The Detroit Pistons are trying to lure Stan Van Gundy to Auburn Hills, offering him a lucrative contract to become their next head coach while also assuming full control of basketball operations, league sources tell Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Pistons are reportedly competing with the Golden State Warriors for Van Gundy's services, although the Warriors aren't willing to cede control of the front office, according to Tim Kawakami.
Van Gundy has eight years experience coaching in the NBA, winning 64.1 percent of his games in the regular season and 55.2 percent in the playoffs. He last coached in the NBA during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, posting a 37-29 record with the Orlando Magic. He's won at least 50 games five times, not once posting a losing season, and took the Magic to one NBA Finals appearance in 2009.
An accomplished coach with a proven track record, Van Gundy has been considered one of the most sought-after coaches on the open market the last few seasons, but he's been very selective about showing any interest in available positions. The Pistons have hardly been a model of stability for any coach -- they've had 10 different head coaches in the last 15 years, including five in the last six -- but with the added bonus of having full control over basketball operations, Van Gundy could presumably enjoy as much job security as anybody in the league. He'd also have full rein to mold the team to suit his specific style, which has traditionally featured a dominant big man in the middle surrounded by a collection of 3-point shooting role players.
Before the Pistons settled on Mo Cheeks last summer, I spoke with Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post about Van Gundy's style of play and how it might mesh in Detroit. "I think Stan Van Gundy would work out well with any team, regardless of the roster," Dunlap said. "He's probably best known for his work with the Magic, whom he guided to the Finals in 2009 and to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010, and more specifically for having them shoot scads of three-pointers.
"What I don't think he gets enough credit for his is player development and his defense. Van Gundy built elite defenses in Orlando around Dwight Howard and a bunch of weak-to-average individual defenders like Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Türkoğlu. I think he could have a similar impact in Detroit with Andre Drummond, who has the physical tools to be every bit as brilliant defensively as Howard.
"Van Gundy also gets the most, by and large, from his players. Nelson, Türkoğlu, Mickaël Piétrus, and Lamar Odom (in Miami) had the best years of their careers under Van Gundy. So did Courtney Lee, whose development has stalled after a standout rookie season in Orlando. I think one reason for Van Gundy's success in this area is that he holds players accountable. For example, if a guy blows a defensive assignment, Van Gundy will take him out. Guys can't skate by on talent alone: Van Gundy attempts to divest them of their bad habits, and only after they've done that will they earn a spot in his rotation."
Update: Woj also reports the Pistons "had also expressed an interest in Steve Kerr in an GM-coaching role," but he's currently focused on sealing up talks with the Knicks. In any case, the fact the team is looking at multiple candidates to assume both responsibilities might explain why Mark Barnhill was so non-committal about which job might be filled first. Also:
Stan Van Gundy's seriously considering Pistons offer of full control, torn on that opportunity vs. coaching Warriors, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 13, 2014
I don't know if the Warriors and Van Gundy can re-open discussions. Doesn't sound like they will.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 13, 2014
Now your thoughts.