Updates from Saturday, May 17
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports on a potential candidate to join Stan Van Gundy on the Pistons' bench:
Charlotte assistant Bob Beyer is a strong candidate to join Stan Van Gundy as top assistant coach in Detroit, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 17, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, May 14
Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reported on the Stan Van Gundy hire, and passed along a statement from the coach:
Stan Van Gundy has taken the job to coach the Detroit Pistons and lead front office.— Brian K. Schmitz (@MagicInsider) May 14, 2014
Van Gundy on Pistons: "It was too good to pass up."— Brian K. Schmitz (@MagicInsider) May 14, 2014
The Pistons issued a press release confirming the hire:
“Stan is a proven winner in our league. He instills his teams with passion, purpose and toughness. He is a great teacher who will help our players grow and develop,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “Stan is more than just a great coach, he’s a great leader. What I’m most excited about is how Stan can help us shape the franchise and instill what it means to be the best. He’s also a great communicator. My time with Stan has me convinced that he will bring our players, team and community to a very proud place.”
“It is an honor to be chosen to help Tom Gores build the Pistons into a team that competes for championships,” said Van Gundy. “Tom’s vision of building for the future, while seeking immediate improvement is a challenge that I embrace. We will work to put a team on the floor that reflects the franchise’s rich tradition and embodies the toughness and work ethic of fans in the Detroit area.”
Stan Van Gundy is on the verge of roaming NBA sidelines once again.
The veteran coach has reportedly come to terms on a five-year, $35 million contract with the Detroit Pistons, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:
ESPN sources say Pistons & Stan Van Gundy have reached agreement in principle to make SVG their new coach/president of basketball ops— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 14, 2014
Pistons & SVG reach agreement in principle on five-year deal worth estimated $35 mil and are on course for official announcement this week— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 14, 2014
Van Gundy has coached seven-plus years in the league between the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, compiling an impressive 371-208 record. He has taken his team to the playoffs seven times, including a trip to the NBA Finals with the Magic in 2008-09.
ESPN Stats & Info break down how successful Van Gundy has been:
Stan Van Gundy to coach Pistons. He's had 5 50-win seasons and no losing seasons as an NBA head coach— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 14, 2014
Of course, Van Gundy's stint in Orlando ended with quite the bang. He gave an interview revealing that Dwight Howard wanted him out, only for Howard to show up minutes later denying what his coach had previously said. It was all beautiful, comical theater and signaled what would be the eventual departure of the head coach.
Since getting fired in 2012, Van Gundy was content to sit at home and wait for the right opportunity to open.
He remarked on 740 AM's Open Mike show in Orlando earlier in May that he hadn't spoken with the Golden State Warriors or any other team and that he couldn't definitively say if he planned on returning to an NBA sideline, per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:
I have not met with them or anything else. There have been calls to gauge interest, and until you get a chance to actually talk to somebody, it’s even hard to say if they’re interested or if I would be [interested]. So we’re not at that point of even sitting down and talking yet.
You can count on two things with Van Gundy joining the Pistons. The team will immediately improve its on-court product, and the league will be more entertaining. He is a coach who is never afraid to speak his mind or be open with the media, which is refreshing in a business with many straight-laced leaders.
Van Gundy is a serial winner and has talent to work with (most notably super-freak center Andre Drummond, who is in the mold of Dwight Howard), so expect Detroit to become a fixture in the postseason sooner than later.
The No. 1 task at hand will be to improve a defense that ranked 27th in the NBA in points allowed this past season (104.7).
With a likely top-10 pick on the way and a full offseason to work with the ultra-talented Drummond, not to mention other young talents like Brandon Jennings and Greg Monroe, the future is bright. Perhaps he can even convince Josh Smith to stop shooting threes.