Stan Van Gundy Rumors
But if you expand the definition of “off-season” to include the decision to allocate a big chunk of their available cap space in the February trade for Tobias Harris, then Van Gundy becomes even more enthusiastic about the makeover general manager Jeff Bower’s front office, under Van Gundy’s direction, was able to achieve. “People forget that over half of the potential cap space was used on Tobias Harris during the year,” Van Gundy said. “So you really have to look, even though we did it at the trade deadline, that was a cap space move that allowed us going forward to do it and still be able to acquire other guys. So I throw Tobias into that. When you look at him in that group, to me it’s definitely an A (grade).”
“We wanted to add more size at that spot but not give up athleticism, not give up shooting, and Jon Leuer was really the only guy out there that we thought fit everything that we wanted in that spot. Shot 38 percent from three, 6-foot-11. He’s a very good athlete with great quickness. He’s a guy we had our eye on for a couple of years and we just thought would be a really good fit to what we wanted.” The Pistons had just enough cap space left after addressing those two critical needs to entertain what Van Gundy called “an outside-the-box move” – the offer sheet to San Antonio’s Marjanovic as a restricted free agent. They correctly gauged that San Antonio, after coming to terms with Pau Gasol, wouldn’t have enough cap space left to match their offer to Marjanovic.
It was motivated in large measure by their look ahead to 2017 when they (a) expect Baynes to opt out, (b) question their ability to match a similarly aggressive offer sheet and (c) expect a thin crop of free-agent centers to replace Baynes, if it comes to that. “We’ve probably got more true centers than anybody in a league that’s going away from true centers, but looking at Aron’s situation – and the part that people understand is he’ll opt out, probably, based on the salaries we saw this year – and the part they don’t understand is if he opts out and because he’s only been here two years, we’re limited in how far we can go in our offer. It wasn’t a matter of you don’t want to pay him or you don’t think he’s worth it. It’s that we’re limited.”
It will be interesting to see how the Pistons handle the situation. The team is already projected to be over the cap for the 2017-18 season, and a Caldwell-Pope extension would almost assuredly put the Pistons into luxury tax territory. But owner Tom Gores told the Free Press recently he has no qualms about being a taxpayer. “Look, if we weren’t building a core, there’s really no point in paying the luxury tax,” Gores said. “Because we are building a core, would I do it? Yeah, absolutely. So you say go into the luxury tax for nothing, then that would be silly because then we’re putting the franchise behind. But given that we have such a good core, if that’s what it took, and we feel we’ve made such progress this year, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it because we want to keep getting better.”
Langlois: The Pistons made their move for Boban Marjanovic with the expectation that Aron Baynes will opt out of his contract next summer, Kamal. They will be limited in what they can offer him given that they will have only partial Bird rights and they felt it was better than 50-50 that another team – understanding the position the Pistons would be in, just as the Pistons gauged the difficulty San Antonio would have in matching an offer sheet to Marjanovic – would shape an offer that would hamper their ability to retain Baynes. If Baynes is injured and opts in, it wouldn’t have any impact on their ability to retain Caldwell-Pope. They’ll have his full Bird Rights and can go over the salary cap to keep him. It might require them to exceed the luxury tax limit, as well. That will be a discussion Stan Van Gundy and Pistons owner Tom Gores will need to have, but Gores has indicated he would be willing to do so if circumstances dictated its logic.
Team president-coach Stan Van Gundy has completely overturned the roster (only Drummond and Caldwell-Pope remain from May 2014). Did you expect the quick turnaround? Gores: “He’s done a great job. First of all, he’s brought the organization together. He hired (general manager) Jeff Bower. A lot of people questioned Stan coming, in terms of could he really be a president and a coach. And I’ve seen him be a president and a coach, but also a leader and an executive that really understands how to run a business. He’s running the business of basketball. He’s done an excellent job. During the season, it’s a very hard job, but his partner, Jeff Bower, really keeps him informed. He knows what Stan wants. He doesn’t have to call Stan and figure out what he wants so they’re very in sync.