Gores on Pistons: ‘We're going to make a run'
Los Angeles — Despite the slow start to the season, Pistons owner Tom Gores still is optimistic about the outlook in the second half.
Gores spoke to media members during halftime of the Pistons’ 102-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Sunday night. He backed Stan Van Gundy — who has the dual role of team president and coach — and reiterated that he thinks they can make the playoffs this season.
“I have absolute confidence in Stan,” Gores said. “We are having a hard time — and Stan and I are very real about that — but we also know we have a great group of guys and we believe they’ll work through this.”
The Pistons had lost three of the first four games on the five-game western trip but after the win Sunday, they’re in 10th place in the East, just three games out of a tie for the No. 5 spot. Injuries and inconsistency have sidetracked the Pistons’ first half of the season, leading to questions about their outlook.
“We’ve got a bump in the road and that’s what success is about — you have to work through it. It’s all about having rough times and your ability to work through,” Gores said. “I never worry about Stan because he wants to win; he’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen in my life. I believe in him as a man and I believe in him as a strong person.”
Gores and Van Gundy had a face-to-face meeting that lasted almost three hours on Saturday, after which Gores felt comfortable with where the team stands — and where they can go in the remainder of the season.
“I think we’re going to make a run. I like our guys,” Gores said. “We’re going to make a run.”
Gores also showed support for keeping shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who will be a restricted free agent in the summer — and who could command a contract in the neighborhood of $20 million per season if he gets an offer sheet from another team, which the Pistons would have an opportunity to match.
He didn’t seem to have reservations about a big offer, especially on the heels of giving Andre Drummond a max deal last summer. Caldwell-Pope is having the best season of his four-year career and looks to be a cornerstone of the Pistons’ franchise moving forward — that is, if they can re-sign him.
Gores is optimistic of that, too.
“I know Kentavious well. He is a hard worker, he’s reliable and he’s improving every day,” Gores said. “He should be a Piston — that’s just the bottom line. He has what it takes to be a Piston. He was a shy kid when I met him and he’s become a leader.”