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Knicks Extend Coach's Contract

Jeff Van Gundy, whose coaching status was not assured even as the New York Knicks made it to the NBA Finals, was finally rewarded with a two-year contract extension, the Daily News reported Friday.

A formal announcement was expected as early as Friday, the newspaper said.

Van Gundy is under contract to earn $2 million next season and, by winning the Eastern Conference finals last month, a $3.5 million extension for the 2000-01 season automatically kicked in.

The new deal, extending Van Gundy's contract through 2002-03, is worth between $8 million and $10 million, a high-ranking NBA official told the Daily News.

Van Gundy has a 140-97 record in his four years as head coach, all with New York, and is 26-22 in the postseason.

The Knicks have finally made a commitment to Jeff Van Gundy. <b>
The Knicks have finally made a commitment to Jeff Van Gundy. (AP)

He was nearly fired in March and April because of disagreements with former Knicks president Ernie Grunfeld, who was fired on April 20.

New York won six of the final eight regular-season games and, seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference, beat Miami, Atlanta and Indiana in the playoffs before losing to San Antonio in five games in the NBA Finals.

Throughout the postseason, Madison Square Garden president Dave Checketts refused to confirm Van Gundy would be his head coach next season. Checketts even pursued former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers last month.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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