The Pistons’ search for a head coach continues, a month after they fired Stan Van Gundy. They look to be in the final stages, having identified Dwane Casey and Ime Udoka as finalists, along with Michigan’s John Beilein, who removed himself from consideration on Wednesday.
They still are looking to fill out their front-office staff, which has been put on hold until they hire a head coach. It’s been a busy summer, but the Pistons look to be doing their due diligence in ensuring that they get the best candidate.
The Pistons don’t have much competition. Only the Toronto Raptors — Casey’s former team — have a coaching opening and Udoka already has interviewed with the Raptors. The process looks to be nearing an end with final interviews with Pistons owner Tom Gores this week.
The new coach will have to get working quickly, as the NBA draft is less than two weeks away, and the summer league begins in early July.
News & Views takes a look at where the Pistons stand in their searches:
News: Casey, a former Raptors coach, and Udoka, an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, are finalists for the Pistons’ job as head coach.
Views: It’s not a given that Casey gets the job because of his edge in experience. He had success in Toronto, leading them to a franchise-record 59 wins this season, and he looks to be the front-runner and easy choice.
It’s not that easy, though.
Udoka has a legitimate shot of getting the job, too. The fact is the Pistons are considering a rising assistant who could grow into a young star, very much like the Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens. The Pistons could be in a win-now mode in the short term, with big contracts for Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson.
Udoka is regarded as a players’ coach, because of his relationships with Spurs players, including LaMarcus Aldridge. Casey has the better resume, but Udoka could have the better long-term outlook.
News: Beilein announced Wednesday on Twitter that he’d return to Michigan for his 12th season.
Views: Michigan fans were in a frenzy for a few days while Beilein genuinely had interest in the Pistons’ job.
This dance with the NBA really was about his curiosity in coaching at the highest level. At age 65, Beilein isn’t going to coach forever and may have just a few short years left before he looks to retire. He looked at the opportunity but was on a short timeline — once his candidacy went public, he couldn’t leave Michigan or his recruits in a lurch for long. Beilein just wanted to see whether this was the right time; luckily for the Wolverines, it’s not — but it might not be the last time the NBA comes calling.
Beilein has a stellar recruiting class coming and has closed the gap in the rivalry against Michigan State, at least in the short term. If he had gone for the Pistons’ job, he would have been leaving the Michigan program in a much better spot than when he arrived in 2007.
News: The Philadelphia 76ers parted ways with team president Bryan Colangelo on Thursday in the aftermath of the scandal involving the release of sensitive team information on Twitter.
Views: The conclusion of the mess was that Colangelo’s wife was responsible for sending the information, but Colangelo had to take the fall because the information was shared in the first place. It’s a bitter ending for one of the most promising franchises in the NBA, with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as cornerstones.
The development does have a connection to the Pistons: Now there’s another team searching for a front-office head. The Pistons were the only team on the market, but with the Sixers joining the fray, it could have a small impact. The Sixers job certainly is more attractive to top candidates, but if their ownership is looking at a young candidate such as Nets assistant general manager Trajan Langdon, the Pistons could have some competition.