Detroit Pistons hire Stan Van Gundy as coach

DETROIT (Det. Free Press) -- Guess that's one way to interrupt the focus on the NBA playoffs and the Donald Sterling saga.

In confirming speculation that Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores was looking for a big name to control the franchise's direction, the organization has reached an agreement with former Miami Heat and Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons' head of basketball operations.

A person with firsthand knowledge of the Pistons' plans confirmed the news to the Free Press today. There is an expectation that an agreement could be announced soon — perhaps by the end of the week.

Van Gundy, 54, has a .641 winning percentage in two-plus seasons with the Heat (2003-05) and five with the Magic (2007-12).

Yahoo! Sports is reporting a possible five-year, $35-million contract is being negotiated.

But Gores would be taking the bold step of giving Van Gundy total control over personnel.

The person with firsthand knowledge of the Pistons' plans added that a general manager would be hired to report directly to Van Gundy. The person requested anonymity because a deal isn't finalized.

The Warriors reportedly were interested in Van Gundy for their coaching vacancy but can't offer the allure of final call on personnel decisions.

The Pistons would be joining the Clippers (Doc Rivers) and the Spurs (Gregg Popovich) with an organizational structure where the power rests with the coach.

Coaching and acquiring personnel often require different skill sets — a coach might have desires that result in short-term gain where an executive has to weigh long-term ramifications.

But obviously the Pistons would love it if Van Gundy produces Spurs-like results.

Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings tweeted: "I've always like Stan Van Gundy."

Van Gundy reached the NBA Finals with the Magic in 2009. Three years earlier, he resigned 21 games into the 2005-06 season with the Heat; Miami went on to win the NBA championship under Pat Riley.

Van Gundy coached Shaquille O'Neal with the Heat and Dwight Howard with the Magic. The Pistons offer Van Gundy the chance to work with another talented big man in Andre Drummond.

In the front office, Van Gundy would replace Dumars, who was re-assigned at the end of the season, following 14 seasons as president of basketball operations. Van Gundy also would be replacing interim coach John Loyer, who took over the team when first-year coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February after only 50 games.

Loyer is under contract through next season, so there is a chance he would remain as an assistant coach.

Yahoo! Sports reports that Van Gundy would look at former Magic GM Otis Smith for the GM position, but the person familiar with the situation told the Free Press that Smith would be just one of several names under consideration.

The Pistons haven't reached the postseason since 2009, the longest drought in the Eastern Conference.

Van Gundy's career record as NBA coach is 371-208 in the regular season and 48-39 in the postseason. He coached the 2005 and 2010 Eastern Conference All-Star teams as well.

Van Gundy spoke with an Orlando radio station last week about a possible return to the NBA.

"Part of me does, and part of me doesn't," Van Gundy said. "Look, we're so happy in central Florida. It would really have to be a great situation for me to get back in.

"I miss a lot of it. I really do. I miss the competition. I miss the challenge. I miss the camaraderie of it. But I also like the time that I've had, so we'll just have to see what happens. You weigh every situation."


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