Stan Van Gundy keeping an eye on Brandon Jennings
With free agency looming, Brandon Jennings will be garnering a lot of attention from a range of teams looking to bolster their backcourt, and the Pistons still figure among his suitors relays MLive's Aaron McMann. As Stan Van Gundy explained to the assembled media prior to last week's Pistons - Magic matchup, he made sure to keep tabs on his former point guard.
"It wasn't just how well he played over those 15 games (last season), it was everything," Van Gundy said. "It was his emotion. His swagger. He really just changed the mood of the team, the mood of the locker room, and everything else.
"I'm not only glad for him this year, but we'll keep an eye on what goes on this summer with him, because (we) really hope gets in a great, great situation for him. Because he deserves it."
Could the Pistons be that great situation? With Steve Blake's contract finishing up at the end of the season and no clear cut replacement in sight, there could be an argument made that Brandon Jennings could make a Pistons comeback. Prior to the trade, Brandon had expressed his desire to stay in Motown, and that he would embrace a bench role, so could that still be in the cards?
As David Mayo reports, Van Gundy has indicated the team will look for quicker, more athletic players with solid defensive abilities to add to the roster during the summer, and that off the dribble creators will also feature highly on his shopping list, attributes that don't necessarily fit Swag's resume.
Only time will tell whether or not a reunion will happen, but with the offseason quickly approaching, expect to see the mercurial floor general to generate his fair share of interest around the League. The Pistons, on the other hand, will only have Spencer Dinwiddie available to back up Reggie Jackson once the season comes to an end, and they will more than likely be in the market for a backup point guard over the summer.
Darko Milicic criticizes NBA, happy to have left basketball career behind
Milicic has made his yearly incursion into the NBA news rotation with the former pivot opening up to Serbian news outlet Blic, where Darko talks bout many different aspects of his career in the League (H/T HoopsHype for the translation). Milicic, of course, was taken with the second overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Detroit Pistons, and has played with six different NBA over the course of his 10 seasons in the Association, during which he averaged 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
Darko tells Blic that his age and attitude worked against him when he initially joined the NBA, but that it was the League's "cruel" system that was the reason for his downfall and lack of success -- a claim SBNation's Jesus Gomez explores more in depth.
"Their system is cruel and I don't like it. If a young player doesn't succeed, they don't look after him. That sucks. You have players who are first or second in the draft that get a chance to play. I didn't get the chance. LBJ is a killer now, but he did get a chance in his first year, he could shoot from the stands if he wanted. I barely got the chance. I had that situation in Orlando where if I shoot from perimeter, my coach Hill would yell, "Pass to Howard." In Detroit nothing went right. Larry Brown always told me to go near the basket. They offered me a $40 million, four-year contract in Orlando, and then their manager blows it off, out of nowhere. My manager told me he would deal with it. I said OK, but just not Memphis. Anywhere but there. And, of course, I went to Memphis. Then I got injured, didn't play much.
"I don't miss basketball. I live very well, thank God. I have my interests, interests in agriculture"
Milicic also talks about wanting to leave the NBA only to be picked up by the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics, both team whom he criticized for not keeping their promises regarding role and playing time. American players were also an issue for Darko, with the Serb unable to bond with them because he wasn't interested in joining in on their conversations about "who dunked on whom, who crossed over whom".
The former Piston victory cigar hasn't set foot on the hardwood since leaving the NBA in 2013, and has since picked up a career in kick-boxing. He has continued his renowned off-court antics, being filmed chugging beer and pouring some into the mouths of his tattoos last year, although it still pales in comparison to my favorite Darko story to date -- Darko doesn't trust banks, keeps his cash stuffed in his mattress.
What is your favorite Darko memory? Tell us in the comments below.
Tweet of the Week
Strength coach said it makes sense that Ironman is my favorite superhero cuz I act like Stark. Was that a compliment? Lol— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) March 25, 2016