NBA

Report: Pistons hire Stan Van Gundy as coach/president

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The Canadian Press
5/13/2014 10:49:24 PM
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DETROIT -- Stan Van Gundy has agreed to a $35-million, five-year contract to be the Detroit Pistons' coach and president of basketball operations, a person with knowledge of the details said.

Detroit gave Van Gundy the powerful combination of jobs on Tuesday, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

The deal was first reported by ESPN.com.

The Pistons announced in April that they were not renewing Joe Dumars' contract, ending his 14-year run as president of basketball operations.

Van Gundy is taking over a team that has Andre Drummond, one NBA's top young centres, and money to reshape its roster this summer.

Van Gundy has a 371-208 career record with the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat. He was fired in 2012 following his fifth season with the Orlando. He stunned the Heat in December 2005 by resigning for family reasons after two-plus seasons.

The Golden State Warriors might have wanted Van Gundy, who went to high school in nearby Martinez, California, to be their new coach.

While the Warriors' roster seems more attractive, Van Gundy is getting a rare chance to be the coach and decision-maker for an NBA franchise. Doc Rivers does both jobs for the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Pistons are desperate to be regarded as relevant in the Motor City -- where they've become an afterthought -- and hiring Van Gundy seems to be a splashy move they needed to make.

Ultimately, though, Van Gundy will have to win more than he loses in Detroit, as he has in each of his eight seasons.

Van Gundy has won 59 games three times, once in Miami and twice with the Magic. He has helped his teams advance in five out of seven postseasons, leading Orlando to the 2009 NBA Finals. Miami lost to the Pistons in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Detroit's season has not lasted longer than the regular season in five years, its longest playoff drought since 1978-83. The Pistons won their third NBA title in 2004, early in a six-year run of reaching at least the conference finals.

The Pistons signed Josh Smith, traded for Brandon Jennings and hired Maurice Cheeks last off-season and were expected to at least contend for a post-season spot.

Instead, the new players didn't blend with returning players such as Drummond and Greg Monroe well enough to push the Pistons into the playoffs and coach Maurice Cheeks lost his job 50 games into the regular season. Detroit finished the season with a 29-53 record and with John Loyer as coach.

The franchise is hoping it has a lottery pick next month. The Pistons will have to give their first-round pick to the Charlotte Bobcats if the selection is No. 9 or later as part a salary cap-saving trade Dumars made to get Ben Gordon off the payroll two years ago.

Stan Van Gundy (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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