Tim Connelly, Trajan Langdon, Dennis Lindsey, Marc Eversley among targets for Detroit Pistons’ prez role

Detroit Bad Boys

Things are still mostly quiet as the Detroit Pistons look to hire a new president of basketball operations, but The Athletic has a batch of names that have emerged as “viable targets” for the president of basketball operations.

The top of the list is headlined by Tim Connelly, who The Athletic says the Pistons are “interested in making a run at” once the Minnesota Timberwolves’ season wraps up. Connelly has built a young and promising juggernaut in Minnesota, and regardless of how the season ends, Connelly is expected to opt out of his deal and seek a new contract.

A word of warning for Pistons fans — it is not just possible but perhaps even incredibly likely that Connelly would use Detroit’s desperation and deep pockets as leverage in seeking a new, long-term deal with the Timberwolves.

That being said, sometimes deep pockets do all the talking that is needed — ask Monty Williams. If Connelly is looking for a payday, he’d certainly get one in Detroit, and it’s unclear how comfortable Wolves’ owner Glen Taylor, who is also enmeshed in an ownership struggle, would be in paying top rate for a lead executive.

Again, it might be a pipe dream, but it is comforting that the Pistons are interested in going after one of the best in the game.

The other names on the list are also encouraging, should Connelly stick in Minnesota as is most likely to happen.

The Athletic mentions Trajan Langdon of New Orleans, Dennis Lindsey, a longtime Utah Jazz exec now with Dallas, and Marc Eversely in Chiago. Langdon has rocketed up the executive ranks relatively quickly since his NBA retirement in 2011. He started as a scout for the Spurs, became an assistant GM in Brooklyn in 2016 and then GM of the Pelicans in 2019. He is viewed as one of the sharpest minds in the NBA and a great meld of understanding the playing side and the asset management side of the game.

Lindsey had a decade-plus run with plenty of success in Utah before the team decided to hit the reset button by trading away its stars and rebuilding under the guidance of Danny Ainge.

Eversley was reportedly a finalist for the Pistons GM job in 2020 and, hey, if Pistons fans are desperate for this team to win 40 games, since becoming GM of the Bulls in 2020, Eversley has seen 31-, 46-, 40-, and 39-win seasons in the past four years.

The Athletic report also confirms previous reporting that the Milwaukee Bucks denied Detroit permission to speak to Jon Horst about the opening. The Athletic says that “it is possible that the Bucks were posturing to get assets from Detroit.” The story also says the Pisotns have “decided to move on to other candidates.”

This could be another bit of posturing, this time on the Pistons’ end, to make it look like it’s crossed off what seemed to be the top candidate on its list. Detroit could have legitimately moved on, of course, or it could be waiting for Milwaukee to drop its asking price to something easy to digest or to drop any compensation at all should Horst decide he’d really rather be elsewhere.

Speaking of potential posturing, Yahoo Sports reports that former Trail Blazers general manager, who was viewed as a candidate but more of a longshot for the president role in Detroit, “declined the Pistons’ outreach to interview for the role.”

That report also notes something interesting regarding Detroit’s contracted search firm, TurnkeyZRG, one of the top sports recruiting firms. Turnkey hired former Nets and Sixers GM Billy King in February, and he reportedly plays “an integral role in all basketball advisory services.”

Now, these search firms are more than teeing some up for “advisory services” and there is a ton of boots on the ground and shoe leather fact-gathering and reaching out to candidates. King might be the face of the basketball arm, but he’s not a lone voice.

What are we thinking about this list of candidates, Pistons fans?

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