Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are two of only a few coaching candidates the Oklahoma City Thunder will target if contract talks with current head coach Scott Brooks breaks down, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
The reality is that Brooks and his bosses, after months of talks, don’t have a deal … and time is running out. And sources say that the Thunder, just to be safe, have started brainstorming in-house about whom they plan to pursue should negotiations with Brooks collapse. Two names, according to sources, that have come up in those discussions: ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy and, yes, 11-ringed coaching free agent Phil Jackson.
Brooks’ current contract with the Thunder expires at the end of June. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on June 17 that general manager Sam Presti “offered a three-year deal worth just under $11 million” but Brooks turned it down. According to the more recent report from Stein, Brooks is looking for a guaranteed four-year deal.
Phil Jackson, who last coached the Lakers in the 2010-11 NBA season, expressed interest in coaching again but has given no indication that he would be interested in the Thunder.
Jeff Van Gundy, an assistant coach with the Knicks in the 1990s under head coach Pat Riley, served as head coach in New York from 1996 to 2001, leading the team to the NBA Finals in the 1998-99 lockout season. He is currently an on-air television analyst with ESPN and has also expressed an interest in coaching again.