Pistons president doesn't give timeline on coaching search, rebuild

Pistons president doesn’t give timeline on coaching search, rebuild

/ 05:23 PM June 22, 2024

Detroit Pistons Tom Gores Trajan Langdon NBA

Detroit Pistons Owner Tom Gores, right, and President of Basketball Operations Trajan Langdon pose after addressing the NBA basketball media, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT — There is still plenty of uncertainty and mystery surrounding the Detroit Pistons.

The organization is coming off the worst NBA season in franchise history and is once again searching for a new coach. There’s no clearcut path to success and their roster — beyond Cade Cunningham — is a series of question marks.

One thing owner Tom Gores seems sure about is that he has finally found the right front office executive to lead the franchise. He considers Trajan Langdon not only his president of basketball operations, but his CEO.

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“After assessing everything, I really felt the best choice for the organization was a fresh start,” Gores said Friday when the organization officially introduced Langdon. “Our mistakes in the past has nothing to do with just one person. We needed a fresh start and we needed Trajan to lead with a fresh start.”

Langdon, who was previously general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans, replaced former GM Troy Weaver as the franchise’s lead executive. Head coach Monty Williams was dismissed this week with five years and $65 million remaining on his contract.

READ: NBA: Detroit Pistons fire coach Monty Williams after one season

Former Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori and Pelicans assistant James Borrego are just some of the candidates who are expected to interview for the head coaching job. With the draft coming up next week and free agency starting on June 30, Langdon isn’t sure when a new coach will be in place.

“I can’t give you a timeline,” Langdon said of his coaching search.

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Langdon inherits an extremely young roster — the Pistons finished the season with 11 players 25 or younger. Development will be a high priority for the next coach after a disastrous 14-68 campaign.

“As much as we want to win,” Gores said, “we want to develop these young players.”

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The best of the bunch is Cunningham, who averaged 22.7 points and 7.5 assists this past season. He’s eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.

READ: NBA: Pistons hire Trajan Langdon as basketball operations president

The 48-year-old Langdon said he’ll try to take some pressure off Cunningham by upgrading his supporting cast.

The Pistons could have more than $60 million in cap space to make improvements. With many teams looking to shed salary due to the tax aprons in the new collective bargaining agreement, Langdon is willing to make trades that will help in the short and long term.

“One thing we are looking for with the cap space we do have is bringing in contracts maybe from other teams and gathering assets as well,” Langdon said. “Hopefully, with the players that come in, they can bolster the growth (of the younger players). If we can interweave those two things, that would make our summer successful.”

That’s as much as Langdon, who has been on the job for three weeks, can offer now to a fan base weary of rebuilding. The Pistons haven’t won a playoff series since 2008.

“I don’t think there’s a timeframe for us to get to the playoffs,” he said.

Gores hired Langdon not only for his basketball knowledge but for his overall leadership qualities. Langdon has been given full authority to run the organization’s day-to-day operations. One of the previous criticisms about its structure was that too many people had Gores’ ear.

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“I’m extremely confident that this partnership with Trajan is going to work, that it is going to turn our franchise around,” Gores said.

TAGS: Detroit Pistons, NBA

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