The Blake Griffin trade has not pushed the Detroit Pistons into playoff contention. At the time of the trade, the Pistons were in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, four games in the loss column behind the eighth-place Philadelphia 76ers. After a win on Friday, the Pistons are still in ninth place, five games in the loss column behind the eighth-place Milwaukee Bucks.
The Pistons are 7-10 with Griffin, with the league's 24th-ranked offense over that stretch. Their win over the Bulls on Friday was their first win with Griffin in which their opponent wasn't playing the second game of a back-to-back.
Griffin is under contract for four more seasons beyond this one, at more than $35 million per year. And given Griffin's inability to make an immediate impact, the question is whether Stan Van Gundy will remain as Pistons president and/or head coach beyond April.
Team owner Tom Gores addressed the situation on Friday, as Rod Beard writes in the Detroit News:
While the Pistons had struggled, losing 10 of their previous 12 games, and there were rumors swirling about the future of team president and coach Stan Van Gundy, Gores got to watch a 99-83 victory over the Bulls.
Even still, there are concerns and Gores said he has confidence in Van Gundy and isn't going to make any hasty decisions, as they have regular communication about the state of the team.
"Stan and I talk every week and we just want to win -- that's it. That's what we discussed: how we're going to get this team to win. That's been really important to us," Gores said during a halftime impromptu interview session. "We know we've disappointed the fans and we haven't won enough. I can tell you this team works really hard and Stan works hard. He's been here for four years and has dedicated his whole life.
"We talked the other day and I'm not giving up on Stan and I'm not giving up on this team."
Van Gundy addressed his situation, but is focused on finishing the season, as Ansar Khan writes for MLive.com...
Van Gundy, who communicates with Gores often during the season, mostly by text, said the two are on the same page in that regard.
"Our team is playing hard. I like the guys we've had. Some things have happened that are out of our control, but at the same time I never have and I'm not looking to make excuses," Van Gundy said. "This business is about winning games. We haven't been doing enough of that.
"So, 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. I've been in this business a long time and I've been around this business even longer - my dad (Bill) 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, so we're in 100 percent agreement on the way everything should be handled."
Gores, several times during his address, referred to Van Gundy as a "team player." Some might interpret that to mean Van Gundy would relinquish one of his roles. It has been speculated that Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem might assume the role as president of basketball operations and Van Gundy could remain as coach.
"We haven't gotten into any of that. That's never even been broached," Van Gundy said. "I just want to concentrate on the last 16 games. Tom wants me to concentrate on the last 16 games. 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."