With Larry Drew likely done as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, general manager Danny Ferry has made Stan Van Gundy his top target to take over the team, Yahoo! Sports reported on Friday.
The website, citing league sources, says Ferry has contacted Van Gundy about the position, although the two have yet to meet in person to discuss the job. Yahoo! Sports also reported that Van Gundy hasn't made a decision on whether he wants to return to coaching but thinks highly of Ferry.
"I have great appreciation and respect for Larry and how he led our team this season," Ferry said in a statement to ESPN.com. "At the same time, it is my responsibility and in the best interests of the Hawks organization to consider all of our options, and talk with other potential head coaches before making a decision about who will lead our basketball team.
"Larry and I have had open communication about this approach. If Larry and I continue our work together, we ultimately will be a stronger organization because of our discussions and this thorough process."
In addition, Yahoo! Sports reported that the Hawks plan to make a hard push for free-agent center Dwight Howard and believe Van Gundy would help lure him to Atlanta. Van Gundy previously coached Howard with the Orlando Magic for five seasons before ultimately being fired after the 2011-12 campaign in what many viewed as an attempt by the team to appease the All-Star center.
However, sources told ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst that Van Gundy has told several teams that have reached out to him recently that he is not planning on coaching next season.
Earlier this season, Howard had a public back-and-forth with former Magic teammates, and Van Gundy reached out to him to offer his support. The two texted on and off all season, Howard said at the time.
"Me and Stan have a pretty good relationship," Howard said in March. "We respect each other and we continue to talk to this day. We've kept the business side out of everything that we discuss, and he understands how I feel."
Drew endured what essentially was a lame-duck year after the team renewed the option on his contract last summer but didn't give him an extension. Nevertheless, he led the Hawks into the playoffs this season, where they lost to the Indiana Pacers in six games.
According to the Yahoo! Sports report, the Hawks have informed Drew that they will begin talks with other head-coaching candidates, and sources told the website that San Antonio Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer and CSKA Moscow assistant Quin Snyder also are targets.
Yahoo! Sports also reported that there's an outside chance Atlanta could go back to Drew if it misses out on some of its top targets.
Information from ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and The Associated Press was used in this report.