In the midst of another successful season at Villanova, Jay Wright’s name is yet again surfacing in connection with NBA jobs, but this rumor seems to be particularly short-lived.
Wright has been linked — again — to the vacant New York Knicks job, per Adam Zagoria for Forbes.com.
But just hours later, ESPN's Dana O'Neil — who has a number of Philly ties — reported that Wright isn't going anywhere, even going so far as to rule out the Sixers should their head coaching job open up this summer.
The idea of Wright to the Knicks is not new. After New York fired former Sixer Jeff Hornacek in 2018, the Knicks were interested in interviewing Wright, but the Wildcats head coach turned them down. He was also reportedly on the Phoenix Suns’ radar four years ago. Way back in 2009, he spoke with the Sixers about the job that eventually went to Doug Collins.
The interest from NBA teams likely won’t go away any time soon for Wright. He’s won two national championships and his current team is ranked No. 15 in the country. He’s likely destined for the Basketball Hall of Fame and seems to have the personality and demeanor to coach at the next level.
Up until now though, Wright has been inclined to stay at Villanova.
“I’m staying. I love it here,” Jay Wright said to The Athletic in 2018. “I love what we’re doing. I’m just really happy. I said when I was at Hofstra and I didn’t take other jobs, I used that old Jim Valvano line, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That seemed appropriate at Hofstra until this job opened. It’s still really appropriate. I’m very happy here. I don’t need another challenge. I like happy better than a new challenge.
“The NBA does intrigue me. That challenge is appealing, but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys.”
Wright recently put his home in Berwyn up for sale, but his broker said that Wright and his wife Patricia are looking to downsize with their kids getting older. It could just be a coincidence, but the timing is a little peculiar.
It does seem like Wright is, theoretically, open to the possibility of coaching in the NBA if the ideal opportunity presented itself.
The Knicks have cleaned house, firing head coach David Fizdale and team president Steve Mills. They’re still owned by the mercurial James Dolan and have an oddly constructed roster.
Is that the type of job Wright would give up his comfortable position at Villanova for? Does what John Beilein is encountering in Cleveland give him pause? Could the Bucks County native hold out to see if the Sixers’ job becomes available if Brett Brown fails to get the team past the second round again?
There will be NBA jobs out there — if Wright ever wants one.
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