You knew Stan Van Gundy was not going to bite the hand that feeds him.
You might have heard that some National Basketball Association coaches are having a problem with ESPN and some ESPN reporters who have found LaVar Bell to be an interesting character who likes to sprout out opinions and has no problem sharing them with any reporters. Bell is good copy. But NBA coaches aren’t thrilled that Bell criticized Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton. Bell’s son plays on that team and some coaches have decided that team public relations directors should revoke the NBA credentials of those ESPN NBA reporters who are talking to Bell. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy is one of the most opinionated of the NBA coaches and suggested he would skip in protest the all-important production meeting where he says nothing to the ESPN announcers and producers prior to an ESPN broadcast of the Washington-Detroit January 19 contest.
Apparently NBA coaches such as Van Gundy, Golden State’s Steve Kerr and Dallas’ Rick Carlisle don’t realize that without ESPN part of their huge salaries would disappear. ESPN pays billions for the right to carry NBA games. Also some NBA coaches have had no problems voicing opinions on social issues. It seems incompressible that certain NBA coaches are so thinned skinned when it comes to criticism about their own. It is also hard to believe that ESPN would bow down to the coaches or teams, the teams are paid by ESPN. Robert Iger, who runs Disney-ESPN needs to explain to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the 30 NBA Owners, without us, your businesses would be worth significantly less money. Yet, television partners always seem to be afraid of leagues. Also to NBA coaches, ESPN is a product of the 1984 cable TV act where everyone pays for what few watch, cable TV made sports franchises more valuable. The coaches should coach as they are not editors.
Van Gundy and his fellow coaches are mad at the ESPN website not the TV production people.