Stan Van Gundy has emerged as one of the better NBA coaches in the league, but he also happens to be one of the best interviews and sound bites as well. Whether it’s his raspy voice in a press conference after the game or a radio interview, SVG usually has something pretty compelling to say and is not afraid to share his opinion. Last week, NFL agent Josh Luchs came clean in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated and said that he provided cash and a number of benefits to college football players to try and get them to sign with him as clients. It created a huge buzz all over the place and everyone was talking about it. The most interesting question that came from the story was “why shouldn’t college athletes get paid?” They are getting scholarships of course, but why aren’t they getting paid when they provide so much for the school when it comes to tickets, jersey sales, and things along those lines? That’s the same exact question that one of the best coaches in the NBA wants answered as well.
Stan Van Gundy joined 790 the Ticket in Miami with Dan LeBatard to talk about his current relationship with Pat Riley after both of them made comments, on who he blames when it comes to college kids taking money from agents, what he thinks of players getting in trouble for taking money from agents, and also what he thinks of many people considering Kevin Durant as the best or second best player in the NBA right now.
On his relationship with Pat Riley right now:
“I haven’t talked to Pat in a long time, certainly not since any of that. I didn’t take it as big of a deal as what everybody else did. He was upset about some of the things said about some of the players that he now has. I honestly did not mind his criticism of my comments as I said when he mentioned that I was out of line on my comments about Chris Bosh, he had every right to say something about that. I took offense to it and came back at some of the things that he said about Otis (Smith) primarily and his comments. Then just in general just accusing other people of moralizing and things and I had just heard too many things from Pat moralizing things over the years to not be able to laugh at that, that he was taking others to task at that. I didn’t take it as a big deal. He had his say, I had mine, people disagree in these kinds of situations all the time, and it’s no big deal. It didn’t change the way I thought about anybody that’s for sure.”
On who he thinks is to blame for college kids taking money:
“First of all I just think the system is a little screwed up and I have a hard time blaming anybody. The agent is simply doing whats best for his business and really what he’s doing is making an investment. He’s willing to play a player who at that point is not earning anything in the hopes that he will secure that player as a client and make money down the road. He’s taking a little bit of a risk for his business. I don’t blame the player because a lot of these players are coming from not great economic circumstances. Sure they have a scholarship but they still don’t have a lot of what other college students have. They have someone willing to give them money and they’re making money in a lot of cases for the school and not getting any of that back, so I have a hard time blaming the player on that. I don’t even think the coach knows what’s going on most of the time. I think it’s a system that is a little bit broken and I’m not sure it’s that big of a deal if the player can make money from an agent while he’s at school. Take away the part about the NCAA rules and I don’t see what the problem is. I really don’t.”
On what he thinks of college kids like Reggie Bush getting punished for being connected with agents:
“First of all, he was hardly the only one I’m sure that year taking money. It has nothing to do with or doesn’t taint what he did to get the Heisman. I think this whole idea of college kids not being able to get paid in that way, basically people are paying them for their talents and the only travesty in college sports is when kids aren’t there getting an education and nobody cares about them getting an education. I think that’s a far bigger problem than kids getting paid. I just don’t see that as a problem.”
On Dwight Howard saying that Kevin Durant is the second best player in the NBA right now:
“I don’t know what’s at work. I just think Kevin Durant belongs in the discussion with Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. I don’t think there’s any question about that now and everybody is going to view those people differently. If you put me in that discussion about those four guys and I would gladly take the fourth pick. Those guys are all great players so to some degree you’re splitting hairs. I don’t think there’s anybody with an agenda, I just think that certain people look at different players in different ways. If I had to predict right now who would win the MVP this year I would say that Kevin Durant would have a heck of a chance because I think it’s going to be hard for Dwyane or LeBron to win an MVP award with those two and Bosh playing together. I just don’t think any one of those guys will stand out as the reason for success. So I think it will fall to guys like Kevin Durant, Kobe, Dwight, and people like that in the MVP voting. That’s just a prediction and that’s not indicative of who the better player is, that’s just indicative of the situation.”