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Report: Pistons’ owner wants Stan Van Gundy back to coach, front office changes

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 11: Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons reacts during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 11, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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It happened to Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta. It happened to Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Stan Van Gundy doesn’t want it to happen to him.

Budenholzer and Rivers were coaches with player/personnel control over their teams who were stripped of their front office responsibilities and were left with one job as the coach. Apparently, hat’s Pistons’ owner Tom Gores wants to do in some way in Detroit — something that had been rumored around the league for a while — but Van Gundy doesn’t want to join the trend, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores wants Stan Van Gundy to return as coach for the final year of his contract, but prefers that scenario include structural changes to the franchise’s front office, league sources told ESPN.

As president of basketball operations and coach, Van Gundy has had full authority on player personnel and staffing -- but Gores has suggested changes that, so far, Van Gundy is resisting, league sources said....

Van Gundy and (day-to-day GM Jeff) Bower engineered the Blake Griffin trade in February, but played without starting point guard Reggie Jackson and Griffin for much final stretch of a 39-43 season because of injury. Together, Griffin and Jackson were 8-4. With Jackson in the lineup, the Pistons were 27-18 on the season.

When healthy, the Pistons are certainly a playoff team in the East. However, Van Gundy bet big on good players with injury histories — Griffin is at the front of that line — and there are a lot of teams around the league who could say “if we stayed healthy/things broke right we could have made the playoffs.” On the other side, there are teams with strong cultures that dealt with a lot of injuries — Boston, Utah, San Antonio — this season and are still playing.

What role Bowers would play in a revamped front office is unclear.

The Pistons also have former super agent Arn Tellem in their building. He was hired away from his agency to help run the business side of the Detroit operation and to guide the team into the new, downtown Little Ceasers arena they started playing in last October. With that part of his job complete, there are a lot of other front offices around the league who expect Tellem to ultimately get control of the Pistons’ basketball operations side. However, that has not happened yet, And may not ever.

Gores may be searching for a smooth transition where there is not one. What happens next is up in the air, but at the end of the day it’s Gores’ call.