Stan Van Gundy is caught in a bit of a quandary. In a shocking twist, Van Gundy has become the season’s hottest coaching free agent. Reportedly, the Golden State Warriors have settled on him as their primary target to take over the Irone throne at the end of their bench after they prematurely axed Mark Jackson. Coversely, the Detroit Pistons are offering Van Gundy the opportunity to have full control over basketball operations with a crown jewel of a franchise that has teetered off the rails in the past half-decade. The yapping between the angel and devil’s advocate perched on his shoulders must be nerve-wracking. Should he board a yacht that’s already cruising on the correct course or raise the Titanic from the ocean depths and restore its majestic structure?
On one hand, it doesn’t even sound like a difficult choice. The Warriors feature one of the league’s most attractive rosters and are a few upgrades away from being viable contenders out West. Not to mention the perennial warm weather in contrast to Detroit’s frosty climate. Upon further inspection though, Detroit’s deal offers something uniquely beneficial to a coach with Van Gundy’s history.
Stan has been the victim of a mutiny from within as head coach of two Florida franchises (Heat and Magic) and the Warriors recently ejected a head coach in Jackson who became the elixir to the struggling Warriors. Stepping into another minefield like that after being burned twice is a recipe for disaster. The Warriors issue is that they don't have a prominent, physical big man anchoring the paint. In Van Gundy's previous stops Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal were the focal points of his inventive offenses. On the rare occasions that he's healthy, Andrew Bogut is a mere pawn and David Lee is a finesse small ball forward. Andre Drummond could be that force in the middle for Detroit.
As general manager, dealing with difficult personalities such as Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings will be simpler after the embarrassing Dwight Howard saga. Fat chance of Josh Smith walking upstairs asking his own head coach to remove himself from the bench. Plus, with the additional responsibilities, the Pistons are backing a few extra armored Brinks trucks into his driveway. Van Gundy reportedly sought the same organizational control from Golden State only to be rebuffed.
Stan Van Gundy and Detroit are negotiating on a five-year, $35M deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 13, 2014
It’s Van Gundy’s choice to make, but one franchise values him more than the other. In a professional sense Detroit offers the more difficult task and the more stable opportunity.