The Detroit Pistons released a statement Monday announcing that head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy would not be returning for the final season of his contract. In the statement, released on the team’s website, Pistons owner Tom Gores said that the decision was made after watching the team not progress over the last two seasons. From the release:
“We have decided that this change is necessary to take our basketball organization to the next level,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “This was a very difficult decision and we did not come to it lightly. I am grateful to Stan for everything he’s done for the Pistons and for the City of Detroit. He rebuilt the culture of our basketball team, re-instilled a winning attitude and work ethic, and took us to the playoffs two years ago. He went all-in from day one to positively impact this franchise and this community.
“But over the past two seasons our team has not progressed, and we decided that a change is necessary to regain our momentum,” Mr. Gores said, emphasizing that Mr. Van Gundy, who has a year remaining on his contract, wanted to return.
In his four seasons serving as the organization’s basketball czar and head coach, the Pistons went 152-176, making the playoffs once, in 2015-16 when they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. His biggest splash in building the roster came at this past year’s trade deadline when he made the blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Clippers to bring in forward Blake Griffin.
Van Gundy began his career in South Beach as an assistant coach from 1995-2003 before taking over the head coaching duties in the 03-04 season. He was let go 21 games into the 05-06 season and replaced by Pat Riley, who then led the team to the NBA title. After his time with the Heat, Van Gundy took the head coaching job with the Orlando Magic in 07-08 and led them to an NBA Finals appearance in 2009 when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Overall, Van Gundy owns a 523-384 record as a head coach over the course of 12 seasons in that role.