Jeff Van Gundy, the lead game analyst for ESPN's and ABC's coverage of the NBA, implies that his brother Stan's deal to join the network did not work out because the league blocked the move.
In an interview with USA Today Sports, Jeff Van Gundy said that his brother, who was fired in May after five seasons as coach of the Orlando Magic, "had a basic agreement" with ESPN "and then something changed."
"There's certainly circumstantial evidence that something from the outside -- presumably the NBA -- changed (ESPN's) thinking," Jeff Van Gundy told USA Today. "As a broadcaster of the NBA, it gives you pause. How forthcoming can you be? You don't want your honesty to cost you a chance at employment."
An ESPN spokesperson told USA Today that the network "had discussions with Stan, and we were interested in a role for him at ESPN. Ultimately, we moved in a different direction."
Stan Van Gundy has expressed strong opinions in the past, sometimes clashing with the league. When then-Magic center Dwight Howard earned a suspension in 2011, Van Gundy said:
"This is the system David Stern and his minions like. So that's the system you have. ... I certainly can't have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot of leaders we've seen in this world lately, don't really tolerate other people's opinion or free speech or anything. So I'm not really allowed to have an opinion."
Stan Van Gundy spoke to Dan Le Batard on The Ticket, a radio station in Miami, nearly two weeks ago to explain why he thought his potential hiring as an ESPN analyst fell apart. Van Gundy's quotes were picked up on various sports websites.
"No one at ESPN will tell us what happened. Certainly the NBA office isn't going to tell us what happened. One of the quotes from ESPN in there -- we had discussions, but couldn't agree on a role ... as is usual, that's a bunch of BS from ESPN," Van Gundy told Le Batard. The radio host also works for ESPN.
Van Gundy went on to say that "What I find fascinating ... you have to give (NBA commissioner) 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 ... to pay someone hundreds of millions of dollars and let them run your business."
He also said, "Nobody is going to give a straight answer because -- that's just the way a lot of people operate -- nobody there has the guts to say anything, so that's what you deal with."