "How forthcoming can you be? You
don't want your honesty to cost you a chance at employment. This is a
shot across the bow … While this is an organization that's treated me
great, it raises questions about what these so-called partnerships mean.
You have to realize as a fan, you're not getting the whole truth.”
Jeff has no plans to leave ESPN, but continues to support his brother in this frustrating situation.