A day after Stan Van Gundy’s first game as president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons last season, he was asked to give an assessment of the coach in the 89-79 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
“My front office was not very happy with the coach last night,” Van Gundy quipped. “He admonished the coach.”
The name of the coach: Stan Van Gundy.
Over the last four seasons, a mini-trend has developed in the hiring practices of NBA teams. Several owners have decided to give their coaches the additional title of team president, bestowing final decision-making authority on their shoulders.
The Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers (Doc Rivers) and Atlanta Hawks (Mike Budenholzer) all have coaches in dual roles. The Spurs fall into that category as well, though coach Gregg Popovich and GM R.C. Buford basically share the decision-making in San Antonio.
All four of those teams made the playoffs this season.
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor was initially resistant to that setup, but has now elected to go with it two times in a row. Flip Saunders convinced Taylor to give him both roles before he tragically passed…