The last game Jeff Van Gundy called was March 8 – Clippers vs. Lakers in Los Angeles. The ex-Knicks coach-turned-broadcaster believes it will be his last one this season.
Holed up in Houston, Van Gundy hopes he’s wrong, but doesn’t like the signs.
“I‘m not an expert, but I’d be surprised if the NBA plays again this season,’’ Van Gundy told The Post. “It’s going to be hard to get it back going. I would suspect it will be very difficult. The good thing is I trust (commissioner) Adam Silver to do what’s right and best and not what is in the best interest of money.
“If it does (go on), that will be great because you know Adam is putting no one unnecessarily in harm’s way. I hope I’m wrong. I hope in June, July it’s safe for our players to go back to work. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.”
The Knicks coach from 1996-2001 says he’s trying to take a lot of long walks during the NBA’s suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he admits to getting stir crazy while house-bound.
“I’m like most people,’’ Van Gundy said. “I’m doing a lot of nothing.
“You miss the normalcy of work. But the overwhelming thing is the relative unimportance of basketball. It’s just not as important. It’s a business, entertainment. It does things in that way. But all anybody can think about is not work. It’s health and what we can do.’’
Van Gundy has done the NBA Finals for ABC/ESPN for 13 straight years with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson.
“There’s a lot of disappointment,’’ Van Gundy said. “If you’re involved in the NBA, you certainly miss it especially this time of year coming down the stretch and playoffs. But NBA people, when I talk to them, the conversations don’t center around, ‘I wish we were playing.’ It centers around, ‘Gosh, I hope we can make moves to get this (coronavirus) under control.’”
The Olympics’ official decision to postpone the Summer Games on Tuesday also affected Van Gundy, who was part of Gregg Popovich’s Team USA training-camp coaching staff last summer for the World Cup.
Van Gundy was to be announced as the US Olympic Team’s director of scouting and was headed to Tokyo. The US Olympians were to report for training camp July 3 in Las Vegas.
“They didn’t have a choice,’’ Van Gundy said. “I’ll miss being a part of that. Gregg was awesome to work for.’’
Van Gundy is expected to be on Knicks new president Leon Rose’s short coaching list, but he demurred comment.
“I’m going to stay away from that right now,’’ Van Gundy said.
He’s still supportive of interim Knicks coach Mike Miller, who served on his Team USA staff for the 2018 World Cup qualifying. Miller’s interim record stands at 17-27.
“He didn’t have to show me — I knew he was a really good coach,’’ Van Gundy said. “I worked with him. When you work with someone, you know when a guy’s good at what they do. He’s really good. The record is always dependent on the expectations. His record is outstanding compared to what expectations were when he took over.’’
With the NBA turned upside down, Van Gundy is curious how the draft process will work. The Knicks could have three picks in the top 38.
“The draft is going to be interesting how they prepare,’’ Van Gundy said. “Without conference, NCAA tournaments, how will Scott Perry — or whatever front office — do it?
“They may not get in-person interviews or a combine. I think it’s fascinating the adaptability of the front offices in their draft preparations. It’s such a departure from the norm, and it’s so important. If the Knicks get a great player, it changes their trajectory.’’