Otis Smith Rumors

Smith, 51, insists he harbors no ill will toward the franchise. “I don’t know why it would leave a bitter taste in my mouth,” he said. “I think I decided I was going to walk out of the door one day almost the same way I walked in and never be heard from again. And pretty much until this point in time, that’s been the truth. I kind of walked in almost the same way. “It was the DeVoses’ keys. When they decide to ask for them and they want them, they can get them. Or else if I didn’t see things running the way I thought it should run, then I was going to walk out the door. I thought it ended the way it should have.”
Smith was named coach of the Drive last week in what was a Detroit-Grand Rapids game of match the personnel with the title. Smith, formerly the general manager of the Magic, will take on his first professional coaching job, and it will be under Van Gundy, who was a coach and under Smith in Orlando before he was named the president and head coach of the Pistons in May. Adding to the twist, Smith also interviewed to be general manager of the Pistons, a position Van Gundy eventually gave to another long-time associate Jeff Bower. That makes an interesting mix of 50-somethings. But not strange bedfellows, the three said. “I think Otis’ interest in being the (Pistons) GM was more because of me and how he could help me,” Van Gundy said. “He was much more enthusiastic about this opportunity than he would have been to be the GM. People look at that and say, you’re crazy. But I think this is more of Otis’ passion. It’s always been working and developing players for him and that fits perfectly with what we want to do (in Grand Rapids).”
Bower, 53, adds another element. He was a coach last season at Marist before named in early June the Pistons GM. A former assistant general manager with the New Orleans Hornets, Bower said he has known Smith for years, through his association with Van Gundy, and did not consider his hiring a threat. “When Stan talked to me, I thought he was the perfect guy because he embodies everything that the developmental league is all about,” Bower said. “He’s great for this. It (the NBA-D League) is about getting the best out of guys.”