James Edwards III: The #Nets’ Trajan Langdon is a front office name I’ve been hearing for a few weeks. Has a background in scouting, too. Only 42.
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Rod Beard: Keep an eye on Trajan Langdon as the potential #Pistons general manager. Shane Battier is also a possibility but with Stefanski in place, they could choose to go with a younger, less-experienced GM who could grow into a bigger role.
Television analyst Brent Barry, a 14-year NBA veteran and two-time champion, is a front-runner to land in a complementary role in the Pistons’ front office. Popular ex-Pistons player Tayshaun Prince — who is completing his first year in the Memphis front office — will also be a strong candidate to join Stefanski in Detroit, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Detroit Pistons have hired Grizzlies executive Ed Stefanski as a senior advisor responsible for overhauling the franchise’s basketball operations, league sources told ESPN. Stefanski will assess the current front office, and oversee the process of hiring a GM and coach.
Stefanski, who will report to owner Tom Gores, has a three-year contract and will be tasked with overseeing the assemblage of a new Detroit front office and coordinating a head-coaching search in Detroit’s post-Stan Van Gundy era.
“I’m going to Detroit to meet with all the employees and I am going to listen to all their thoughts and visions,” Stefanski told ESPN. “And then I am going to give advice to our owner Tom Gores on how we are going to structure things going forward. The big thing right now, though, is that we need a head coach and a GM. Those will be two items that we will probably do simultaneously.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Ed Stefanski tells ESPN on priority with Pistons: “The big thing right now … is that we need a head coach and a GM. Those will be two items that we will probably do simultaneously.” Stefanski will meet with current GM Jeff Bower and discuss possible role. They have long history
The Pistons’ new front office, centered on Stefanski, will look closely at hiring a rising front-office executive in a general-manager-type role, league sources said. Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager Trajan Langdon met with Detroit officials to discuss such a high-level role and will remain a serious candidate, league sources said.
Vincent Ellis: Also, it’s highly likely Dwane Casey will be a candidate for the coaching opening … as soon as they fill the president of basketball ops post. Time frame for president spot? Sometime around the first week of June.
Current Pistons general manager Jeff Bower has been told by Gores he would be considered for the team president opening, a source confirmed to the Free Press.
Several NBA officials expressed favorable opinions of Stefanski, 64, this week in Chicago. “Very qualified, well respected,” a rival front office executive said. Stefanski has held general manager posts with the 76ers (2007-11) and New Jersey Nets (2004-07).
Diamond Leung: Liberty’s Isiah Thomas on Pistons having job openings: “Am I interested in Detroit? One hundred percent. And anything the Pistons ask of me or want me to do, I would listen. But I am definitely interested and would want to listen to what they have to say.”
Kristian Winfield: Charles Barkley on Pistons front office: “I would like for the Pistons to consider bringing in Isiah Thomas as the president of basketball operations.” Shaq: “I second that motion.”
Rod Beard: Interesting nugget: SVG tells me: “When it came down to this, I was perfectly willing to only go in one role and to give up the front office and go into (just) coaching. I didn’t fight to hang on to that at all. I was more than willing to just move over into the (coaching) role.”
Vincent Ellis: Very preliminary, but David Griffin as GM and Jerry Stackhouse and Mike Budenholzer for coach are potential names to look at with the #Pistons.
Jeff Bower will continue to operate as the GM, league sources said. He is expected to lead Detroit’s contingent at the draft combine in Chicago next week and oversee the team’s individual draft workouts and draft planning. The rest of the front-office staff is expected to continue, too — until further notice. Most of Detroit’s front-office contracts expire this summer.
As president of basketball operations and coach, Van Gundy had full authority on player personnel and staffing, but Gores had suggested changes — including ones related to general manager Jeff Bower — that Van Gundy resisted, sources said.
Gores and chairman Arn Tellem are expected to try to hire an experienced league executive to oversee the front office. Tellem, a longtime agent in the NBA, will not become the president of basketball operations or general manager, but he could have an expanded role beyond the business side, sources said.
Vincent Ellis: Front office personnel under SVG will remain in place for the time being mostly as someone has to represent #Pistons in the interim. Doesn’t mean they will be retained when new GM is hired.
Adrian Wojnarowski: It is unlikely that a potential Detroit-Barry partnership would be for the role of President of Basketball Operations, league sources tell ESPN. Tom Gores and Arn Tellem are expected to pursue an experienced front office executive to run basketball operations. twitter.com/ZachLowe_NBA/s…
Vincent Goodwill: One intriguing name to watch for the Pistons, with strong ties to Arn Tellem: BJ Armstrong. Detroit native. Front office experience with the Bulls
Ira Winderman: Per Pistons owner Tom Gores on Stan Van Gundy: “We have decided that this change is necessary to take our basketball organization to the next level. . . . Over the past two seasons our team has not progressed, and we decided that a change is necessary to regain our momentum.”
NerdOnPistons: BREAKING: #Pistons are moving on from Stan Van Gundy, according to source.
The Detroit Pistons have parted ways with president of basketball operations and coach Stan Van Gundy, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Van Gundy had one year and $7 million remaining on his original five-year deal.
Rod Beard: Press release from #Pistons says SVG wanted to come back to finish out next season. Gores: “Stan is a competitor and he wanted to finish the job.” He retooled a roster that we think can be very competitive in the East.”
After four seasons with only one playoff appearance under Van Gundy, it’s apparent that [Pistons owner Tom] Gores is seeking change. “We got to make some changes,” Gores said toward the end of the season. “I’m just not sure what they are and he’s been working the whole season so I need to hear from Stan. I can tell you he’s an extremely dedicated man so I think he’s been good for our franchise. “That I know for sure.” Discussions are very amicable, but those changes have yet to be determined, two sources told the Free Press this week.
A source also told the Free Press that Gores and Van Gundy would speak Friday, although a resolution isn’t expected until next week. The report said that Van Gundy is “resistant” to changes, but multiple sources told the Free Press that’s a mischaracterization since specific changes have yet to be discussed.
An ESPN.com report earlier this week, citing unnamed sources, said Gores wants Van Gundy to return as coach, but wants changes to the front office structure. The report hinted at change centered around general manager Jeff Bower. The report also said Bower would meet with Gores. The Free Press confirmed that meeting took place Thursday in Los Angeles. A source also told the Free Press that Gores and Van Gundy would speak Friday, although a resolution isn’t expected until next week.
Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores wants Stan Van Gundy to return as coach for the final year of his contract, but prefers that scenario include structural changes to the franchise’s front office, league sources told ESPN.
He was offered the top spot in the Cleveland Cavaliers front office last offseason, but he declined. The ambition remains. “I think it’s something I could be pretty good at,” Billups said. “I have a desire to (do) it. I’ve been working toward it for quite a long time. We’ll just see what happens. No matter where it’s at, I’m going to be able to bring a lot of value to that situation.”
He is open when it comes to his ambition to run a franchise; he just won’t seek to dig another man’s grave. “I think that was in bad taste,” Billups said after signing autographs and posing for photos. “Everybody knows that I have the desire to run a team at some point, but I would never discuss or talk about a job that’s not open. That’s not my character. “That’s not how I am, so I was a little angry about the report that came out. The timing of it was bad. It was false.”
“It’s easy to link Chauncey Billups with Detroit,” Billups said. “I’m always going to be a lifetime Piston and people know my desire, but it’s also not fair to a guy like Stan who is the president and the coach and he’s current. It’s not fair for him to hear things like that and I don’t want to be the bullseye on that because all that stuff is false.”
Most of Van Gundy’s front-office staff, including general manager Jeff Bower, are in the final year of their contracts and are operating without clarity on whether they’ll be employed beyond the spring.
Gores isn’t necessarily against allowing Van Gundy to lead both the front office and the bench. “I see value in the front office and the court being connected,” he said.
“I wouldn’t make a decision without Stan,” Gores said at halftime of Monday night’s 108-98 loss to the Toronto Raptors. “He’s been our partner for four years.” Gores said changes need to be made because the team isn’t winning enough, adding none will happen until he speaks with Van Gundy. The two are expected to meet next week. “I think he deserves the conversation,” Gore said. “He’s been good for us.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons Gores on what he needs to see from SVG: “We have to make some changes. I’m just not sure what they are.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons owner Tom Gores addressed the media at halftime. No immediate sense of whether SVG stays or goes.
James Edwards III: #Pistons owner Tom Gores said he and SVG will meet next week, likely in California, to talk about the future. Nothing new.
Rod Beard: Interesting from #Pistons Gores on seeing Reggie and Blake play together: “It’s just a small sample, so we can’t get confused by that. Blake’s been a great addition; he’s a real leader. I don’t think I’ll take this small sample of the last 10-12 games and make it our future.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons Gores on why they didn’t win this year: “For sure, Reggie. You can see the incredible difference he’s made. At the same time, we have to be prepared … Reggie has made a difference but we have to get used to players get injured. No excuses — we have no excuses.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons Gores on cap situation/roster construction and SVG staying to finish it out: “I don’t look at it that way and I don’t think Stan does either. What we did, we did. We did that together. There’s not a big move that Stan made without me. We’re together in that.”
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.”
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