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Report: Pistons’ owner wants Stan Van Gundy back to coach, front office changes

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It happened to Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta. It happened to Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Stan Van Gundy doesn’t want it to happen to him.

Budenholzer and Rivers were coaches with player/personnel control over their teams who were stripped of their front office responsibilities and were left with one job as the coach. Apparently, hat’s Pistons’ owner Tom Gores wants to do in some way in Detroit — something that had been rumored around the league for a while — but Van Gundy doesn’t want to join the trend, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores wants Stan Van Gundy to return as coach for the final year of his contract, but prefers that scenario include structural changes to the franchise’s front office, league sources told ESPN.

As president of basketball operations and coach, Van Gundy has had full authority on player personnel and staffing — but Gores has suggested changes that, so far, Van Gundy is resisting, league sources said….

Van Gundy and (day-to-day GM Jeff) Bower engineered the Blake Griffin trade in February, but played without starting point guard Reggie Jackson and Griffin for much final stretch of a 39-43 season because of injury. Together, Griffin and Jackson were 8-4. With Jackson in the lineup, the Pistons were 27-18 on the season.

When healthy, the Pistons are certainly a playoff team in the East. However, Van Gundy bet big on good players with injury histories — Griffin is at the front of that line — and there are a lot of teams around the league who could say “if we stayed healthy/things broke right we could have made the playoffs.” On the other side, there are teams with strong cultures that dealt with a lot of injuries — Boston, Utah, San Antonio — this season and are still playing.

What role Bowers would play in a revamped front office is unclear.

The Pistons also have former super agent Arn Tellem in their building. He was hired away from his agency to help run the business side of the Detroit operation and to guide the team into the new, downtown Little Ceasers arena they started playing in last October. With that part of his job complete, there are a lot of other front offices around the league who expect Tellem to ultimately get control of the Pistons’ basketball operations side. However, that has not happened yet, And may not ever.

Gores may be searching for a smooth transition where there is not one. What happens next is up in the air, but at the end of the day it’s Gores’ call.

Knicks miss first nine shots then fan hits half-courter for $10k (video)

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The Knicks missed their first nine shots of the season then called timeout.

That set the stage for a fan to show at least one person on New York’s side could shoot. The fan hit a half-court shot for $10,000.

Perhaps feeling the momentum, the Knicks came back for a 126-107 win over the Hawks.

Kobe Bryant dropped from film festival after backlash due to his 2003 rape charge

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Kobe Bryant has become acclaimed for his filmmaking, even winning an Oscar.

But his sustained prominence in basketball retirement, especially considering his new industry, has sparked questions about why he hasn’t been swept up by #MeToo. After all, Bryant admitted in 2004 to having sex with a woman who didn’t view the encounter as consensual the year prior. (That statement part of Bryant moving on and readily accepted by the public, which shows why a reckoning in our handling of sexual misconduct was so necessary.)

Bryant was selected to judge a film festival, but a petition emerged to prevent his participation. Apparently, 159 signatures were enough for the festival to change course.

Evan Real of The Hollywood Reporter:

Kobe Bryant has been removed from the Animation Is Film Festival jury following backlash stemming from a 2003 rape allegation. Though the former L.A. Lakers star was set to serve as a juror at the annual event this weekend in Hollywood, organizers announced on Wednesday that he will no longer participate.

On one hand, it’s not surprising the petition received just 159 signatures. Bryant remains highly popular and is beloved by many.

But this also shows the power of a relatively small number of voices speaking up.


Blake Griffin’s dunk attempt stuffed by Jarrett Allen. Again (video)

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Pistons star Blake Griffin learned his lesson after getting his dunk blocked by Nets center Jarrett Allen in the preseason. In the regular-season opener, Griffin went up even harder.

And Allen still stopped him!

Kevin Durant’s brother says Instagram comment wasn’t about star leaving Warriors this summer

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Rumors about Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors are intensifying. Even people within the Golden State organization are bracing themselves for him to depart in free agency next summer.

Not even the Warriors collecting their championship rings could stop the momentum.

In fact, last night’s celebration contributed to the noise.

Kevin’s brother, Tony, commented on Kevin’s Instagram post featuring the rings, “Filling the hand up before we get outta here!”

Rob Perez of The Action Network:

My best guess was “here” meant the Warriors’ arena in Oakland. This is their last season there before moving to a new arena in San Francisco Francisco.

Or maybe “here” meant in the NBA. Careers in the NBA are finite.

Another thought that crossed my mind: “Here” could have meant in this world. Lives, too, are finite.

The only clear part: Tony wants Kevin to win a handful of rings. The deadline is nebulous.

Of course, the loudest speculation was “here” meant playing for the Warriors and this being the last run. But Tony sharply denied that.


If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, perhaps Tony meant leaving Golden State after this season but Kevin just instructed him to downplay it to quiet chatter. I suppose that’s possible, though it wouldn’t jibe with Kevin’s tell-the-truth-about-free-agency approach.

Occam’s Razor suggests taking Tony at his word, and that’s what I’ll do.