Pistons owner Tom Gores would like to bring back Stan Van Gundy as the team’s head coach for the 2018/19 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. However, Wojnarowski reports that Gores would like to make structural changes to the front office, and Van Gundy is “resisting” those adjustments for the time being.
As Wojnarowski notes, Van Gundy isn’t just the Pistons’ head coach — he also holds the title of president of basketball operations, giving him full authority over player personnel and staffing decisions.
In recent years, we’ve seen multiple coaches with those dual titles have their responsibilities dialed back, including Doc Rivers with the Clippers and Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks last offseason. However, Van Gundy doesn’t appear to be entirely on board with that idea.
It’s not clear what sort of specific structural changes Gores would like to make, but he and Van Gundy have been discussing a way to move forward together for the last couple weeks, Wojnarowski writes. Some of those conversations have centered on the future role of GM Jeff Bower, who is scheduled to meet separately with Gores this week, sources tell Woj.
While Van Gundy has one year left on his contract with the Pistons, several of his assistants – along with Bower – are currently in the final year of their deals, so the team will have plenty of decisions to make on who will and won’t be back.
After posting a disappointing 37-45 record in 2016/17, the Pistons only improved marginally in 2017/18, finishing at 39-43 and missing the postseason for a second consecutive year. At season’s end, Van Gundy and some Pistons players expressed confidence that the club is capable of taking a step forward next year if it can get healthy seasons from Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond, and it appears Gores would like to see Van Gundy return to coach that core. However, it remains unclear whether the two sides will come to an agreement on possible changes to the front office.