Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy, via Brendan Savage of MLive:
“No,” Van Gundy said Tuesday. “We went through a very thorough process and we made the decision we made for the reasons that we thought it was too much risk.
“Look, I feel bad for him, too, because I understand his points in terms of his value and everything else. But we felt we had to make the decision we made.”
Guys are going to have negative reactions to things like that and I think you have to give them the room to have that. He’s got the right to have whatever reaction he wants to have. I’m not resentful of that at all. I don’t take that personally at all.
Just as Motiejunas had little option but to defend his health entering free agency, Van Gundy must defend his process. The Pistons president needs to convince other general managers and agents negotiating deals with him that he won’t back out and leave them in a precarious situation. He might even need to convince Motiejunas, whom Detroit could still chase in free agency.
But I especially love Van Gundy’s outlook that Motiejunas deserves space to air his grievances. Van Gundy is very much not a micromanaging tyrant. He clearly respects his players as men, giving them free reign to hold their own views.
Remember that famous press conference where Van Gundy told the media Dwight Howard wanted him fired then ceded the stage to an unsuspecting Howard? Van Gundy’s sips of pop and Howard’s befuddled response are the lasting images. But I loved how Van Gundy said he could continue to coach Howard, because sometimes employees dislike their bosses and still produce good work. That’s excellent perspective.
Motiejunas might not be happy, but this illustrates why Van Gundy’s players seem to like playing for him.