DETROIT – Remember the day Steve Yzerman was hired to run the Detroit Red Wings? Wasn’t that a great day?
We don’t know how Yzerman’s return to his old team will work out, but it sure gave a boost to a struggling Detroit sports scene. And the Pistons could make a splash in the same way.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this week that the Detroit Pistons have started a search for a general manager, a position that has been filled by senior adviser Ed Stefanski for the last two years.
ESPN reports the team will start contacting potential candidates this week. The new GM will work closely with Stefanski and coach Dwane Casey on personnel matters, according to ESPN.
The NBA season, currently suspended due to COVID-19, was, for intents and purposes, over for the Pistons, even before the suspension. The team had shifted into rebuild mode after injuries stunted any progress the team hoped to make this year.
With Blake Griffin injured, the Pistons traded longtime center Andre Drummond and released longtime point guard Reggie Jackson. Stefanski said it was time to rebuild the team.
The team finally has some cap flexibility, after many years of bogged down contracts (hi, Josh Smith).
There are two former Detroit Pistons who fit the job description: Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince.
Billups has been a hot name in the NBA executive rumor mill for the last couple of years. He reportedly turned down an offer to run the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017, saying the “timing wasn’t right." He also previously interviewed for Atlanta’s GM job.
“My desire is to one day run a team, be in a front office and try to build a champion,” Billups said in 2018. “I know that I will, and I know I’m going to do a good job. When that opportunity presents itself, and it’s a good opportunity, I’ll be ready to go.”
Billups currently works as an NBA analyst on ESPN.
It would obviously be a huge move for the Pistons to bring in a former beloved star to run the team. It worked with Joe Dumars, and it could work again.
Tayshaun Prince, the quiet, yet important piece to the Pistons 2004 championship run, has been working his way up through NBA ranks since retiring as a player.
In 2017, Prince joined the Memphis Grizzlies as special assistant to general manager. In 2019, the Grizzles promoted him to Vice President of Basketball Affairs.
The Pistons will likely have a top-5 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft (whenever that happens).