By Blake Froling
Dwayne Casey, one of the of the leading candidates for the Detroit Pistons head coaching vacancy, appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” today with Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman.
The conversation turned toward how difficult it is to win in the NBA without stars, and Kellerman asked Casey if he thought Detroit’s Blake Griffin was in that star category. While he wouldn’t specifically say if Griffin is above Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, two players he coached in Toronto, Casey did have high praise for the Pistons forward.
“I know one thing that Blake Griffin is a star in this league,” said Casey. “I haven’t coached him, but again his abilities, his IQ is off the charts…I’ll let you know once I coach him down the road, but you got Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, so you got some good pieces there in Detroit.”
Casey is one of two leading finalists for the Pistons’ opening, along with San Antonio Spurs assistant Ime Udoka. TNT’s Kenny Smith has also been reported as a finalist. Detroit is still without a general manager as well.
Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN
The Detroit Pistons are interested in having further conversations with former Toronto coach Dwane Casey and Michigan coach John Beilein about their head-coaching job, league sources tell ESPN.
Both coaches have met with the Pistons’ front office already.
Casey led the Raptors to a franchise-record 59 regular-season victories and an Eastern Conference semifinal appearance, but a second consecutive sweep in the playoffs to Cleveland ended his tenure.
Beilein, who twice led the Wolverines to the national championship game, has long harbored intrigue with the NBA, sources said.
Former Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd is interviewing for the Detroit Pistons’ head-coaching vacancy on Saturday, sources confirmed to ESPN.
Kidd’s meeting with the Pistons follows interviews Thursday with Michigan coach John Beilein and former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey, sources previously told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Detroit also is planning to meet with Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard in the coming days, sources told Wojnarowski.
Kidd was fired by the Bucks 45 games into the 2017-18 season. He spent three-plus seasons in Milwaukee, with a 139-152 record and two playoff appearances. The 10-time All-Star point guard also coached one season for the Brooklyn Nets in 2013-14.
Yahoo! Sports first reported Kidd’s interview with the Pistons.
Detroit is looking to replace Stan Van Gundy, who left as the team’s president of basketball operations and coach after missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Pistons also parted with general manager Jeff Bower on Friday, league sources told Wojnarowski. Bower had spent four years in the Pistons’ front office.
The Pistons recently hired longtime league executive Ed Stefanski as special adviser, tasking him with reshaping the front office and coaching staff. Stefanski is running searches for a new general manager and coach concurrently.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.