Sixers' Coaching Search: Van Gundy out, Mark Jackson in

Per Phil Jasner and Bob Cooney ... 

A source familiar with the Sixers' situation said that president/general manager Ed Stefanski is also scheduling a meeting with Mark Jackson, Van Gundy's ESPN analysis partner.

Jackson, 45, has never coached, but played in 1,296 regular-season games and 131 playoff games with seven different teams. Jackson, the 18th overall pick by the Knicks in 1987, retired after the 2003-04 season.

The source said that Stefanski spoke with Van Gundy, the former coach of the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets, and was told that Van Gundy is not currently interested in returning to the profession.

The source said that Stefanski and Van Gundy have had a long-standing relationship, and that Van Gundy said if he were interested in coaching again, he would be intrigued by the Sixers' talent base.

Van Gundy was second on my wish list, so that's unfortuante. I don't know much about Jackson besides the way he sounds behind the mic. I know a lot of people dislike him, but I think he's entertaining. "Mama, there goes that man!" However; he does say some head-scratching things on occasion. Since he's never had a coaching gig, it's impossible to predict what kind of head coach he'll be, because both his broadcasting career and playing career don't give any indication. On the bright side, if he was hired, this would be the "young blood" everyone has been clamoring for.

Collins and Johnson have, or will be interviewed by the end of the day.

That comes on the heels of having met with former Sixers All-Star guard and current TNT analyst Doug Collins in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday and today's scheduled meeting with former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson in Houston.

The Sixers have not yet inquired about Mavs assistant Dwane Casey, who had two interviews last year.

The source also said that the Sixers have not asked the Mavericks for permission to speak with assistant Dwane Casey, the runner-up to Eddie Jordan in last year's search. ESPN reported yesterday that New Orleans has received permission from Dallas to speak with Casey.

Having interviewed Casey twice last year, the Sixers are comfortable that they have enough information on him for the time being.

There's also another short list of possible candidates, which includes my favorite, Mike Budenholzer.

Other candidates include Boston Celtics associate coach Tom Thibodeau, San Antonio Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer, former Toronto Raptor coach Sam Mitchell and NBA television analyst Mike Fratello.

Guess we'll have to update the power rankings soon.

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