Update: Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
Of course, this doesn’t preclude the Pistons from eventually hiring Billups. They could claim they weren’t interested while Van Gundy held the presidency then became interested in Billups later.
But such a sharp statement seems unlikely if the Pistons planned to go that route. They’d probably leave the door open wider than this.
Pistons owner Tom Gores made it sound as if president-coach Stan Van Gundy would lose his front-office title.
The rumored replacement? Former agent Arn Tellem, who’s an executive on the Pistons’ business side.
Tellem could also have new help – like Chauncey Billups.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
That would certainly turn heads in Detroit, where Billups is still beloved after playing for the Pistons and leading them to the 2004 championship. His reputation remains sterling there, because he was traded before the major downturn of that era.
For a team struggling to fill its new arena, Billups could make a splash (just like the Blake Griffin trade was designed to).
But if Billups and Tellem aren’t ready to build a winning team, the good feelings would be short-lived. Detroit-area fans have proven they support good teams and not otherwise.
To Billups’ credit, he has worked to position himself for a front-office job. He was a very smart player and good communicator, and he has always eyed an executive, rather than coaching, role. The Cavaliers nearly hired him last year. He and Tellem might be up for the task.
It’s a substantial one. The Pistons’ roster is expensive for the next couple years, and Detroit is down a first-round pick from the Griffin trade. The top two players, Griffin and Drummond, don’t fit seamlessly.
The Pistons could easily make the playoffs next season, especially if Reggie Jackson is healthier than this year. But greater success will be hard to come by no matter who takes over.