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.”
“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.
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.