The Detroit Pistons have hired Stan Van Gundy to coach their team and serve as president of basketball operations. The team will formally announce the 7-year, $35 million deal at a press conference tomorrow.
The enormous contract lured the former Heat and Magic coach away from the TNT broadcast booth and from a possible deal with his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors. Fat Van Gundy, not to be confused with his brother Bald Van Gundy who coached the Knicks and Rockets, has never held an NBA front-office position. But in his eight years as an NBA coach he has never known a losing season.
The Pistons haven’t known winning in seven seasons. As in 2012-2013, the Pistons posted a 29-53 record. They haven’t won more than thirty games since 2008-2009. This year’s poor performance led to the dismissal of longtime president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, who had enjoyed two championships as a Pistons player and one as an executive. First-year coach Mo Cheeks also became a casualty of franchise futility before the season had ended.
Despite the disappointing recent past, the Pistons aren’t without promise. They own a lottery pick in this year’s draft, albeit won with a 3 percent chance of landing the first pick, and one of the NBA’s marquee young big men in Andre Drummond. The 20-year-old center averaged 13.5 rebounds and 13.2 points per game in his rookie season just past.
The $35 million deal isn’t Phil Jackson money. But Stan Van Gundy isn’t exactly Phil Jackson. After leading the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009, Van Gundy looks to win his first NBA championship in Detroit.