Pistons hire Dwane Casey

By Blake Froling

Thirty five days after the Detroit Pistons fired Stan Van Gundy, they have finally found his replacement.

Former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey has reportedly agreed to a five-year deal to become the next head coach of the Pistons, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Casey was one of two leading candidates heading into the weekend, along with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka. Detroit still does not have a general manager.

“I am excited and honored to join the Detroit Pistons, a franchise with a championship history and a roster that is ready to win now,” said Casey in a statement from the team.  “Tom (Gores) really won me over with his vision for the team and the city. He clearly wants to deliver for the fans in Detroit and I believe in the strength of his leadership to do so.  I’m confident that this team has the pieces in place to compete at a very high level. There is a lot of talent, a solid core and some exciting young players eager to get better. We’re getting to work right away on the things that will make us all successful.”

According to Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, the deal is worth “just above” $7 million per year, similar to Van Gundy’s deal. 

“Dwane is one of the most successful and highly respected coaches in our league,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores in a statement.  “He’s a great communicator and a leader who will connect with our players and accelerate their growth. Having spent many hours with Dwane over the last few weeks, I’m confident he is the right person to get us to the next level.”

Casey, 61, went 558-320 in seven seasons with the Raptors, with playoff appearances in the last five seasons. In 2017-18, he led the team to a 59-23 record, the franchise’s best mark in its history, but was fired after being swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

Amid speculation that he would be fired by the Raptors, Casey was voted coach of the year by the National Basketball Coaches Association, which is voted on by the league’s coaches. Before his Toronto stint, Casey spent three seasons as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, winning an NBA title in 2011. He was also the head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2005-07 before being fired midway through his second season.

Casey also spent time as an assistant coach for the Seattle SuperSonics, coached in Japan for five years and worked at the University of Kentucky in the 80’s, where he won a national championship as a player in 1978.

Dwayne Casey on First Take: ‘Good pieces’ in Detroit

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.

Commission calls for audit in arrest of Bucks’ Sterling Brown

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission is calling for an audit of the stun gun arrest of Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown.

The commission wrote to Chief Alfonso Morales asking for the audit and all body-camera video of the arrest. Commissioners want the findings to be turned over to them and the Milwaukee Common Council.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Police officers confronted Brown in January after he had parked illegally in a drugstore parking lot. Police video of the arrest shows officers swarming Brown and taking him down when he didn’t immediately take his hands out of his pockets as ordered.

Three officers involved in the arrest have been disciplined, with suspensions ranging from two to 15 days.

Brown’s attorney Mark Thomsen says he has delayed plans to file a federal lawsuit Friday.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23732606/commission-calls-audit-arrest-milwaukee-bucks-sterling-brown

Mock draft roundup for Bridges, Jackson, Wagner

By Blake Froling

The NBA Finals aren’t technically over yet, but we’re already turning our attention to the NBA Draft, coming up June 21. Everywhere you look, someone has a new “Mock Draft 27.5” that promises “big changes at the top!”

Instead of making you sift through dozens of websites just to find the players you care about, I decided to do the work for you. The three players we are really interested in are Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges and Michigan’s Moe Wagner. The rest is just filler.

Here is what some of the “experts” are saying about these local stars in their latest mock drafts.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

Unsurprisingly, Jackson’s draft stock is by far the highest of the three. He’s been consistently hovering around the 2-5 range since he officially declared for the draft. Teams love Jackson’s defensive prowess and inside-outside offensive game. Plus, he’s not even 19 years old yet and has barely scratched the surface of his true potential.

CBS Sports – No. 5 (Dallas Mavericks)

Gobs of upside here. Going to Dallas would allow him the room to grow but also get playing time fairly immediately.

Sports Illustrated – No. 3 (Atlanta Hawks)

He possesses a critical duality for modern bigs: he can step out and shoot from outside, while also defending in space and protecting the rim. Jackson needs to mature physically and mentally before he can become a mainstay, but with the strides he’s made over the last couple years, he’s worth a substantial investment.

Bleacher Report – No. 5 (Dallas Mavericks)

Jackson averaged 5.5 blocks and 2.0 threes per 40 minutes during his lone season at Michigan State, which is a rare, valued mix of abilities. The Mavericks will be thrilled with that skill set and can bet on the rest of his offensive repertoire to develop over the next few years.

Miles Bridges

After returning for his sophomore season, Bridges’ stock has remained pretty much the same. He was never projected as a top-five pick and he likely won’t last past the lottery. Bridges’ fit in the NBA will be different than at Michigan State. Instead of being criticized for not taking over games and settling for 3-pointers, Bridges’ value will be directly tied to how well he hits threes and he won’t be asked to take over games yet.

Teams love wing prospects who can shoot, rebound a little and play some defense. Bridges fits the mold. His ceiling might not be as high as Jackson, but his floor is that of a solid role player.

CBS Sports – No. 14 (Denver Nuggets)

I think he falls to 14 due to players ahead of him offering up a bit more well-rounded, NBA-style skills. This is not a knock on Bridges, though, who if anything might be a tad underrated at this point.

Sports Illustrated – No. 11 (Charlotte Hornets)

Bridges immediately makes their rotation more athletic, and has enough scoring ability to conceivably contribute right away. He’s a strong, powerful player who rebounds, thrives in transition and can knock down open shots.

Bleacher Report – No. 11 (Charlotte Hornets)

Bridges should be a draft-night target for the Hornets, who need offense from both forward spots. He would work best as a small-ball stretch 4 alongside Dwight Howard, though continued progress on his shot-creating and off-the-dribble scoring should mean Bridges could also play next to Marvin Williams.

Moe Wagner

Wagner made nice strides in his game this season, but what you see is what you get. Many experts think he’s pretty close to his ceiling right now. Good shooter, not so good defender. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Shooting big men are all the rage in the NBA. Wagner will likely find a home somewhere in the second round or late first.

CBS Sports – No. 36 (New York Knicks)

The vision of a Wagner-Porzingis international team-up playing in Manhattan seems like a ton of fun.

Sports Illustrated – No. 37 (Sacramento Kings)

Bleacher Report – No. 29 (Brooklyn Nets)

The Nets could use a big man to stretch the floor, which will be Wagner’s NBA calling card. He struggles defensively, but his shooting (39.4 3FG%) and ability to attack closeouts are valued in today’s NBA.

John Beilein staying at Michigan, reportedly with a contract extension (update)

By Blake Froling

**update**

The University of Michigan has almost finalized a two-year contract extension with John Beilein, according to The Athletic. It is reported to be worth just shy of $4 million per year with a rolling option.


Michigan fans, you can relax now.

It looks head basketball coach John Beilein will be staying in Ann Arbor for the foreseeable future after he tweeted this earlier today:

Beilein was one of three rumored candidates to become the next Detroit Pistons head coach, along with former Toronto Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka.

(Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

Beilein and the university have also been reportedly working on a contract extension after he led the Wolverines to their second national championship appearance in six seasons back in April. In his 11 seasons in Ann Arbor, Beilein is 248-143 and the school’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach.

This is the smart move for Beilein. The NBA is tempting for many college coaches, but more often than not it ends poorly. Beilein has an impeccable legacy at Michigan and he’ll have a job there as long as he wants it. Heck, they might re-name a building in his honor once he retires.

What would have been the upside to taking the Pistons job? Possibly more money, even though he just received a lucrative extension at Michigan. If things went perfectly and he brought a championship to Detroit, he’d be considered the greatest basketball coach in the state of Michigan. But the odds of that happening were very slim based on the current Pistons roster.

It seems like there was genuine interest on Beilein’s side regarding the Pistons job, but at the very least he used the rumors to secure an even richer contract extension. A win for Beilein, a win for the school, a win for Michigan fans, and possibly a win for the Pistons if they hire the right coach now that Beilein is off the table.

Pistons narrow coaching search to Dwane Casey and John Beilein

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.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23698451/pistons-interested-talking-again-dwane-casey-john-beilein-coaching-vacancy

Video: Police discuss backlash of arresting Sterling Brown

MILWAUKEE — Newly released police video of the stun gun arrest of Bucks guard Sterling Brown show one officer stepping on Brown’s ankle while he was handcuffed on the ground and others discussing the potential backlash of taking down a black professional basketball player.

The body camera and squad car videos, obtained by WISN-TV and posted online Sunday, show the moments after Milwaukee police officers swarmed Brown in January when he didn’t immediately take his hands out of his pockets as ordered. Brown had been standing and talking with a group of officers as he waited for a citation for illegally parking on a handicap spot outside a Walgreens.

Brown wasn’t charged with anything and three officers involved in the arrest were disciplined, with suspensions ranging from two to 15 days. Eight others will undergo remedial training in professional communications. Brown has said he plans to sue the department.

In one of the videos, Brown is on the ground and handcuffed when an officer puts one of his boots on Brown’s ankle, holding it there and at one point pressing down. Brown doesn’t mention being in any discomfort but he questions the officer about why he’s stepping on him.

“C’mon man, you’re stepping on my ankle for what?” Brown said. In response, the officer said he was trying to prevent Brown from kicking anyone.

Other videos obtained by WISN-TV show an officer talking with two others who are seated in a squad car as they explained they were trying to protect themselves during the arrest. They also talk about how they could be perceived as racist for arresting a black Bucks player, with one saying if anything goes wrong, it “is going to be, `Ooh, the Milwaukee Police Department is all racist, blah, blah, blah.”

Another video shows an officer in his squad car, calling to let a supervisor know he’ll need to be on overtime before singing, “Money, money, money, money, money …”

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales has apologized to Brown and on May 23 released body camera footage of the officer who initially contacted the basketball player outside the store.

The incident happened a month before Morales was appointed chief, following the retirement of Edward Flynn. Since becoming chief, Morales has pledged to improve the police department’s relationship with minorities and to be more transparent with cases of officer misconduct.

It’s unclear why the new videos were not released along with the first body camera footage. Sgt. Sheronda Grant, a police spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to that question Monday from The Associated Press.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23694088/video-police-discuss-backlash-arresting-milwaukee-bucks-sterling-brown

Jason Kidd taking interview for Pistons coaching job

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.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23677219/jason-kidd-interviewing-detroit-pistons-coaching-job

Wolverines coach John Beilein interviews for Pistons vacancy

By Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN

The University of Michigan’s John Beilein interviewed for the Detroit Pistons’ coaching job on Thursday, league sources told ESPN on Friday.

Beilein, who twice led the Wolverines to the national championship game, has long harbored intrigue with the NBA, sources said.

Sources told ESPN that Beilein and former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey met Thursday in Michigan with Pistons officials — a contingent that included new senior adviser Ed Stefanski and coaching search consultants Bernie Bickerstaff and Jim Lynam.

Detroit also is planning to meet with Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard in the coming days, sources told ESPN.

Beilein, who has been Michigan’s coach since 2007, earlier this month said he and the Wolverines were actively in talks about a contract extension that would keep him with the school beyond the 2020-21 season.

He last received an extension in November 2015 that pays him $3.37 million per year through 2020-21. He is the school’s all-time wins leader with a record of 248-143.

The Wolverines are coming off their second Final Four appearance under Beilein and a school-record 33 wins last season. Michigan lost 79-62 to Villanova in the title game in April.