AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says the Minnesota Timberwolves are "very lucky" to be able to interview Jeff Van Gundy and former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau for their head-coaching vacancy.
Stan, who is Jeff's brother and a friend of Thibodeau's, doesn't think the close friends are "competing" against one another for the job. ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported Monday that Jeff was expected to meet with the Timberwolves on Monday in regard to being both the coach and "face" of basketball operations. Thibodeau completed a similar interview over the weekend.
"You're never, in my mind, competing for a job," Stan said. "I mean, you're not. You go in and talk to people. Those guys are both great coaches. If you're in that situation hiring, you're not trying to decide who's the better coach, you're trying to decide who fits what you want in your organization better, who fits your personality as an owner better, whatever it is. So that's two great, great coaches. I would say that the Timberwolves are very lucky to be talking to either one of those guys."
Stan Van Gundy, who signed a five-year $35 million deal to be both the coach and the president of basketball operations by the Pistons two years ago, was asked how important personnel control is to any coach these days.
"I think it's different for everybody," he said. "Look, I think what coaches are looking for by and large is just what we were able to get here and what [Pistons owner] Tom [Gores] made as his priority ... coaches are looking for an organization that is really unified, where everybody's on the same page, that there's not the tension ... and the conflict between the front office and the coaches. Whether you do it the way we're doing it -- or I had the same thing with Otis [Smith] in Orlando, where he was the GM and we had the same situation. Everybody was on the same page.
"So you can do it a lot of different ways, but I think that's what coaches are looking for: Can we all be in this together and pulling in the same direction, or is the front office against the coaching staff? That doesn't work. Never has, never will."
Thibodeau certainly is looking for cohesion after being fired at the end of last season, in part, because of a broken relationship with Bulls executives John Paxson and Gar Forman. Jeff was a frequent critic of Bulls management, saying frequently on national broadcasts that the Bulls did not do enough to support Thibodeau. Like his brother Stan, Jeff is an outspoken believer that a team must have a strong working relationship between coach and front office in order to be successful.
For his part, Stan doesn't seem surprised that Jeff hasn't coached a team in a while. Jeff last coached the Houston Rockets during the 2006-07 season.
"I'm not surprised, because I talk to him all the time," Stan said. "If I was taking the long view of, say, the media, that doesn't know him and doesn't talk to him all the time, yeah, I probably would be surprised.
"But he's got a great job. He has a great job, and it's great for him, it's great for his family. He's happy. So it would take a lot. He misses some things about coaching, but it would take a lot. If he takes a job, it's going to be one that he thinks was just a great, great, great situation. Way too good to turn down. He's not going to take anything marginal, I'll tell you that."