Stan Van Gundy Rumors
Another luminary in favor of the Pistons’ transfer to downtown Detroit: Stan Van Gundy. “Exciting move,” the Pistons head coach said following Wednesday’s shootaround, which preceded tonight’s 7:30 p.m. game against Miami at The Palace. “I believe Dave Bing has made the point,” Van Gundy continued, referring to the former Detroit mayor and Pistons star from the ‘60s and ‘70s, “that more than any other sport, basketball is a city game. More than any sport, basketball belongs in the city.”
“The only thing I’ve heard (from various fans) is there isn’t enough to do here (Palace region) before and after a game,” Van Gundy said. Van Gundy wasn’t so sure a venue with downtown energy would have great influence on free agents the Pistons might court. “I think a brand new arena is always attractive,” Van Gundy said, “but I don’t want to overblow it. In my experience, it usually comes down to money.”
Stan Van Gundy confirmed pregame Monday starting point guard Reggie Jackson has been cleared for contact drills in practice and could begin those as soon as Tuesday. “How much, I don’t know,” Van Gundy said. “But that he’ll be able to do some. And quite honestly, (it) will be a lot like last year when Brandon (Jennings) was coming back. You sort of structure your practice around those guys when they’re coming back.” Jackson has been rehabbing his left knee since Oct. 10, when he had plasma injection therapy to treat tendinitis.
The Pistons dropped their third straight game Saturday, a 94-92 loss to the Boston Celtics at the Palace that saw the returning Al Hoford score the winning basket with 1.3 seconds left. Afterward, Van Gundy, visibly frustrated and drained mentally, was second-guessing his decision to remove All-Star center Andre Drummond with 30 seconds left. “Had he been in the game, we’d probably get the rebound and we’re probably still playing instead of me talking to you. “Not that I don’t enjoy talking to you guys and everything — but that could have waited another 45 minutes.”
However, another player in a contract season may not return to the Pistons. “Aron [Baynes] is a really good player and I said this after the last game, we’re going to be in a difficult situation by the [CBA] rules of trying to re-sign him next summer,” Van Gundy said. “I’m supposed to downplay him, not play him up and tell you, ‘You know, that guy’s a pretty solid backup,’ but the bottom line is he’s a starting-caliber NBA center who we’re very lucky to have as a backup.”