The Pistons are headed toward their third losing season in Stan Van Gundy’s four years. They got swept by the Cavaliers in the first round in 2016. Detroit has little salary-cap flexibility and traded its first-round pick for Blake Griffin.
Rumors are circulating about Stan Van Gundy’s future as president and maybe even coach.
Pistons owner Tom Gores, via Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News:
“It’s about what happened this year, what we’re gonna do, our future,” Gores said. “Stan’s a team player. We’re not winning enough, so we have to talk about that.”
So, will Van Gundy be the coach next season?
“Stan and I have not discussed that,” Gores said. “I believe in Stan, but he’s a team player, so we’re gonna see. He’ll do exactly the right thing for this franchise. But right now he’s busy coaching this team. We’ll go from there.”
“Stan and I have no excuses, we have to win,” said Gores, adding there was no playoffs-or-else ultimatum. “We gotta deliver and we haven’t, but I think we will. And by the way, this team has not quit, I’ll tell you that. I’m not giving up on Stan, I’m not giving up on this team. I think Stan’s done a great job in certain areas, creating a good culture here. … (But) we’re not winning, so we gotta adjust something. Clearly we can’t be stubborn about anything, but I don’t think we’re that far off.”
That sounds like Van Gundy will accept losing his front-office power and remain as coach. Maybe Gores means something entirely different, but that’s how these remarks – repeatedly calling Van Gundy a ‘team player,’ saying he’s not giving up on Van Gundy, expressing dissatisfaction with the current status quo – sound.
Van Gundy proved his coaching chops with the Magic and Heat. Perhaps, he’d succeed if back in just that role.
None of his first-round picks – Stanley Johnson, Henry Ellenson and Luke Kennard – have panned out (yet?). Van Gundy has overpaid too many players – Jon Leuer, Langston Galloway and Boban Marjanovic – who’ve been on the fringe of the rotation.
The president isn’t giving the coach a break.
Gores sounds increasingly likely to change that power structure.