Mike Miller, the former Knicks interim head coach, could resurface as Jeff Van Gundy’s assistant in Houston if Van Gundy holds off John Lucas for the Rockets’ head coaching job, according to sources.
After Miller was passed over by the Knicks for the permanent position, Miller opted against staying on Tom Thibodeau’s staff to see if he could land another gig. Miller has been Van Gundy’s assistant on Team USA’s World Cup qualifying teams.
Van Gundy has spoken very highly of Miller and thought he deserved to remain as Knicks head coach after he did well taking over for David Fizdale in December. Miller weaved a 17-27 record before the season shut down on March 11.
Van Gundy, when not broadcasting, has moonlighted as part of Team USA’s qualifying program since 2017. He’s also had ex-Knicks assistant Josh Longstaff on his USA staff.
Conceivably, Van Gundy could hire his brother Stan, who interviewed in New Orleans. Neither Stan nor Jeff Van Gundy were considered for the Knicks job.
Meanwhile, Jeff Van Gundy is no lock to make a long-waited return as Rockets coach, battling Lucas. Sources believe one concern is Van Gundy, who still lives in Houston, getting full approval of the Rockets players such as James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Lucas has been a Rockets assistant coach for Mike D’Antoni and has a lot of player support. Ironically, Thibodeau worked under Lucas in San Antonio and Philadelphia in the early 1990s.
Lucas has been on Thibodeau’s staff in the past. According to a source, the Knicks head coach was amenable to hiring Lucas this time around but Lucas was embroiled in the Rockets’ playoff run.
The Knicks have not ruled out adding a couple more player-development assistants — which is the area in which Lucas has always shined. Royal Ivey, who was on Fizdale’s staff and is being paid for next season, has not been ruled out.
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