The Detroit Pistons have begun exploring coaching options amid their current disappointing NBA season in an attempt to make positive changes for the future. After firing first-year head coach, Maurice Cheeks, on Sunday after a 21-29 record to start the season, the team finds itself in a transition period. The Pistons have become one of the bottom-tier teams in the NBA over the past few seasons after being among the NBA’s elite teams from 2001-2008.
The current season for the Detroit Pistons has been riddled with much of the same frustrations that they have gone through in recent seasons. Detroit only has a slightly better record this season as opposed to what record they had at this point last season. During the offseason in 2013, Detroit signed coveted free-agent, Josh Smith, to a large contract in an attempt to revitalize the franchise. While Smith has played decently for his new team, he has not led the team to a winning record with the other difference makers on the court that include Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey.
On Monday, the Pistons did manage to win with interim coach, John Loyer, against a very good San Antonio Spurs team. Despite the impressive win, the Detroit Pistons are still exploring internal options amid the disappointing season. Loyer is not expected to be given the head coaching job, however, but there are some intriguing choices for their next head coach.
Legendary NBA coach, Phil Jackson, is the dream choice of head coach for the Detroit Pistons, and the team will likely try to engage him in talks in an attempt to test the waters. Pistons’ owner, Tom Gores, is very good friends with Phil Jackson, and last year he had Jackson advice the team in their search for a head coach last summer. The chances of Jackson “going to Detroit for anything less than full control of the front office and a piece of the team,” are very slim, however. Jackson does have the credentials that would make any team interested, which include 11 NBA titles as a head coach in his illustrious career.
Lionel Hollings is another intriguing candidate for the Detroit Pistons head coaching position. Some analysts around the NBA believe that Maurice Cheeks was fired around the halfway point in the season so that Detroit could add Hollings as head coach. Lionel Hollings could become be a popular candidate at the mid-season point if any head coaching positions, such as the heavily rumored New York Knicks, are vacant. Detroit’s strategy may very well be to snatch up the head coach before he could be taken by another team. Previously in his career, Lionel Hollings led the Memphis Grizzlies to three straight playoff births until he left after last season. Hollings’ coaching abilities could enable him “to lend a strong voice and hard edge to a young team that would appear to need some guidance.”
In terms of trades talks, Detroit has been resistant to trading away Greg Monroe, despite the fact that his value would bring in a serious return for Detroit. Many teams have sent inquiries about trading for Monroe, but Detroit wants to keep him. Monroe will be a free agent at the end of the season, and Detroit has stated that they will try very hard to sign him back with the team.
Overall, the Detroit Pistons are serious about exploring other coaching options amid the current disappointing season. Phil Jackson seems to be more of a dream for Detroit as head coach, but emerging coach, Lionel Hollings, is currently the front-runner for the position. As for players, so far the Pistons are content with their current set of players, and they have not made any moves as of yet.
By Glen Parris