Stan Van Gundy, the official Detroit Pistons President, has preferred to walk out, as his team failed to make to the playoffs, for the second time this season.
Owner Tom Gores was terse, “We have decided that this change is necessary to take our basketball organization to the next level.”
Gores owned up that the decision was not hastily made and taken only after careful deliberation of the consequences.
“I am grateful to Stan for everything he’s done for the Pistons and for the City of Detroit. He rebuilt the culture of our basketball team, re-instilled a winning attitude and work ethic, and took us to the playoffs two years ago. He went all-in from day one to positively impact this franchise and this community,” he said.
There is an underplay to this story, according to some sources.
Differences over Bower
Though Gundy’s authority regarding personnel and staffing was undisputed, there was a difference between owner and president with respect to the General Manager, Jeff Bower. Apparently, Gundy was against the move. Bower continues to be GM, and most likely to lead the Piston to the draft combine in Chicago set for next week. Bower will be responsible for draft workouts as well as draft planning.
Nearly all contracts for the front office are set to expire this summer, and a stronger role is anticipated for Brent Barry.
Barry is head-hunted, and Golden State Warriors’ offer had to be overlooked because of the former’s TV commitments. Apparently, both sides were willing to consider part-time arrangements as well. The equation to be considered was that Barry would continue part-time with TNT until his contract ended with Golden State. However, the talks failed, and Barry continued to operate as before. However, at Pistons’ Barry’s role is expected to be different.
He would not be in charge of operations but would be more hands-on with the running of the business side of the team. The intention of both the owner and Chairman is to hire a front office executive who will independently manage the front office.
Tellem himself is expected to have a redefined role and may take on more responsibilities.
But, in the case of Gundy, all discussions between the President and owner appear to have fallen thoroughly. Though Bower is known to be Gundy’s protégé; he apparently had a one-to-one discussion with Gores, which appears to have triggered Gundy beyond reconciliation.
In explanation, Gores shared that, “He retooled a roster that we think can be very competitive in the East. I know he’s disappointed, and that he cares deeply about his players, his staff, this organization and this city. He’s also a professional who will make sure this is a seamless transition, and someone I hope will be a friend and adviser to me long after this transition is completed.”
Van Gundy had a five-year’ contract, but has been asked to leave a year early because of the team’s failure to make it to Eastern Conference playoffs in 2015-16 and now in 2018. The franchise is roster allows it to have a healthy season next year, but Van Gundy will miss the postseason this year.