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Otis Smith hired as head coach of Grand Rapids Drive

Sam Greenwood

Otis Smith will be reunited with Stan Van Gundy after all after being officially introduced as the new head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive, the Detroit Pistons' new D-League affiliate debuting this season.

Smith, who was once rumored to be in the running for Detroit's general manager job before Jeff Bower was hired, has been linked to the Drive's head coaching job for several weeks. Below is the Pistons' official press release announcing the move:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club is appointing Otis Smith as head coach of its NBA Development League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive. Per team policy, terms of the deal which is pending NBA approval, were not disclosed.

“I’m pleased to welcome Otis Smith to the Detroit Pistons organization as the head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive,” said Van Gundy. “Otis understands the vision and connectivity we want to create between the Detroit Pistons and the Grand Rapids Drive, our NBA D-League affiliate. His experiences as a general manager, director of player development and NBA player will pay dividends as he spearheads our efforts in Grand Rapids.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Otis into the Grand Rapids Drive organization,” said Steve Jbara, President of the Grand Rapids Drive. “His basketball and player development knowledge as well as his front office experience will be extremely beneficial moving forward with the franchise. There is no doubt in my mind that Otis is the right man for the job. Our fans and the local basketball community are in for a special season.”

Smith brings 25-plus years of basketball experience to the bench, most recently serving as the president of basketball operations and general manager of the Orlando Magic from 2010-12. Smith first joined Orlando as director of player development in 2003-04 and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2005-06 before being named general manager in May of 2006.

Under Smith’s leadership Orlando made the playoffs six times, recorded a franchise-record four straight seasons with 50-plus wins (2007-11), won three Southeast Division Titles (2007-10) and reached the NBA Finals in 2009. During his time with the Magic, the team accumulated a record of 299-177 (.628).

Prior to his time with Orlando, Smith spent the 2002-03 season as executive director of basketball operations with the Golden State Warriors. He also served as director of community relations/Warriors foundation for Golden State from 1999-02 and as community relations manager with the Orlando Magic from 1996-98. As a player, Smith appeared in 375 career NBA regular-season games with Denver, Golden State and Orlando, averaging 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 20.6 minutes.

Born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, Smith graduated from Jacksonville University in 1986.

The Detroit Pistons and Grand Rapids Drive entered into a single-affiliation partnership, beginning with the 2014-15 season, on April 15, 2014. The single-affiliation “hybrid” partnership allows the NBA team’s basketball operations department to oversee all personnel and basketball-related aspects of the team in Grand Rapids, while the NBA D-League’s ownership group will manage the team’s day-to-day business operations and community relations.