By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Three months removed from firing their first-year head coach Maurice Cheeks and one month removed from parting ways with longtime general manager Joe Dumars, the Detroit Pistons have made a hire.
According to Yahoo Sports, talks between Van Gundy and the Pistons got serious Tuesday as the parties discussed a five-year, $35 million deal that would make Van Gundy head coach and give him complete control of basketball operations.
Evidently, an agreement was reached, as ESPN.com reported that Van Gundy and the Piston have verbally agreed to a deal with an official announcement on course for this week.
Gregg Popovich of the Santonio Spurs and Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers are the other two NBA head coaches who also have control of basketball operations. Van Gundy, if he signs with Detroit for the reported amount, would make as much as Rivers ($7 million per year) and more than Popovich ($6 million per year), who has guided the Spurs to four championships.
Van Gundy last coached for the Orlando Magic, and the team fired Van Gundy following the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season. The Magic had won 222 games over the previous four seasons under Van Gundy. Prior to his time in Orlando, Van Gundy coached the Miami Heat, and the team won 42 games in his first season and 59 games in his second season before Van Gundy quit 21 games (the Heat were 11-10) through the 2005-2006 season.
Van Gundy’s career record is 371-208 in the regular season, good for an impressive .641 winning percentage. In the playoffs, Van Gundy is 48-39 as a head coach, with a .552 winning percentage.
The Pistons finished the 2013-2014 season with a 29-53 record and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year.