Report: Pistons will hire new president to oversee basketball operations

Detroit Bad Boys

General manager Troy Weaver has led the Detroit Pistons to two consecutive seasons with the league’s worst record, and his time might be running out. The Pistons plans to hire a new head of basketball operations and will begin the search this week, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

A new team president would sit above Weaver and would almost certainly have the leeway to hire and fire the current regime as he or she sees fit. That could, of course, also extend to current Vice Chairman Arn Tellem, Senior Adviser of Basketball Operations Ed Stefanksi, Front Office Assistant Dwane Casey, or even first-year head coach Monty Williams.

There is certainly a sense that an executive fumigation might be in order after years and years of perpetual losing and little in the way of developmental progress outside of drafting a number of first-round picks.

Earlier Monday, Athletic reporter James Edwards floated some names of potential presidents who could be charged with cleaning up the current mess. Edward’s piece doesn’t rely on any sourced-reporting, unless he’s being coy on specific details, but is more of an informed piece on potential candidates that could appeal to the Pistons, and that the Pistons would appeal to the candidate.

Some mentioned have local ties, including Jon Horst, currently the GM of the Milwaukee Bucks, who is a Michigan native and worked for the Pistons from 2007-08; John Hammond, a former Pistons assistant GM who is now in charge of the successful rebuild with the Orlando Magic; Neil Olshey, a longtime executive with the Portland Trail Blazers, Bryson Graham, a rising star with the New Orleans Pelicans, and Casey, a familiar face already working for the Pistons’ front office.

It feels like the Pistons would want to move on making a hire sooner rather than later because that new person in charge will have a limited window to evaluate how they want to build the front office and what they want to do with coach Williams, who just finished the first year of a record six-year contract.

The Pistons could find themselves in a situation where they have decided it would be best to proverbially clean house, and get rid of both Weaver and Williams, but do it so late in the offseason that potential candidates to replace those two have already been scooped up by other organizations.

Considering the rumor mill has been grinding away at the potential for the Pistons to hire a new president for weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if they already have an idea of who their top candidates are and move swiftly.

Whomever is put in charge of the Pistons will have a lot of fixing to do, but in different molds from Weaver’s predecessors, Ed Stefanski and Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy moved heaven and earth, but only managed to build a team with a ceiling of a 6-8 seed and likely a first-round exit. Van Gundy also traded for Blake Griffin, who shined in his first full season in Detroit, but was derailed by injuries. Stefanski, meanwhile, was mostly charged with clearing the decks. He got rid of anything not glued down so the Pistons could hire a new GM with as clean a slate as you could get.

Unfortunately, that clean slate was also clean of surplus value anywhere. The organization was literally starting from scratch with very little young or veteran value to trade to other organizations or to build around.

Weaver tried to accelerate things as best he could and traded for two extra first-round picks in 2020. His three-player first-round haul was Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey. Not great.

But he has continued adding young talent, including Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Ausar Thompson, and Marcus Sasser. The Pistons also have the best odds at the No. 1 pick this year, and an NBA-leading $60 million in cap space.

So the Pistons have gone from negative assets, to no assets, to young assets. But still not many wins, no sense of a winning culture, and to much in the way of clear direction on how to build a true contender around Cade Cunningham.

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