New Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy is searching for a general manager to serve between his two spots on the organizational flow chart – “a strategic thinker and a dealmaker, a guy who’s really thinking big picture.”
How about Stu Jackson?
Van Gundy, who assisted Jackson at the University of Wisconsin, interviewed the former Grizzlies general manager/coach and former NBA executive vice president of basketball operations. Apparently the talk went well from all ends – the Pistons’ ownership also has a say in the hire.
Matt Dery of Detroit Sports 105.1:
This very well could be an offer to offer – as in the Pistons will offer the job only if Jackson first says he’ll accept. That way, if Jackson ultimately passes, the Pistons can still say they got their first choice when they hire someone else.
In his previous team job, Jackson oversaw a series of – perhaps somewhat unavoidable – blunders made by the Vancouver Grizzlies.
He gave Bryant Reeves a huge contract, but Big Country’s body broke down. He drafted Antonio Daniels No. 4, but the next four picks – Tony Battie, Ron Mercer,Tim Thomas andAdonal Foyle – were also underwhelming (Tracy McGrady went No. 9). He drafted Steve Francis No. 2 after Francis threatened not to sign with Vancouver, but Francis followed through with a holdout and Jackson got spare parts when dealing him to Houston.
Overall, the Grizzlies went 78-300 (.206) – including a 6-33 (.154) when he served as head coach – during Jackson’s five-year tenure. No matter who ran the Canadian expansion team, he was bound to face problems. But Jackson didn’t do much, even given his limitations, to impress.
After resigning from the Grizzlies – before they could fire him – Jackson took his job with the NBA. In 13 years with the Association, Jackson became known for handing out fines, but his roles were spread wider. In the process, he surely communicated frequently with team personnel.
If the Pistons hire Jackson, it should be for his contacts around the league. Van Gundy isn’t some anonymous figure, but he hasn’t worked with opposing front offices and agents the way Jackson has.
The Pistons still have a couple Joe Dumars assistants – Ken Catanella and George David – on the payroll, and Van Gundy has spoken positively about both. With Catanella focusing on analytics and the salary cap and David on the draft, this front office could complement each other well.
Still, it seems Detroit could have targeted someone with a more successful front-office record. Then again, when the other candidates are Scott Layden (who ruined the Knicks before Isiah Thomas had a chance to continue their problems) and Otis Smith (who showed little regard for Orlando’s cap), maybe Jackson is the best choice.