Pistons owner Tom Gores says he and SVG will discuss future after season’s over
DETROIT – Any decision on the future for the Pistons and Stan Van Gundy’s role won’t come until after the season. That was the clear message Pistons owner Tom Gores gave at halftime of Friday’s game with Chicago.
And Van Gundy endorses that approach emphatically.
“Stan and I talked the other day. We talked about winning,” Gores said. “After the season is over – whenever that is, we’re going to sit down and talk. He’s an honest, dedicated man that cares about this city and the franchise.”
“At the end of the season, we’ll sit down and talk and then he’s got to make a decision on the best way to go for the organization,” Van Gundy said. “I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve been around this business even longer. My dad coached for 40 years, so probably as much as anyone I know how this works. Tom’s been fantastic. You couldn’t be better as an owner. The way he wants to go about things is perfect. We’re in 100 percent agreement on the way everything should be handled.”
Gores, like Van Gundy, is disappointed that after a very promising start, the season turned when Reggie Jackson injured his ankle in a Dec. 26 win over Indiana. At the time, the Pistons were 19-14 and in the No. 4 position in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
“I think we miss Reggie,” Gores said. “He’s such a good player, so we’ve had that bad luck. But everybody has injuries and – no excuse. We’ve got to deliver.”
Gores denied a recent report that indicated Van Gundy would need to abdicate at least one of his roles – head coach or president of basketball operations – in order to serve out the fifth and final year of the contract he and Gores struck in May 2014.
“No. We have not discussed it,” Gores said. “We’re all worried about just winning. We really have not. After the season’s over, Stan and I will sit down. It’s really that simple.”
“We haven’t gotten into any of that,” Van Gundy said. “That’s never even been broached. I want to concentrate on the last 16 games; Tom wants me to concentrate on the last 16 games and then we’ll sit down at the end of the year and talk about where we are as an organization and what his thoughts are and what we want to do moving forward. Right now that’s not our focus.”
While Gores said that making or missing the playoffs by itself would not be a make-or-break factor in Van Gundy’s future, he made clear that building a contending team remains his mission for Detroit and Pistons fans.
“We’ve got to win. We haven’t done that,” he said. “Stan and I are very disappointed that we haven’t delivered that to the fans. I’m disappointed that I haven’t personally. So we’ve just got to look at everything.”
Gores believes that no matter what transpires over the season’s final month, the late-January trade for Blake Griffin was the right move for the future of the franchise.
“We got a superstar,” he said. “Whatever happens this season, happens. We got a superstar. And he’s a leader. We got Blake because he’s a great player. What I didn’t know we were getting is such a good leader. He’s a great player but he’s a great leader and we’re going to be in very good hands, him and Andre’s (Drummond). It’s a force to be reckoned with. The adjustment has not been easy.”
Gores said he believes that Van Gundy will put the interests of the organization above all else and Van Gundy validated his owner’s faith in his intent after their win over Chicago, viewed by Gores from his seats at center court at Little Caesars Arena.
“Tom will have a decision to make. We’ll talk about it,” he said. “I want what’s best for the organization. Tom wants what’s best for the organization. I think he’s a fabulous owner. I think he’s the best there is, but part of his job is to evaluate me. He’s the guy above me; he evaluates me.”