The Miami Heat signed Coach Stan Van Gundy and General Manager Randy Pfund to multi-year contract extensions yesterday, as the team prepares for a blockbuster trade for Shaquille O'Neal.
"Randy and Stan are two of the most loyal, competent and reliable men at their positions in the NBA," said Heat President Pat Riley in a written statement. Financial terms were not released.
And Michael Jordan has discussed "joining [the Heat] as an owner," according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
Jordan, who once owned a minority share of the Washington Wizards, has sought to buy a team since his relationship with Wizards owner Abe Pollin ended acrimoniously last spring.
A five-time winner of the league's MVP award, Jordan failed in a bid to purchase the Milwaukee Bucks last year. NBA Commissioner David Stern has said that the league wants Jordan to become an owner.
Contract extensions for Pfund and Van Gundy indicate that the Heat is staying with the same leadership as last season even as it prepares to drastically remake the team.
The pending trade for O'Neal could be finalized as early as midnight tonight, when the league's two-week moratorium on trades and free agent signings ends.
Coming off a season in which he led the Heat to the playoffs for the first time in three years, Van Gundy, the brother of Houston Rockets Coach Jeff Van Gundy, finished third in voting for NBA coach of the year.
Van Gundy took over as coach in October after Riley stepped down and steered the Heat to a 42-40 regular season record and a victory in the playoffs' first round over the New Orleans Hornets.
Pfund oversaw the acquisitions of such players as Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Eddie Jones and Lamar Odom; the Heat has agreed to trade Odom to the Los Angeles Lakers, in addition to Caron Butler and Brian Grant, as part of the deal to acquire O'Neal.
The Heat, which is still making payments on the club's four-year-old AmericanAirlines Arena, has struggled financially for some time. For most of the past three seasons, the 19,600-seat arena was rarely full. That certainly would change with O'Neal's arrival.
-- Greg Sandoval