Pistons want SVG to coach, run ops

ByMarc Stein ESPN logo
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Detroit Pistons are progressing toward a deal with Stan Van Gundy that would make him their coach and president of basketball operations, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

Sources told ESPN.com that Van Gundy is leaning toward accepting Detroit's aggressive pitch, despite strong interest from the Golden State Warriors regarding their coaching job.

The Pistons are hoping their unique offer of personnel control on top of the coaching duties -- something Van Gundy never had in his previous coaching stops with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic -- will convince him to bypass the opportunity to coach his hometown Warriors.

Sources indicated Tuesday afternoon that the Warriors increasingly expect Van Gundy to accept Detroit's substantial offer, with a final decision expected within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Yahoo! Sports first reported Detroit's interest in Van Gundy.

The Pistons are looking for a new face of basketball operations for the first time in more than a decade after Detroit legend Joe Dumars left his post in April. And they've offered final say over basketball decisions to Van Gundy to trump the lure of going back to his native Northern California to coach the Warriors, who won 51 games during the regular season and sport a more polished roster.

If Van Gundy signs with the Pistons, as Golden State now fears -- and if Steve Kerr completes his widely expected deal to coach the New York Knicks -- Golden State will have missed out on the top two candidates on its list to replace the ousted Mark Jackson. ESPN.com reported shortly after Golden State's first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers that Kerr and Van Gundy were their two preferred targets.

Although the Warriors continue to hold out hope that they still have a shot at Kerr as long as he remains unsigned by New York -- amid what ESPNNewYork.com describes as an impasse over contract terms -- sources close to the situation continue to express confidence that the Knicks ultimately will come to terms with the TNT broadcaster. Kerr still is believed to be the only candidate under consideration by new Knicks president Phil Jackson.

Despite that belief, the Warriors plan to re-engage Kerr in negotiations for their opening, a source familiar with management's thinking said.

Golden State was thought to be one of the few coaching jobs around the league that would tempt Van Gundy, as much because of his ties to the Bay Area as the Warriors' intriguing roster, but sources say an aggressive pursuit by Pistons owner Tom Gores and the chance to have Pat Riley-level say on basketball matters has put them in the lead for his services.

In eight seasons as coach, Van Gundy never had a losing record (he coached 21 games in 2005-06). The Pistons on the other hand, have had six straight losing seasons, including three straight sub-30 win seasons.

In a radio interview last week with 740 AM in Orlando, Florida, Van Gundy admitted he's not sure whether he's ready to return to coaching after spending the past two seasons in broadcasting and focusing on family time.

"Part of me does, and part of me doesn't," Van Gundy told the network. "Look, we're so happy in Central Florida. It would really have to be a great situation for me to get back in. I miss a lot of it. I really do. I miss the competition. I miss the challenge. I miss the camaraderie of it. But I also like the time that I've had, so we'll just have to see what happens. You weigh every situation.

"Names come up on every job, and my name's been mentioned in a few. But I think the Warrior one comes up because I'm from out there. I went to high school in the Bay Area. I grew up out there. I said several times during my coaching career when we would go play out there that it was always important to me playing out there because I grew up [there].

"That arena is old, so it was the same arena, and when I was a sophomore in high school, the Warriors won the NBA championship in 1975 led by Rick Barry. Al Attles was their coach. I was a huge fan, and everybody knows that, and so I think that's why my name comes up when it's associated with that job in particular."

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.

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