At the end of every NBA season, just like clockwork, we have head coaching vacancies for different reasons; NBA organizations will fire head coaches because the end result was not to their satisfaction, the head coach doesn’t fit the system or maybe the head coach sees the writing on the wall and will just resign to save face. Whatever the reasons are, the coaching carousel will always continue to turn during this time of the year.
This time last week we had seven coaching vacancies in the NBA: Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers.
On Wednesday, two of the vacancies were filled and they were a surprise to the public. The Detroit Pistons announced that they have hired Stan Van Gundy as their new head coach AND head of basketball operations.
Stan is a proven winner in our league. He instills his teams with passion, purpose and toughness. He is a great teacher who will help our players grow and develop,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “Stan is more than just a great coach, he’s a great leader. What I’m most excited about is how Stan can help us shape the franchise and instill what it means to be the best. He’s also a great communicator. My time with Stan has me convinced that he will bring our players, team and community to a very proud place.
The Pistons and Stan Van Gundy have reached an agreement in principle on a five-year, $35 million deal. Van Gundy was being pursued by the Warriors, but the determining factor was that Van Gundy was not making the money or roster talent a top priority, but full control of basketball operations; something that the Pistons were willing to give him and Golden State was not.
Van Gundy was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat under Pat Riley and took over the team in 2006 before stepping down to let Riley come back. Van Gundy also coached the Orlando Magic to the Finals in 2009, molding them from a bottom-dweller into a powerhouse and transforming a raw and athletic Dwight Howard into a Defensive Player of the Year. He has a 371-208 regular-season record as coach.
Van Gundy is reportedly considering hiring his former boss in Orlando, Otis Smith, as general manager to handle the day-to-day operations.
Later on that same evening, to the surprise of many, the Golden State Warriors officially announced that they have reached an agreement in principle with Steve Kerr. NBA.com reports that Steve Kerr has turned down the Knicks’ offer to join Phil Jackson in New York and instead will accept the Warriors’ job.
Kerr has no coaching experience at any level, but he was a former NBA player that has five championship rings, can connect with all-star point guard Stephen Curry as a shooter, has a strong relationship with the front office, and the most sought-after candidate in coaching circles. This is a great compensation by the Warriors who were snubbed by Stan Van Gundy when he signed with Detroit.
Yahoo Sports and USA Today Sports both peg Kerr’s deal with the Warriors at $25 million over five years with no option years.