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Jeff Van Gundy responds to report ESPN yanked him from Knicks game

ESPN NBA analyst and former Knicks coach Jeff

ESPN NBA analyst and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy is shown before the start of a preseason NBA game between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Hornets in Miami. (Credit: AP, 2012)

USA Today reported last week that ESPN and Jeff Van Gundy agreed it would be best if he did not call the Dec. 11 Bulls-Knicks game after his name surfaced as a potential replacement for Knicks coach Mike Woodson.

Van Gundy was asked about the report on a conference call Thursday promoting the slate of Christmas Day games next week. Here is what he said:

"That sort of got ramped up a little too much. I think it was maybe 10 to 12 days before – I'm not sure about the exact timing – I got switched off the game. I don't think there was any specific reason. I've had two or three games changed this year on my schedule. So I didn't give it much thought. But I was happy when I saw the game before or maybe it was two games before when my name was brought out. I was glad the change was made because I really didn't think it was ‑‑ I've coached in that market, as has Coach Brown, and people start talking about your job, and I've been hung on the back page of the New York Post, with the Van Gone back page and Back Up the Van and all that stuff, so I know how painful that stuff can be for a coach going through the speculation.

"I was glad, whether it was coincidental or not by whoever makes the schedule for ESPN, that 10 or 12 days before I got switched off that game. It's not unusual for that to happen, but I was thankful for it when I saw the circumstances."

Tags: Knicks , ESPN

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