Stan Van Gundy On Monroe, Smith, Dual Role

Stan Van Gundy has had quite an introduction to handling basketball operations for a team in his first offseason as coach/executive for the Pistons. He was involved in tough negotiations with Greg Monroe, who ultimately turned down a four-year offer better than what the Pistons gave Josh Smith a year ago to sign his qualifying offer, which gives him the chance to hit unrestricted free agency next year. Van Gundy acknowledged in a chat with Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News that Monroe had serious reservations about a long-term future with the Pistons, and he had plenty more to say about the former seventh overall pick as well as other issues concerning the team. Goodwill’s entire interview is worth a read, especially for Pistons fans, but we’ll share a few of the highlights here:

On Smith:

“Last year wasn’t indicative of what he’s capable of as a basketball player. He was an incredibly tough guy to play against [when I coached against him]. At both ends, he gave us fits. He’s one of the most versatile frontline guys in the whole league. He has potential to be a great two-way player and you didn’t really see that last year, in all honesty. I think Josh would agree with that.”

On whether he’ll delegate his duties as front office chief during the regular season:

“I don’t know I ever take [that hat] off. [GM] Jeff [Bower] and I sort of worked out how we’ll communicate with that stuff, and [Palace of Auburn Hills president] Dennis [Mannion] on the other side. Jeff and I, when I’m in town, will meet at 7:30 before the coaches meetings every day, just to keep a handle on what’s going on.”

On whether he was ever close to a long-term deal with Monroe:

“That I can’t answer. That’s more to Greg, was he close to an agreement? There came a point where his agent [David Falk] said, ‘Look, we don’t want to get into a long back and forth. Give us your best offer.’ We sat and talked about it and outlined some things we wanted to accomplish with the offer. When I say ‘we,’ that was ownership involved. It was a well-thought-out, solid offer in terms of what we wanted to offer. Greg had to make a decision. I’m being honest. I was disappointed to a degree.”

On how Monroe’s decision to accept the qualifying offer has affected their relationship:

“His attitude has been great. At least I haven’t noticed it from my point. Business is business. I’ve got no hard feelings. I hope he doesn’t. I’ve seen no sign of a rift. He’s come in and worked hard, he’s been receptive to me and our coaching staff. He’s fun to be with. It changes strategy with where we go next offseason but for this season, it doesn’t change anything.”

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