SVG On The Dysfunctional Knicks

So great.

Jim Rome
March 24, 2020 - 10:15 am
Stan Van Gundy

USA Today


The more things change, the more some things never change. Like the New York Knicks. The truth is, I could do something on the Knicks just about every day, whether there are games or not, because they are just that easy to clown. It’s fishing in a barrel with dynamite. It’s too easy.

I could take whatever latest headline or blunder they had, riff on that for a bit, thrown in some horrible music from the JD & The Straight Shot and call it a segment. Or an hour.

But like I said, that would be too easy. So I have to hold off and restrict myself to only doing it when there is something that is especially notable or especially egregious. Like Stan Van Gundy being asked about whether he would be interested in being the head coach of the New York Knicks.

And SVG swatted that shot into the rafters. His reaction to the idea of being the head coach of the Knicks was like a Dwight Howard impression of SVG.

Normally a head coach who’s asked about the Knicks job would try to do something graceful to not answer the question. Maybe they’d say something about how the job isn’t open and it would be inappropriate to comment on it.

Not SVG.

Van Gundy told ESPN Radio: “I’m not really interested in the New York Knicks, no. First of all, there’s a family history there. If anyone would be interested in that it, and I’m not sure he is either, it would be my brother.”

Okay, that makes sense. You don’t want to go where your brother had been the head coach. Maybe you leave opening for him in case he wants it and you focus on other jobs. But what if that wasn’t the case? Is there any other reason why you might not be interested in being the head coach of the New York Knicks?

Well, as long as you’re asking, yes, there is another reason.

“And number two, I just – I’ve said this, I’m different than a lot of coaches in looking at jobs. To me it’s all about who you work for and who you work with. Everything I’ve seen over the last few years with that organization says that it’s extremely dysfunctional.”

Bam! Have some. SVG giving JD a Straight Shot. Just dunked on his head. I haven't seen someone dunk on the Knicks that disrespectfully since Scottie Pippen posturized Patrick Ewing and then stepped over him and stood over him. 

Most people would politely decline to answer the question. Or dance around it. Or say that it’s not something on that’s on their radar. Or they would just stop after the first part of the answer when Stan said that he wasn’t interested in the job because of the family history.

But not Stan Van Gundy. He said that and wanted to make something else really clear: the Knicks are extremely dysfunctional.

Not “dysfunctional.” Not “going through a rough patch.” Not “in need of a culture change.” They are “extremely dysfunctional.”

Look, someone calling the Knicks “extremely dysfunctional” is not exactly breaking news. I’ve been doing it for years.

But a respected NBA head coach calling an NBA organization “extremely dysfunctional” is pretty significant.

NBA head coaches, particularly ones who are in between stints as head coach, are notorious for never saying anything critical about teams and organizations because they don’t want to burn any chances they could get at the next gig.

That’s why they are frequently are not particularly good color commentators or analysts, because they hold back. They’re thinking about the next paycheck while collecting the current paycheck. And the last thing you want to do is say or do something that eliminates you from consideration for the next gig.

Except for Stan Van Gundy. He’s letting it rip. He doesn’t give a bleep. He wants you to know just how little he thinks of the Knicks and just how dysfunctional he thinks they are.

And if saying that means that the Knicks want to eliminate him as a candidate? Great. You’re doing him a favor. You were never on his list anyway and maybe if he says it loud enough now, the team won’t bother him with a call.

And if he’s saying it, you know every other coach is thinking it. How could they not? Have you seen the list of head coaches who’ve been through Madison Square Garden in the last few decades? Some of the best minds in basketball took jobs there and could not find success there. That extremely dysfunctional organization has chewed up and spit out young promising head coaches and members of the Hall of Fame.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what your track record has been elsewhere, the Knicks are kryptonite. They’re Knick-ton-ite.

Phil Jackson? Take a seat.

Larry Brown. Not here.

David Fizdale, respected assistant? Not here you aren’t.

Spike Lee, you can get a taste of this dysfunction too.

That PR wizard the team hired who then had a PR disaster in his first appearance? Yep, you too.

Whatever worked in the past, will no longer work when you get to Madison Square Garden.

Every coach knows that. SVG is the only one with the guts to say it publicly. And to not shrink from it.  

There are only 30 head coaching opportunities. But in SVG’s mind, there are 29 max. Because there is no way he could take that job. AND NEITHER WILL ANYONE ELSE, WHO MATTERS, AT THIS POINT.