The Detroit Pistons and Stan Van Gundy, the team’s coach and president of basketball operations, have parted ways, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
In four seasons with the Pistons, Van Gundy was 152-176 with one playoff appearance. In 2015-16, the Pistons were 44-38 and lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.
“We have decided that this change is necessary to take our basketball organization to the next level,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. “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.”.
Van Gundy had a year remaining on his contract, and in a statement, Gores said Van Gundy wanted to return for next season.
Van Gundy was in a difficult position with the Pistons, especially when in free agency. Detroit often made trades to acquire the players Van Gundy felt were necessary to compete. Trades were Detroit’s version of free agency under Van Gundy.
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Detroit traded for Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, Avery Bradley and most recently, Blake Griffin at the February trade deadline.
The Pistons had Jackson for just 45 games this season, and had he been healthy, Detroit, which finished in ninth place (four games behind Washington), might have made the playoffs.
ESPN, which first reported the news, said TNT analyst and former NBA player Brent Barry will be a candidate for the front-office job.
In 2014, Van Gundy told reporters this Pistons job would be his last one with a team.
“I wanted one more shot at it,” he said. “I’ve got a great owner. I’ve got a great situation with great tradition, and I should be able to get it turned around in the time that he’s given me. If I don’t, I don’t. But I should be able to. But this’ll be the last one … That’s the last move we’re going to make.”.
In March, Van Gundy had his usual c’est la vie attitude about his future. He told reporters he wouldn’t chase jobs if the Pistons didn’t bring him back.
“I’ve been very, very fortunate,” he said. “I don’t need to work another day in my life. I have all the security I need. This is all about what’s best for the organization.
“I have no apprehension at all. If I’m not here next year, I’m not chasing jobs anywhere else. You can look for me on my lake in the summer here and on my porch in Florida in the winter.”.