Hoping to reinvigorate a franchise that has not made the NBA playoffs or won more than 30 games since 2009, the Detroit Pistons announced the hiring of Stan Van Gundy as their coach and president of basketball operations on Tuesday. The Associated Press is reporting that Van Gundy has agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract.
According to the Sporting News, Van Gundy’s first move will be to build around Andre Drummond and not Greg Monroe, who is a restricted free agent, meaning he can sign with another team but the Pistons can match any offer. Monroe and his agent, David Falk, will likely seek a max contract.
The fact that Van Gundy opted for the Pistons over the other team in pursuit of him—the Warriors—offers some insight, one league general manager told Sporting News.
“There are two things that made that job better for Stan,” the GM said. “One is the fact that he gets to make personnel decisions, that is a big deal of course. But the other is Andre Drummond. If you want to build your team around a young player, Drummond is the guy.
“You’re not going to build around both him and Monroe, they had too much trouble making that work. You pick Drummond and move on from Monroe.”
Ideally, Van Gundy’s offense will be constructed like the one he had in Orlando, which was innovative at the time—he wants to spread the floor with shooters and create space for a power big man down low. It will be Drummond in Detroit, just as it had been Dwight Howard with the Magic.
According to the Sporting News, the Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Lakers would seem to be likely suitors for Monroe. Ideally, Van Gundy would like to work out a sign-and-trade deal with Monroe so the Pistons could get something back in return, specifically a long-distance threat after the Pistons ranked 29th in the NBA in three-point percentage last season.
In any case, it became fairly obvious that Drummond — whose skills and stats at age 20 compare favorably to Dwight Howard, who played for Van Gundy in Orlando — and Monroe weren’t compatible on the court together for the Pistons. The latter seems likely headed elsewhere in the offseason.