Stan Van Gundy, Pistons Part Ways After 4 Seasons

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 01:  Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons instructs his team during the fisrt half of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on March 1, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons parted ways with head coach and president Stan Van Gundy on Monday after he spent four years with the team.

The Pistons confirmed the move in a press release, via James Edwards III of The Athletic.

"We have decided that this change is necessary to take our basketball organization to the next level," Pistons owner Tom Gores said in the statement. "This was a very difficult decision and we did not come to it lightly. I am grateful to Stan for everything he's done for the Pistons and the City of Detroit. He rebuilt the culture of our basketball team, re-instilled a winning attitude and work ethic, and took us to the playoffs two years ago. He went all-in from day one to positively impact this franchise and this community.

"But over the past two years our team has not progressed and we decided that change is necessary to regain our momentum."

Gores also noted Van Gundy wanted to return to "finish the job."

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported the news. Wojnarowski added the Pistons will be searching for a new president of basketball operations and head coach, as those roles will be separated in the wake of Van Gundy's departure.

Wojnarowski also noted that Brent Barry will be "strongly considered" for a role in the new Pistons front office. However, Barry would not be tabbed for the president of basketball operations role, per Wojnarowski, who noted the Pistons "are expected to pursue an experienced front office executive to run basketball operations."

The Pistons finished the year with a 39-43 record, good for ninth in the Eastern Conference. The team only reached the postseason once during Van Gundy's tenure, and that one playoff run ended in a first-round sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It has now been 10 years since the team won a playoff game.

Prior to the last game of the regular season, Gores said, "We got to make some changes," per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

Van Gundy took over a team that won just 29 games in 2013-14 and increased the win total to 32 and 44 in his first two seasons. However, the team slipped back below .500 over each of his final two seasons, even with the Eastern Conference seemingly open for the taking.

The 58-year-old wasn't too concerned about his job security, explaining in January that this would be his last job, per Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News:

"Financially, I'm set, I don't need the job to support my family, to live my life. I know people have a hard time believing this, but I don't feel pressure. Pressure is what a lot of people in our country go through—you may lose your job and how are you gonna support your family?

"I have been really, really lucky. I'm not gonna be a guy coaching into my 70s, probably not even into my mid-60s. I told my wife when we came here, this was gonna be the last job, however long it ran."

The early exit could cause him to reconsider, especially considering his success throughout his 12 years as a head coach with the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Pistons, although few would be surprised if he called it a career. 

Meanwhile, the Pistons could be an attractive destination for prospective coaches due to a solid core that already includes Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin for the next three years and possibly more.

The organization has gone through a number of different looks over the past decade, but the right coach could help turn Detroit into a contender.


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