Pistons coaching search: 3 strong candidates, 2 wild cards

Dwane Casey steps down after fifth season as head coach

Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse watches from the bench in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Morehead State Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) (Mark Humphrey, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – The Detroit Pistons are officially looking for a new head coach.

Dwane Casey announced Sunday, after the final game of the regular season vs. Chicago, that he would be transitioning to the front office, saying he believes it’s time for a new voice in the locker room.

That opens up the first big coaching search in years for a team that could be an attractive landing spot for a coach with experience. Despite the terrible record, the Pistons have a handful of promising young talent, a probable high lottery pick in the upcoming draft, and excellent salary cap flexibility.

---> Pistons GM Troy Weaver ‘confident’ team is on path to success despite another woeful season

So who could be running the Pistons bench next year? Here are some options Pistons general manager Troy Weaver will likely consider.

Ime Udoka

Ime Udoka, 45, was one of the most promising new head coaches in the NBA before being fired for an incident involving a female member of the Celtics organization last offseason.

Udoka led the Celtics to the finals, just two wins from the title, before he was suspended and eventually fired in Boston.

Udoka is probably going to be on the top of any team’s coaching list, including the Houston Rockets, who also just parted ways with their head coach.

FILE - Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka reacts during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Boston. The Boston Celtics are planning to discipline coach Ime Udoka, likely with a suspension, because of an improper relationship with a member of the organization, two people with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Any team who looks to hire Udoka is going to have to deal with the baggage that may come along with it. Some will decide it’s worth the risk. Will the Pistons be one of them?

Charles Lee

Lee, 37, will be one of the more coveted assistant coaches interviewing for head coaching jobs in this cycle. He’s in his eighth season in the NBA, all on Mike Budenholzer’s staff with Atlanta and now with Milwaukee.

Lee was promoted to associate head coach last summer, a bump in title with the hope to keep him around longer. But that will only work for so long.

Milwaukee Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee gestures during the first half of the team's NBA preseason basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Hiring Lee would follow a newer trend of hiring younger, former players, even without the head coaching experience. But Lee brings plenty of experience, even at 37, and would likely connect with the Pistons young core.

Adrian Griffin

Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin is another hot name in the assistant coach to head coach pipeline. Yahoo Sports inside Jake Fischer reported him as a possible target with Casey’s departure.

Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game while leading the team after head coach Nick Nurse stepped down for a the night to let Griffin coach against the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Griffin, 48, spent nine seasons as an NBA player, and has been an assistant coach with several other teams. He was named acting head coach for the Raptors this season while head coach Nike Nurse dealt with personal matters.

Jerry Stackhouse

Now let’s get into the wild cards, starting with former Pistons star Jerry Stackhouse.

Stack still has plenty of love for Detroit, showing up recently to help roll out the updated teal jerseys this season. But he doesn’t have the NBA coaching experience you’d probably want with a young team like the Pistons.

Jerry Stackhouse #42 of the Detroit Pistons stands on the court near Head Coach Goerge Irvine during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 9, 2000, at The Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. (Getty Images)

Stackhouse is currently leading a revamp of the Vanderbilt University basketball program, having previously served as an assistant coach for the Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies. He also led the Raptors D-League team to a championship in 2017.

Stackhouse would be a fun splash for Pistons fans -- but he’s probably not at the top of the list, not yet at least.

Chauncey Billups

You knew this was coming.

Pistons great Chauncey Billups will probably come up any time there’s an opening in Detroit -- and that includes this one.

Billups is currently the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, in his second season at the helm. He moved quickly from assistant coach to head coach after working as a TV analyst after retiring from the NBA in 2014.

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups gestures toward officials during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Billups would be another big splash, and probably a popular move for Detroit fans. He hasn’t had the success at the NBA coaching level yet, but Portland wasn’t a team built to contend for a championship.

Billups may be aiming at a front office job long-term, but maybe making a sudden move to Detroit is an offer he wouldn’t be able to refuse.

Who would you like to see as next Pistons coach? Let us know in the comment section!

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.