Is it Sixers or bust for Jay Wright’s NBA jump?

Villanova head coach Jay Wright. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Villanova head coach Jay Wright. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jay Wright won’t be leaving Villanova, at least for now.

After a report from Forbes’ Adam Zagoria indicated that the New York Knicks had “strong interest” in pursuing Wright as their next head coach, Justin Tasch and Marc Berman of the New York Post quickly shot it down.  

“Jay loves Villanova,” a source said, though he added that a jump to the NBA wasn’t out of the question. 

The catch was that he just doesn’t want to go to the Knicks, which is an understandable thought process considering the state of the franchise. 

The Knicks are well on their way to a seventh-straight losing season as they emerge from the All-Star break with a 17-38 record. 

Under owner James Dolan, the Knicks have made the playoffs just five times since 2001. 

Wright’s unwillingness to entertain the Knicks’ interest is nothing new. He opted not to entertain talks with the organization two years ago when they fired Jeff Hornacek following the 2017-18 season. 

He’s been tabbed as the next college coach to head to the pros for quite some time following successful stints with Hofstra University and Villanova. 

In seven seasons at the Long Island school from 1994-2001, Wright led Hofstra to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances — which just so happens to be their last trips to the big dance to date. 

He parlayed his success with the mid-major to his current gig at Villanova where he has been for 19 seasons where he’s helped the Wildcats become a force in the Big East. 

His time at Villanova has included 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament, three trips to the Final Four, and a pair of National Championships in 2016 and 2018. 

Per the Post’s report, the only NBA gig Wright would consider leaving Villanova for in the immediate future is that of the 76ers’.

It’s something for Sixers fans to watch considering the recent approval ratings of current Philly head coach Brett Brown.

Entering the 2019-20 season with championship aspirations, the Sixers have struggled to stay afloat in the middle of the playoff pack of the Eastern Conference.

Through 55 games, Philadelphia is 34-21, which is good for fifth in the East and 12.5 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Bucks.

It’s their home play that hasn’t necessarily been the problem with a 25-2 record. Away from Wells Fargo Center, however, they are 9-19.

Amongst those road struggles have been the inconsistencies of Al Horford, the sputtering development of Ben Simmons — particularly in his outside game — and an inability to get the most out of a starting 5 that was considered one of the top units in the game.

Most of that is falling on Brown, which has led to recent whispers of his job security. In seven years at the helm of the Sixers, Brown helped lead the organization out of its “Process” days and into a new age of contention.

Should things go south with Brown, the prospect of Wright taking over obviously brings a hometown feel to the Sixers’ bench.

He currently lives in Berwyn, PA, but is putting up his home for sale. However, it is for downsizing reasons, per Berman and Tasch.

 

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