The Pistons have missed the playoffs in three of Van Gundy’s four seasons as coach and president of basketball operations. He has one year remaining on his contract and there has been speculation that Gores will have vice chairman Arn Tellem take over the personnel role and ask Van Gundy to focus solely on coaching. Then it would become Van Gundy’s decision whether to remain with the organization.
Stan Van Gundy heard the reports on Tuesday. And he wanted everyone to know: They "don't mean a damn thing." Van Gundy, the Detroit Pistons' president and head coach, spoke with reporters on Tuesday, the same day Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the franchise was interested in bringing in former star Chauncey Billups to work with team vice chairman Arn Tellem in a "revamped front office."
Pistons spokesman Mark Barnhill called Stein's report "False" in a one-word text message to the Free Press on Tuesday. Barnhill later said, “Stan is in charge, and we’ll sit down with him after the last game to review this season and start preparing for the next one. We all want the same thing: To win.”
James Edwards III: Stan Van Gundy on today’s rumor [about Chauncey Billups potentially joining the Pistons front office]: “The only thing I care about is losing. ... that’s the only thing that keeps me up at night. Tom will make a decision.”
Rod Beard: Chauncey Billups on talk of taking #Pistons front-office job: "It’s 100-percent false. I haven’t spoken to anybody with the organization about the possibility."
Where all this would leave Van Gundy, though, remains to be seen. Would Van Gundy, as he nears the end of the fourth season in his original five-year, $35 million deal, be willing to stay with the Pistons in a coaching-only role if his decision-making power is handed to Tellem or Billups or both? Will Van Gundy even have that option? The most recent signals coming from both Van Gundy and the Detroit owner Tom Gores would suggest that a mutual parting at season’s end is a growing possibility.
Marc J. Spears: “I’m very happy with the on-air opportunities ESPN has given me to talk about the NBA in the studio & at games. Of course, I love my Pistons & Detroit. But I would never push for a job with any NBA franchise that is not open. That’s not part of my character,” - Chauncey Billups.
Marc Stein: Detroit has expressed interest in hiring the former Pistons star Chauncey Billups to work in tandem with Arn Tellem in a totally revamped front office, according to league sources
Nate Duncan: What do you make of recent comments by [Pistons owner] Tom Gores' about Stan Van Gundy [being] a team player, and that they're evaluating things? Marc Stein: Everyone in the league is sort of looking at Detroit and saying, 'How broad will the change be'? They're gonna miss the playoffs, the Blake Griffin gamble, to this point, has not worked. You have to assume that at the least, Stan Van Gundy will lose his front-office power. I think I reported about a month ago that the rumblings are out there that Arn Tellem, the long-time power agent who's been running the business side with Detroit for the last two or three years, that he would take over the basketball side of things. Those rumblings are even louder now.
Tom Gores has a big decision to make. Apparently, so might Stan Van Gundy. That was the logical conclusion from the owner’s rare public comments at Little Caesars Arena Friday night. If you sift through the ambiguity, Gores is considering a change after the season, as the Pistons meander to the finish. With a polite — and purposeful — non-committal on Van Gundy’s future, Gores might have begun the process of parting ways. With the Pistons likely to miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, it’s not a surprise.
Would Gores outright fire Van Gundy? I’m not sure it’ll come to that. When the two meet, my guess is, it’ll be amicable, and might end up being mutual. Gores could remove one of Van Gundy’s dual roles — president of basketball operations — and perhaps give him the last season of his contract solely to coach. At 58, Van Gundy might prefer to walk away than accept a new arrangement. “It’s about what happened this year, what we’re gonna do, our future,” Gores said. “Stan’s a team player. We’re not winning enough, so we have to talk about that.”
Van Gundy did a good job early here, completely remaking a woeful team, with Andre Drummond the only inherited player remaining. But amid curious moves, shifting directions and key injuries, it has stalled. “I think Tom and I are totally on the same page,” Van Gundy said. “Our team’s playing hard, I like the guys we’ve had, some things have happened out of our control. But I’m not looking to make excuses. This business is about winning games, and we haven’t been doing enough of that. … I’ve been through this several times, but never this upfront and direct, and never with this kind of relationship with an owner. I have total respect for Tom. I love the way I’ve been treated here, but I also understand and respect Tom has to do what he thinks is best for the franchise.”
But might Van Gundy also have a decision to make, if Gores removes the president’s role (and full personnel control) but offers to keep him as coach? It has been reported in NBA circles that Gores could elevate Arn Tellem, his vice chairman since 2015, to head of basketball operations. “Yeah, I guess I have a decision to make too, you always do,” Van Gundy said. “It’s a two-way thing, but it’s really him first.”
Van Gundy doesn’t seem inclined to campaign to keep both jobs, or either job. He has said this is his last coaching stop, and reiterated he’s fine with whatever happens. “I’ve said before, if I’m not here next year, I’m not chasing jobs anywhere else,” Van Gundy said. “You can come look for me on my lake in the summer here, or my porch in Florida in the winter. What decision Tom’s gonna make at the end of the year, that doesn’t worry me even a little bit.”
Rod Beard: I asked #Pistons SVG about the report that he won't be team president next season: "It’s Tom (Gores') team and he’ll make whatever decisions he wants to make and we’ll go from there. Nothing has been broached with me, so I’m not even going to comment on it."
Stan Van Gundy is expected to at least lose his role as team president in Detroit, if not also his coaching duties, with Pistons exec Arn Tellem waiting in the wings to take over the basketball operations. Tellem, one of pro sports’ top agents for the better part of 25 years, has been Pistons VP and owner Tom Gores’ right-hand man since 2015. Speculation is that Van Gundy will need to make the playoffs to keep his coaching job.
While former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is prominent in chatter about the Charlotte Hornets’ front office opening, he won’t be the only candidate. Another established name with interest is Detroit Pistons general manager Jeff Bower.
Bower is No. 2 in the Pistons’ front office, working for Stan Van Gundy, who runs the basketball operation as coach and team president. According to a source familiar with the situation, Bower and Van Gundy are both under contract with the Pistons through the end of this season. That same source said Bower, 56, would definitely be interested in the Hornets’ opening. Bower worked in Charlotte previously, in the original Hornets’ front office.
If [Blake Griffin] been a free agent in 2017 and it would have cost the Pistons Harris and Bradley to sign him, no one would have thought twice about it. He’s a superstar, and the Pistons, as much as they try to promote All-Star Andre Drummond, don’t have one. “We’re serious about winning and we’re not afraid to make a bold move and seize the opportunity,” Gores said via e-mail Sunday night. “Chances like this don’t come along very often. The move is not without risk and we gave up a lot to get him. We know that basketball is a game full of risk, but it was really clear that he is worth it.”
People throughout the league had indicated just after the New Year that the Clippers were making Blake Griffin available in potential trade scenarios. But this specific deal didn’t come to fruition until near the end of the month. And Gores didn’t hesitate when the proposed deal was put on his table. “Don’t really want to get into internal discussions,” Stan Van Gundy said, “but it didn’t take much selling. Tom was all for it.” Said Tom Gores: “I was involved from the beginning of the discussions. Once we realized this was a real deal, that it was a real opportunity, I told our guys we should get it done. Keep our young guys, keep some flexibility, but get it done.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons Stan Van Gundy on another possible trade: "(GM Jeff Bower) is always working. I don’t know that we will do anything or we won’t. I couldn’t put a percentage on the possibilities, but Jeff is still working. "
Rod Beard: #Pistons Stan Van Gundy on trading for another significant piece, to create a "Big Three": "To me, the third piece is Reggie (Jackson). That’s pretty good. That’s a pretty good three. We’ve got it in place; we just don’t have it on the court right now."
Marc Stein: Before the Blake Griffin trade, the buzziest thing that was coming out of Detroit, and I've heard this from multiple rival teams in the last couple of weeks, there seems to be an anticipation that Arn Tellem, who, of course, is one of the most successful agents in this league's history, and has been running the Pistons business side for two-plus years now, there is a lot of chatter that, don't be surprised if Arn Tellem ends up running the Pistons basketball operations in the near future.
Not that Van Gundy is likely to be terribly concerned about the down-the-road financial implications of this trade for the Pistons should the Griffin/Drummond tag team fail to flourish. The deal comes with Van Gundy running out of time to deliver some certifiable progress in the fourth season of a lucrative five-year deal to serve as Detroit’s coach and team president. It also comes at a time when rival team executives have been buzzing about the prospect of longtime player agent Arn Tellem, who has been heading up the Pistons’ business side as vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment since June 2015, succeeding Van Gundy as the head of Detroit’s basketball operations.
Tobias Harris: Detroit, From the day I got here it’s been nothing but love. I want to thank every last one of you for the amazing support, the hospitality, the snow, The games at the Palace and Little Caesar’s, the cheers, the boos, hearing y’all scream DETROIT, followed by BASKETBALL!! It’s been amazing. Gods path leads you in many directions, I’m excited to start the next chapter. Want to give a true thank you to my teammates it’s been a blessing to work with you everyday. Want to thank Tom Gores and Coach Van Gundy, true professionals and first class men. Blessings to you Detroit. Thank you🙏🏽🙏🏽
Owner Tom Gores said he still has faith in Van Gundy, who signed a five-year deal in 2014. "Do I believe in Stan? Absolutely," Gores said Wednesday during a news conference prior to the season-opening 102-90 victory over the Charlotte Hornets at Little Caesars Arena.
"Do I feel good about the model? I feel good about the model," Gores said. "Stan has a lot of support around him, whether it's (general manager) Jeff Bower, and then he has support that probably (media) don't even know about. He has a lot of support. So, I believe in the model. We're seeing this through, absolutely."
Gores said his goal for the team is to be competitive and return to the playoffs. "My consultants told me not to say we have any expectations, but truth is we do," Gores said. "We have to be competitive. That's what Stan wants. Of course, we want to get into the playoffs. If there's a moment I sit up here and tell you we're not, I think you should fire me."
Just as Van Gundy had the word of Pistons owner Tom Gores that it was OK to wade into luxury tax territory to retain Caldwell-Pope, he expects the same marching orders next summer to keep Bradley. “In the right situation for the right people, Tom’s more than willing to pay the tax,” Van Gundy said. “I think about half the league’s going to be paying the tax this year. Tom’s not opposed to that.”
It’s also not a fait accompli that the Pistons will need to cross that threshold to retain Bradley. Van Gundy, general manager Jeff Bower and associate GM Pat Garrity, the organization’s point man on cap issues, have game planned for multiple scenarios with regard to the cap and roster for next summer. “We’ve got other strategies,” Van Gundy said. “The finances will not inhibit our ability to re-sign Avery at whatever it takes. If we’re in a situation where we want Avery back and Avery wants to be here, we’ll be able to bring him back.”
As assistant general manager Justin Zanik is preparing the franchise for the NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to reach out to potential general manager candidates and plan to begin formal interviews on Monday, league sources told The Vertical. The Bucks were granted permission to speak with several more GM candidates late this week, including Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Bill Branch, Miami Heat assistant GM Adam Simon and Detroit Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, league sources told The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Milwaukee has received permission to talk to two more GM candidates: Miami's Adam Simon and Detroit's Pat Garrity.
Marc Stein: NBA Draft scuttle: Hearing Detroit is open to discussing trades for its No. 12 overall pick in hopes of acquiring more of a win-now veteran.
But Van Gundy reiterated that it won’t hinder the Pistons’ other potential plans in free agency, as they are nearly fully committed in their current roster. “It doesn’t really slow us down a lot because it’s not like we have a lot of cap space,” Van Gundy said. “More than likely, the guys we could pursue in most cases — as the situation stands now, unless something changes before then — would be guys that would be later in the (process) anyway.”
“It was a disappointment: I think we’d be lying if we said anything else,” Van Gundy said Friday, joined by general manager Jeff Bower at his season-ending press conference at The Palace. “But I don’t think it’s the end of our process or final verdict on our team. I think we’re still moving forward.”
The Pistons announced their 100,000-square-foot facility in partnership with Henry Ford Health System last month and released artist’s sketches, but many of the details of what will go into the future home of the team – offices for basketball operations and the business side will move to the Detroit campus as well as the team’s practice headquarters – are still in development. “We’re still in the design phase,” general manager Jeff Bower said. “We’re still adding and researching different components. Things will change, but not substantially.”
One feature of the new practice facility will be two regulation-size NBA courts side by side. Their current practice facility on the grounds of The Palace has only one court with baskets at each end and an additional basket on either side of the half-court line extended. “We’ve got four baskets when we shoot (in drill work),” Van Gundy said. “You’ve got to make sure all four baskets are working on the right side so you’re not bumping into each other. Now you’ve got a lot more room to do things. And we’ve also done a lot of after-practice playing on days we’re light. Eight of the lower-minute guys are playing full court while other guys have to wait if they want to shoot. Now they wouldn’t have to, so there’s actually a lot of benefit to it.”
On Saturday, Gores had a three-hour meeting with Van Gundy. The owner and coach both emerged with excitement about the Pistons' future despite that poor six-week stretch since early December. "We've got a bump in the road, and that's what success is about -- you have to work through it. It's all about having rough times and your ability to work through," Gores told reporters. "I never worry about Stan, because he wants to win. He's the hardest worker I've ever seen in my life. I believe in him as a man and I believe in him as a strong person."
Gores said Sunday he believes the Pistons "are going to make a run" this season. "[Gores'] thing was not to overreact to six weeks out of what has been a 2½-year process,'' Van Gundy said. "It was good to sit down and talk through things and get his perspective on things.''
Detroit averaged just 87 points per game at Staples Center during the drought, losing by 32 to the Clippers back in November, with Gores present. "For Tom, it was long overdue," Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson said. "We haven't gotten a win this building yet, and 'Dre, KCP, they haven't necessarily got one since they've been here. I haven't gotten once since I'e been in the Pistons organization. We owed it to him to get him a win." Gores sat court side with his wife and Platinum Equity business associates as the Pistons fell behind by double digits early.
Keith Langlois: I do think the Pistons are probably at a point where Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower wouldn’t be quite as opposed to trades that represent at least a slight risk to the future. Key word: “slight.” I don’t think you’re going to see them dangling a No. 1 pick for a rental if they’re scrapping for a playoff berth. One example that comes to mind: the Milwaukee Bucks, at 26-25, sent a 19-year-old Tobias Harris (and Beno Udrih) to Orlando at the 2013 trade deadline for free-agent-to-be J.J. Redick. The Bucks finished 38-44 and got swept in four double-digit losses to Miami in the first round and then saw Redick leave as a free agent. (They then drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo, so I guess it all worked out OK.) That’s the type of trade I wouldn’t see them making.
Keith Langlois: The picture likely will be much clearer for them and help dictate their course. But I’d put the odds of Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Bower dealing a No. 1 pick as somewhere between “remote” and “snowball’s chance in hell.”
A reshuffling is underway among the leadership group at Palace Sports & Entertainment, the organizational entity over the Detroit Pistons. Vice chairman Arn Tellem and Bob Wentworth, a key figure of the ownership group, will now oversee business operations, while PS&E president and CEO Dennis Mannion will move into a new role, a person with firsthand knowledge of the process told the Free Press on Saturday. Pistons vice president of public relations Kevin Grigg confirmed the news but declined further comment.
When rumors of the Pistons moving have bubbled to the surface in the past, Platinum Equity spokesman Mark Barnhill has said three criteria must be met to even consider such a move: The Pistons must be an equal partner in the new arena, not just a tenant. The Pistons want to get a return on the substantial improvements made to the Palace of Auburn Hills since Gores bought the team. The Pistons have to ensure that the move doesn’t negatively impact season-ticket holders and sponsors.
The Detroit Pistons announced today several promotions and four new additions to the basketball operations staff. Pat Garrity (associate general manager), Adam Glessner (director, player personnel) and J.R. Holden (director, international scouting) have been promoted to senior leadership positions within the department. “We are pleased to complete our basketball operations staff for the upcoming season and look forward to the contributions of those who have been promoted and those who join our organization,” said General Manager Jeff Bower. “Pat Garrity, Adam Glessner and J.R. Holden have been a major part of our staff over the last three seasons and their promotion to senior leadership positions is a natural progression. Their effectiveness and unique skill sets will allow our basketball operations staff to evolve seamlessly moving forward.”
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.
Detroit Pistons Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy announced today promotions and restructuring within the basketball operations staff. Pat Garrity has been promoted to assistant general manager, Andrew Loomis to chief of staff and Bob Beyer to associate head coach. Otis Smith joins the Pistons’ staff as director of player development/assistant coach while assistant coach Brendan Malone will transition to a special assignment scout, residing in New York. Quentin Richardson is leaving the organization for personal reasons.
Detroit Pistons Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy announced today that the team has signed general manager Jeff Bower to a contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the job Jeff has done for our organization,” said Van Gundy. “He’s been at the forefront of all the moves we’ve made over the last two seasons and has implemented much of the strategy and structure throughout our basketball operations department. The confidence I have in his ability allows me to go out and coach during the season knowing that he’s always looking to make our team better.”
Pistons Owner Tom Gores praised Bower’s work shaping the roster and contributing to a cohesive leadership team. "Jeff has been a key link for Stan and me and the whole organization to accomplish many things in a very short period of time,” said Gores. “His ingenuity, along with having a deep understanding of Stan’s basketball vision, has very quickly helped us toward our goal of long term sustained success. He deserves a lot of the credit for getting us to the playoffs and assembling a cohesive, young team that will continue to grow."
Vincent Ellis: To confirm earlier @WojVerticalNBA report, #Pistons GM Jeff Bower gets 1-year extension. Under contract until June 30, 2018.
Detroit Pistons general manager Jeff Bower has reached agreement on a multiyear contract extension, league sources told The Vertical. Bower, who works under president and coach Stan Van Gundy, was entering the final season of his original three-year deal, league sources said. Van Gundy signed a five-year, $35 million contract in 2014.
May 6, 2021 | 8:00 pm EDT Update
Eric Walden: Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley remain OUT Friday vs. the Nuggets. Juwan Morgan is also OUT (right heel soreness). But Udoka Azubuike is PROBABLE after missing most of the season with a right ankle sprain.
May 6, 2021 | 7:13 pm EDT Update
Scott Agness: Nate Bjorkgren on hanging in there considering internal discourse: “I feel OK. There’s been a lot of ups and downs the last few days. There’s nothing easy about it. Lots of challenges coming at you.” Players have spoken up about sticking together + working to find a rhythm.
Alex Schiffer: Nets starting lineup in Dallas: Irving, Shamet, Durant, Harris and Griffin. That’s Brooklyn’s 35th different starting five of the year, a franchise record. Nets only trail Houston in terms of different lineups.
Brad Townsend: George Bush on the portrait he painted of @Dirk Nowitzki: I knew the portrait would be around for a while, so I purposely made him skinny.” On a more serious note: “I think if people look at the portrait, they’ll see a determined guy.”