- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Washington Wizards could have a new coach as soon as tomorrow depending on what Jeff Van Gundy decides to do concerning an offer to coach the Houston Rockets.

According to published reports, Van Gundy, who met with the Wizards last week, has been offered a four-year deal to coach the team that could pay him as much as $25million. According to a source, the former coach of the New York Knicks has not been offered the job of president of basketball operations, which became open when the Wizards did not return Michael Jordan to his old job last month.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Wizards have made Van Gundy the primary focus in their quest for a coach. If he is hired it would mean whomever they hire as president of basketball operations would not be involved in selecting the coach.

Last week the Wizards interviewed former Maryland star Len Elmore for Jordan’s old position. Elmore is expected to have a second interview in the near future.

Van Gundy met with the Houston Rockets over the weekend to discuss their coaching vacancy, one of nine NBA coaching vacencies since the season ended.

According to reports, Van Gundy spent the weekend in Houston shopping for houses with his wife. Van Gundy, who was not available for comment, left the Houston area without accepting the offer.

However, before Van Gundy left the Houston area, he did give a television interview.

“Both sides have to see if it’s the right fit,” Van Gundy told KRIV-TV. “You don’t want to rush anything like that. So when the time comes it’ll come on its own pace.”

If he took the Houston job, Van Gundy would replace long-time coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who led the Rockets to titles in 1994 and 1995.

Others pursuing the Rockets job include such former coaches as Mike Dunleavy. According to a report, Houston will not make any other moves with potential candidates until they have heard from Van Gundy.

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