Angry or chastened, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy remains one of the most quotable, candid and entertaining bench bosses in the NBA.
Van Gundy got a little too, er, entertaining Sunday in the Pistons’ Game 1 loss to Cleveland when he criticized the officiating in the live TV quarter-break interview on ABC. He felt Cavaliers’ forward LeBron James was getting preferential treatment in not being called for a couple offensive fouls and NBA headquarters felt on Monday that Van Gundy was out of line in his comments.
So on Tuesday Van Gundy got entertaining about the $25,000 fine imposed by the league for those initial comments.
First, he quibbled with the suggestion that $25K is chump change, even for an NBA head coach/president of basketball operations with a salary estimated at $7 million annually, as reported by the Detroit Free Press:
“Slap on the wrist?” Van Gundy jokingly lamented when asked about the fine. “Relative to what? That’s a lot of money, my man. That’s not a slap on the wrist. A slap on the wrist would’ve been a reprimand. Put a reprimand or letter of censure in my file. That would’ve been a slap on the wrist. This was a punishment.”
Sideline reporter Lisa Salters caught Van Gundy in a typical truthful moment Sunday, and he paid the price.
“I probably deserved to be penalized for being myself,’’ Van Gundy said. “I got no comments on it.”
Considering that Monday was a big day for another three-lettered operation known for requiring big checks from certain citizens, Van Gundy was asked about the tax implications of his fine.
“That’s a good question, ‘Is it tax-deductible?'” he wondered. “It goes to charity, which is good. I support most charitable organizations. I don’t know which one I just supported, but I’m happy to do it.”