Questions about the future of Dwane Casey as head coach of the Detroit Pistons were inevitable. Casey is coming off a fourth consecutive losing season with the organization. He is entering the final year of his contract. The team is widely reported to be looking toward a major improvement next season.
Those questions accelerated when Casey was delayed by nearly an hour for his final home game presser after having a conversation with owner Tom Gores. Now national reporters are ramping up their potential coaching change coverage with the season near its conclusion.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports has an item on several teams who could make coaching changes this offseason and Detroit is one of them.
“Various Pistons staffers are preparing for Casey to no longer hold his head coaching post next season, league sources told Yahoo Sports, with the potential for Casey to step into a front office advisory role similar to Alvin Gentry’s path in Sacramento,” Fischer reports.
It has long been rumored the ideal path was for Casey to coach the Pistons and eventually land in a front office role when he decided to hang up his clipboard. The big questions is whether he’s ready to stop coaching or if he feels he has more good years left in the profession.
“One source with knowledge of the situation insisted Casey will have the choice of remaining on the bench or stepping into a different role within the team’s basketball operations. The Pistons, too, have clear designs on competing for a postseason position next year,” per the Fischer report.
I parse that as the perspective being he could be part of basketball ops for the Pistons or he could look to another franchise for a coaching opportunity — either as a head coach or as a lead assistant.
The Fischer report also includes some potential coaching replacements, but I think it’s premature to get too fixated on specific names. Fischer writes that Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and former Pistons legend Chauncey Billups as names.
But it’s important to make note of the language being used. Lee has been on of the top head coaching candidates for the past couple hiring cycles and the 38-year-old just hasn’t been given his opportunity yet. His name will always be one of the first on anyone’s short list. Griffin, meanwhile, has a specific Troy Weaver connection as a former Thunder assistant during Weaver’s tenure there. Billups, meanwhile, already has a head coaching gig in Portland. I don’t anticipate that franchise making a change unless franchise star Damien Lillard provides the organization a “him or me” ultimatum, and there is no sign that could be a possibility.
Finally, the report also indicates a Pistons lead assistant could be on the move. Rex Kalamian as a candidate to join the coaching staff in Houston, especially if the Rockets are able to reunite with James Harden this offseason.