Stan Van Gundy is back in the game. The former Miami Heat and Orlando Magic coach has agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract to become the Detroit Pistons' coach and president of basketball operations, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The Pistons officially announced the news Tuesday morning.
Van Gundy joins the Clippers' Doc Rivers as the only men in the league to be both a coach and president of basketball operations.
Van Gundy has considered many NBA offers since being fired by the Magic after the 2011-12 season, but finally settled on the Pistons after they offered him total control over the basketball operations. The Golden State Warriors also pursued Van Gundy, but did not offer him that level of control.
Van Gundy takes over a Pistons team coming off a very disappointing 29-53 season. Detroit signed Josh Smith and traded for Brandon Jennings last summer in an attempt to compete after four straight losing seasons, but Smith meshed poorly with fellow big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, and Jennings failed to make a leap forward after uneven play in Milwaukee. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired midseason after less than one year on the job.
Van Gundy's first decision: what to do with Monroe. The soon-to-be 24-year-old big man is a restricted free agent and has seen his production plateau since a breakout sophomore campaign. Agent David Falk will likely be looking for a maximum contract for Monroe. Will Van Gundy be willing to pay it? If so, will he find a way to clear up the frontcourt logjam that hurt Monroe's production last year? If not, does that mean Smith is a part of the team's future, or does it merely show that Van Gundy is more committed to Drummond?
Regardless, Van Gundy gives Detroit credibility as it tries to move up in the Eastern Conference. Owner Tom Gores promised to do "whatever it takes" to land Van Gundy, and now, he has his man.