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NBA Rumors: Stan Van Gundy Joins Pistons

Stan Van Gundy and the Detroit Pistons reach an agreement … New York Knicks want to acquire a first-rounder … Anthony Bennett undergoes another surgery

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Van Gundy, Pistons Reach Deal

The Detroit Pistons have reached an agreement in principle with Stan Van Gundy to make him their new coach and president of basketball operations, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that Van Gundy and the Pistons have verbally agreed to a five-year pact worth an estimated $35 million, with an official announcement expected as early as Wednesday.

via Marc Stein of ESPN

The Pistons stole Van Gundy away from the Golden State Warriors, who were initially believed to be the frontrunner for the head coach’s services due to their talented roster and Van Gundy’s Bay Area roots. However, Detroit was willing to give Van Gundy a five-year, $35 million deal and the opportunity to call the shots as the team’s president of basketball operations.

This is similar to the role that Doc Rivers assumed with the Los Angeles Clippers when he was hired last summer. Rivers also inked a deal to receive $7 million per season, but he only signed a three-year contract (since that was what was left on his bought-out agreement with the Boston Celtics).

The Pistons have a lot of faith in Van Gundy and believe he can help them return to relevance in the Eastern Conference. During the 2013-14 season, Detroit went 29-53, missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Head coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February and general manager Joe Dumars resigned in April.

Van Gundy is respected around the league and was considered one of the top head coaches on the market. During his stints with the Orlando Magic and the Miami HEAT, Van Gundy’s teams went 371-208 (.641) in the regular season and 48-39 (.552) in the postseason. He made the playoffs in seven of his eight years on the sideline, and led the Magic to the NBA Finals in the 2008-09 season.

According to reports, Van Gundy may hire Otis Smith (his general manager when he was coaching the Orlando Magic) to become Detroit’s new GM.

Knicks Want to Buy a First-Round Pick

The Chicago pre-draft combine begins Thursday, but head coaches don’t always attend. The Knicks don’t have a first- or second-round pick, but will look to buy one at the end of the draft. Phil Jackson is expected to go to Chicago.

via Marc Berman of the New York Post

The Knicks don’t have their first-round pick, as it now belongs to the Orlando Magic. The team doesn’t have a second-round pick either, since it now belongs to the Houston Rockets.

It would make sense for New York to acquire a first-round pick, since their team lacks young assets.

Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. are the only 23-or-under players with guaranteed contracts for next season, so the Knicks could certainly use another young contributor on their roster.

This would be one of Jackson’s first moves since taking over basketball operations in New York, and he clearly doesn’t want to sit out on draft night. A number of teams have multiple picks in the first round including the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz, so New York may be able to find a team that’s willing to part with one of their picks.

Bennett Undergoes Another Surgery

Cavaliers forward Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, is recovering after having his tonsils and adenoids out at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, his second surgery in two summers. It is expected to help relieve his sleep apnea.

Bennett missed last year’s NBA combine and summer league because of rotator-cuff surgery on his left shoulder, but the Cavs said he should be fully recovered in time to play in the summer league this year.

via Mary Schmitt-Boyer of The Plain Dealer

Bennett’s rotator-cuff surgery last summer contributed to his struggles as a rookie, as he missed summer league and came into the season out of shape. Had he been able to participate in all of the team’s summer activities and train hard entering his rookie year, he may have been more productive.

That’s why it is important that Bennett is able to play in this year’s summer league and participate in all of the Cavaliers’ offseason plans. This is an important summer for last year’s No. 1 overall pick, who averaged a dreadful 4.2 points and three rebounds in 12.7 minutes in 52 games.

On Tuesday night, Bennett tweeted about a ”setback” and ”2 in 2 years,” but the tweets were later deleted, according to The Plain Dealer. He later clarified that he wasn’t talking about coaches and wished recently fired head coach Mike Brown well. Now, it’s clear what Bennett was talking about.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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