Former Pistons coach Van Gundy: ‘Really lost’ about future

ESPN News Services

Former Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy says he is feeling “lost” after not finding another coaching job since parting ways with Detroit at the end of last season.

In an interview with the Real Talk Basketball with Rex Walters podcast published Friday, Van Gundy said he was still hoping to coach again but that no opportunities are presenting themselves.

“If I could get a job [for next season], I had planned to coach. Now, I really don’t know,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really lost right now. I don’t have an idea. My wife wants me to retire.”

If he doesn’t coach, Van Gundy, 58, said he is considering media opportunities or teaching at the college level.

“I want to do something, but if I’m not coaching, I don’t want to work too hard,” Van Gundy said. “If I’m going to be grinding, then I want to coach. If I’m not going to be coaching, I want to be semi-retired, at least. I really don’t know.”

The Pistons and Van Gundy parted ways after a 39-43 season in which they missed the playoffs for the second straight year. He was replaced by former Toronto Raptors coach and reigning NBA Coach of the Year Dwane Casey.

Van Gundy, who has also coached the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, has a career record of 523-384.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24349831/stan-van-gundy-admits-feeling-lost-coaching-job

Beilein signs rollover contract extension

By Blake Froling

The University of Michigan just locked up the best coach in program history for a very long time.

John Beilein signed a new rollover extension today that runs through the 2022-23 seasons, according to the university. With the rollover, the contract will automatically be extended every year until Beilein or the university decide not to exercise the option. Essentially, Beilein has a lifetime contract.

“I am grateful for the opportunity the University of Michigan has given to me over the past 11 years,” said Beilein in a statement. “Kathleen and I love Ann Arbor, our University, our fans and the state of Michigan. We will continue to work very hard in the future to have our basketball team reflect the greatness of this University. I thank Mark Schlissel and Warde Manuel for their faith and commitment to our coaching staff and basketball program. The future of men’s basketball is bright and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Beilein, 65, recently flirted with the idea of leaving Ann Arbor for the Detroit Pistons, but ultimately pulled his name out of consideration when the news went public.

“I am thrilled to ensure John’s leadership of our basketball program today and into the future,” said Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel. “I am very pleased with our shared dialog throughout the process, and I am extremely happy that one of the game’s great coaches is representing the University of Michigan.”

The Wolverines are fresh off their second National Championship appearance in the last six seasons and have the No. 16 ranked recruiting class according to ESPN. Michigan also returns Charles Matthews, who was the team’s second-leading scorer last season. Beilein is the winningest coach in program history.

Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Chauncey Billups says he’s ready to run NBA team

Associated Press

DETROIT — Chauncey Billups is still eyeing the chance to run an NBA team.

The former Pistons standout was back in the Detroit area Friday night as part of the BIG3 — entertainer Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players — which made a stop at Little Caesars Arena.

Billups had talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers last year but did not join their front office. When Detroit overhauled its organization this year, he seemed like a potential fit, but that didn’t happen either.

“My desire is to one day run a team, be in a front office and try to build a champion,” Billups said. “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.”

The Pistons were run by Stan Van Gundy — their coach and president of basketball operations — for the past four seasons, but they moved in a different direction this offseason. Dwane Casey was hired as Detroit’s new coach, and Ed Stefanski came on board as a senior executive.

“I thought Stan did a good job. Stan is a very good coach, but sometimes you just need a new voice,” Billups said. “Coach Casey obviously has been a very good coach the last few years. He’s really ascended to the top of the ranks in the league. Whatever happened in Toronto presented an opportunity for him to come here.”

In one offseason, Casey has been fired by the Toronto Raptors, hired by the Pistons and named NBA Coach of the Year.

Billups is still viewed fondly in Detroit after leading the Pistons to the NBA title in 2004. The team played at The Palace of Auburn Hills back then. The Pistons played their first season at downtown Little Caesars Arena in 2017-18.

“It’s always good to be here. Everybody knows how much I love the city, love the fans. Obviously, I never had the opportunity to play in this building. I wish we would have. I wish we played in the city when we were here,” Billups said. “But The Palace was good to us. The city was good to us, the fans. So it’s always good to be back here. I’m such a big Pistons fan. … I’m excited for the team for next year. The East is wide open, and I’m excited for the team. New coach, new everything.”

As for Friday’s BIG3 competition, Billups’ team — the Killer 3s — lost the night’s opening game as Metta World Peace was ejected. That was an unusual development in what Billups said should be a lighthearted league.

“We’re doing this for fun,” Billups said. “It ain’t that serious. So that’s kind of my message. We’re out here to just have fun, compete, have a good time, enjoy the fans of Detroit, enjoy every single city that we go to, and go home to our family and chill and relax. That’s what this thing is all about to me.”

World Peace was the most infamous participant in the brawl between the Pistons and his Pacers at The Palace in 2004. On Friday night, he punted the ball away early in the game and was tossed — although it was a bit of a shank.

“I told him in the locker room, ‘If you was going to kick it, you should have put it in the top row or the top deck at least,'” Billups said. “It was a weak kick.”

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24096485/chauncey-billups-ready-run-nba-team

Pistons agree to deal with former Wolverine Robinson III

Free-agent small forward Glenn Robinson III has agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal with the Detroit Pistons, a source told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears.

The contract has a team option on the second year, the source said.

The deal can’t be officially announced until Friday but Robinson tweeted Sunday that he was headed back to Michigan, where he played collegiately for two seasons with the Wolverines.

Robinson, 24, was limited to 23 games for the Indiana Pacers last season after he suffered an injury to the medial and lateral ligaments in his left ankle during a Sept. 29 practice. He underwent surgery in October and didn’t make his season debut until late February.

The 2017 NBA Slam Dunk champion, he blossomed into a solid contributor the previous season for Indiana when he averaged a career-high 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. Robinson shot .392 from the 3-point line, converting 49 of his 125 attempts.

At the time of his injury last season, he was shooting .412 from 3-point range, making 14 of his 34 attempts.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23966202/glenn-robinson-iii-agrees-join-detroit-pistons

Beilein: Offer from Pistons would have been tough decision

Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — John Beilein said he was never offered the Detroit Pistons’ coaching job.

“I never really had to make the decision,” the Michigan coach said. “That would have been a tough one.”

Beilein is now looking ahead to another season of college basketball after briefly emerging as a candidate for the Pistons. Not long after the news broke about Beilein’s talks with Detroit, he said he would be back at Michigan. The Pistons eventually hired Dwane Casey earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Beilein held a news conference to talk about the offseason. He led Michigan to the national title game this year before falling to Villanova, so the possibility of losing Beilein to the NBA was a jolt to Wolverines fans.

Mark J. Terrill/AP

“I was not offered the job by the Pistons,” Beilein said. “We certainly had some mutual interest. I think they had a great candidate in Dwane Casey.”

Beilein said he was intrigued by the possibility of coaching in the game’s top league.

“I love coaching basketball a lot, and you’re watching the NBA playoffs, and you’re seeing what guys are doing, and you’re looking, like, they’re running stuff that we run,” Beilein said. “I don’t know if they watched us or I watched them. You can see, boy, if you have really highly skilled players — [Boston Celtics coach] Brad Stevens kept telling me, ‘I’m having a blast.’ When you hear those words, and your season’s over — so that was appealing.”

With the Pistons’ search behind him, Beilein can prepare for the 2018-19 season with the Wolverines. Michigan announced Tuesday that the team will go on a tour of Spain from Aug. 17 to Aug. 26 that will include exhibition games.

The Wolverines lost star big man Moe Wagner early to the NBA, but some key players return from what was one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson, Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers will be joined by what is expected to be a strong group of new recruits.

So Beilein has plenty to look forward to at the college level, and he indicated there might not be any more flirtations with the NBA.

“I think that I ran that race, and you can’t run that race too many times,” he said. “I don’t know what I would have done, but I was really impressed with everybody in that organization, and I’ll be rooting for them like I always have.”

The other intriguing bit of recent news that at least partially involved the Michigan basketball program was Chris Webber’s appearance with Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh on Ann Arbor’s WTKA radio last week. Harbaugh asked Webber to be an honorary captain for the football team next season, and Webber sounded amenable to the idea.

A return to Ann Arbor by Webber — even if it’s for football — would be a big deal. He led the Michigan basketball team to the Final Four in 1992 and 1993, but a federal investigation revealed that a booster gave Webber and three other players more than $600,000 while they were student-athletes, and the NCAA forced the school to dissociate from them until 2013.

“There was five or six years where I was limited what I could say about that era. Since the ban’s been off, I’ve reached out to Chris several times,” Beilein said. “I continue to do that, and we’re going to continue to try and build bridges and just really work at making sure there’s a lot of healing going forward.

“I want every player that ever played here to feel like he’s a part of that building, including Chris and anyone else.”

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/23919902/michigan-coach-john-beilein-says-was-never-offered-detroit-pistons-job

Pistons coach Dwane Casey wins NBA’s Coach of Year honors

ESPN News Services

Dwane Casey was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year on Monday night for a season in which he led the Toronto Raptors to their best regular season, only to be fired after they were ousted for a third straight playoffs by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Casey, who has since been hired as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons, led Toronto to a team-record 59 wins this past season and the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but he lost his job after the Raptors were swept by the Cavs.

“Once you get fired, it’s not a good feeling when someone, after you have a franchise record [in wins] and then you still get let go, that’s the uneasy part,” Casey said. “Say, OK, something must be wrong with me. But the opportunity in Detroit has given me more enthusiasm, and I’m excited to get going again. Again, a lot of it goes with Tom Gores, the owner; he’s exciting and excited to get another chance in Detroit.”

Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics and Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz also were up for the award.

The Raptors’ record improved in six of seven seasons under Casey.

“A lot of the same core guys have been there and they grew,” Casey said. “That’s a regret you have that we made it to the Eastern Conference finals, but we couldn’t get over the hump to get to the Finals to try to win a championship. So that’s always a regret. But, again, I can still hold my head high from what we had and what we grew from, and nobody can ever take that away.”

Last month, Casey also was named winner of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, which is voted on annually by the league’s 30 head coaches.

“I have no regrets,” Casey said. “I’m excited about the new journey in Detroit with the group we have there. So can’t look in the rearview mirror. Winston Churchill said success is measured by failure, failure, and then come back with enthusiasm, and that’s what I’ve done.”

Other awards handed out at the NBA Awards show in Santa Monica, California:

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert of the Jazz

The center was the leading vote-getter for the league’s All-Defensive first team. Gobert anchored a Jazz defense that ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating.

He beat out Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia.

“Defense to me is something that, when you watch a game, you don’t really pay attention to defense unless you’re very — unless you’re a specialist,” Gobert said. “People watch the points, they watch the highlights. But the defense I think helps the offense. I think when you’re a very good defensive team — it’s very rare a team wins a championship when you’re not a very good defensive team.

“I think when you’re a very good defensive team you give yourself a chance every night, on the road, at home, it’s a big factor and something to build on.”

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams of the LA Clippers

The guard became the first player to average at least 20 points for the first time in his 13th season or later.

He led the league in fourth-quarter points and scoring average.

He beat out Houston’s Eric Gordon, last year’s winner, and Fred VanVleet of Toronto. Williams kissed his two young daughters on his way to the stage after becoming the Clippers’ third winner in the past five years.

“I go out on the floor. I play as hard as I can and I live with the results,” Williams said. “It’s extremely exciting to be recognized for it. To have an opportunity to win a Sixth Man, this being my second in my career, being one of the guys that go out there night in and night out, that’s in that lane.

“You’ve got the Jamal Crawfords, Eric Gordons, VanVleet, we’re like special teams, and we go out there and try to do the best we can for our respective games and turn the course of how games go. So to be recognized for that tonight is an amazing accomplishment.”

Most Improved Player: Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers

The guard averaged 23.1 points in his first season with the Pacers.

He earned his first All-Star berth, too. Oladipo also led the league in steals for the first time. He beat out Clint Capela of Houston and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets.

“I put in a lot of work, obviously it was a great season,” Oladipo said. “I’m blessed and thankful. Sometimes you get to points in your life where you do surprise yourself. But at the end of the day I’m thankful. It’s only the beginning for me and the Pacers organization, so I’m looking forward to the future.”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson

Robertson received the award from presenters Charles Barkley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

After Barkley mentioned last year’s recipient Bill Russell, Boston’s Hall of Fame center flipped his middle finger in Barkley’s direction.

Robertson is the career leader in triple-doubles and was the first player to average one for a season. His antitrust case against the NBA also ushered in free agency for players, which Robertson said was his most important assist.

Backstage, Robertson commended the activism of today’s players, although he wondered why more white athletes aren’t speaking out.

“The only thing that really bothers me is where are the white athletes when this is happening?” he said. “This is not a black athlete problem. You see injustice in the world. It’s all around.”

Robertson went on to say he hopes “the whites and the blacks get together, even with the football,” a reference to NFL players who have taken a knee or sat in silence during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Information from ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and The Associated Press was used in this report.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23908106/ex-raptors-coach-dwane-casey-wins-nba-coach-year-honors

Pistons draft Brown, trade for Thomas

Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — With their first-round pick gone after the trade for Blake Griffin, the Detroit Pistons tried to make the best of a tough situation on draft night.

The Pistons selected Bruce Brown of Miami in the second round Thursday and traded for the rights to second-round pick Khyri Thomas of Creighton. Detroit used the No. 42 overall pick on Brown. Thomas went to Philadelphia at No. 38, and he was traded to the Pistons for two future second-round picks.

“Tough as nails, both of them. They can make plays,” said Ed Stefanski, a senior executive for the Pistons. “Two wings. … That’s what we need. We need some young guys, especially that play that position.”

The Pistons sent their first-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade for Griffin this past season, so this was shaping up as an uneventful night for them. They did manage to come away with two players instead of one, but expectations will likely be tempered for these second-round selections.

The 6-foot-5 Brown, who averaged 11.7 points per game over two seasons at Miami, was limited to 19 games in 2017-18 because of a left foot injury. He shot just 27 percent from 3-point range last season.

“I’m good to go — fully cleared,” Brown said. “All the medicals looked fine at the combine, so yeah, I’m ready to go.”

The 6-foot-3 Thomas averaged 15.1 points last season and shot 41 percent from beyond the arc. He started 96 games in his three seasons at Creighton.

“Shooting the 3s and just defending,” Thomas said. “I know that’s one way to get on the court, and defending, that’s my thing, something I like to do.”

Al Bello/Getty Images

Detroit hired Dwane Casey as its new coach this offseason. There’s still work to be done in reshaping the front office, but Stefanski said this week he would have a lot of influence.

The Pistons have had mixed results with their last three first-round picks — Luke Kennard, Henry Ellenson and Stanley Johnson — and after trading for Griffin, they don’t have a particularly flexible roster. They also parted ways with a couple key perimeter players in that deal, sending Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris to the Clippers, so there’s room for more depth on the wing.

Stefanski said there’s more adrenaline when a team has a first-round pick to make, but the trade with Philadelphia made the night perhaps more intriguing than expected for the Pistons.

“It got exciting when it started to come together,” Stefanski said. “It looked like we weren’t going to be able to do anything, it looks like the guys were coming off the board, and then it got exciting for us.”

Interview: Rod Beard, Detroit News Pistons reporter, June 12, 2018

Pistons beat writer Rod Beard joined us to discuss the Dwane Casey hiring and the latest on the GM search.

0:00-2:06 – How the Pistons convinced Casey
2:07-3:30 – Casey a players coach, SVG not?
3:31-4:44 – Casey’s coaching style
4:45-6:00 – Can he elevate play of younger guys?
6:01-7:26 – What went wrong in Toronto?
7:27-8:32 – What does a successful Dwane Casey tenure look like?
8:33-10:21 – Latest on GM search
10:22-11:15 – GM candidates
11:16-12:31 – Draft preparation

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.