Tom Gores

Pistons Owner Expresses Support For GM Troy Weaver

Pistons owner Tom Gores expressed confidence in general manager Troy Weaver during a session with reporters Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. There has been speculation that Weaver may be replaced amid a historically bad start to the season, but Gores didn’t provide any indication that he’s considering such a move.

“I think we just came together and the first thing we did is take accountability for the mistakes we made,” Gores responded when asked about Weaver. “As an organization, you really can’t go forward until you acknowledge what didn’t work. That was the first thing. And being honest about that provides you the future. If you don’t look in your past for a little bit and what was right and what was wrong, it’s very hard to go to the future. We did that along the process. I have confidence in Troy. I have confidence. We leaned on each other through this process, but we also didn’t avoid the idea of what were we accountable for? It gave us a pathway to go forward.”

The Pistons still have the league’s worst record at 8-44 after losing to the Clippers today, but Sankofa points out that they have been more competitive recently, going 5-8 since acquiring Mike Muscala and the recently waived Danilo Gallinari from Washington last month. The roster shakeup continued at Thursday’s deadline as Detroit added six new players — Simone Fontecchio, Troy Brown Jr., Shake Milton, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier and Malachi Flynn — while parting with veteran shooters Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, among others.

“We needed to mix up our formation,” Gores explained. “We had to let a few of our players go, all good men. Bojan and Burks contributed a lot to our Pistons. We just needed to change it up a bit and create some more pace-and-space for our young guys. As you know from Troy, we were at it working all last week, so we just needed to, for the sake of the team, let the young guys fly free.”

Today marked Gores’ first public comments on the team since late December when he promised fans that changes were going to be made. In today’s media session, Gores told reporters that he was involved in the process “almost every day.”

“The first month after that, I did a lot of it on a couple days of Zooms and calls and all that stuff,” Gores said. “Over the last 10 days, the team will tell you, Troy will tell you, we had a lot of all-nighters and up really late just making sure we make the right decision for this team. It’s a pivotal moment and you have to know when it’s pivotal. For us, it was important to get the right makeup and I thought we made pretty good moves. We also have a lot of cap space now in the summer, and we gained some good players.”

Gores added that he learned a lot about coach Monty Williams and people throughout the organization by watching how they responded in difficult times. He also indicated that several of Thursday’s additions could be in the Pistons’ long-term plans.

“This is just the beginning, and it’s our responsibility to do this,” Gores said. “We have to learn from what didn’t work, so we have to take that forward now. As I told the team and front office and everyone else that if we don’t win from our losses, then what are we doing? We have to be better because of our losses, and that’s our opportunity.”

Pistons Notes: Blame, Losing Streak, Williams, Improvement

The Pistons are in the midst of the worst losing streak in NBA history and there’s plenty of blame to go around. However, The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, writing with James L. Edwards III, says the brunt of the responsibility is on the front office. No one move is single-handedly causing this slide, but Detroit’s front office has made several moves that didn’t make sense, according to Vecenie.

One of the Pistons’ main issues on the court is spacing and, last trade deadline, they traded away Saddiq Bey, a career 35.9% three-point shooter, in a deal for James Wiseman. Vecenie also points out the Pistons hurt their future flexibility by trading a highly protected first-round pick (which features protections through 2027) for Isaiah Stewart.

Because of these moves, the Pistons simply don’t have the depth other teams do, Vecenie writes, which has been a factor in the losing streak. Vecenie doesn’t absolve coach Monty Williams, stating the rotations that put franchise centerpiece Cade Cunningham around non-shooters are confusing.

As for the team’s short-term future, the trade deadline is approaching, and Vecenie suggests the Pistons need to target a two-way, hybrid three/four wing like Torrey Craig to help their woes on the perimeter and should only sell Bojan Bogdanovic for a huge haul.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • The Pistons have bigger issues than their record-tying 28-game losing streak, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps writes. According to Bontemps’ sources, the Pistons are viewed as a team with “several stakeholders articulating different visions for the team.” Everyone from Williams to owner Tom Gores to general manager Troy Weaver to vice chairman Arn Tellem is said to have a different outlook for the organization, which hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008/09.
  • While all the Pistons’ power brokers hold some responsibility for the losing streak, The Athletic’s Sam Amick is less critical of Williams, to whom Detroit awarded a six-year, $72MM contract. Williams shouldn’t be in Detroit at all, according to Amick, who says the veteran coach instead deserved to remain in Phoenix, where he became a “fall guy.”
  • The Pistons almost defeated the Celtics on Thursday in a matchup between the teams with the NBA’s best and worst records. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated writes Detroit showed fight in the overtime loss. “I think it shows we’re on the same level of all the teams we’re playing against,” Cunningham said. “There’s no team I’ve ever come across where I felt like I was going into a slaughterhouse. I’ve never felt like that in my life going into a basketball game…there’s a lot of growth in tonight, some things we can learn from and definitely take into the next game.

Cade: Pistons’ Record-Setting Futility “Weighs On Us Every Day”

The Pistons established a new NBA record on Tuesday night, as the Nets defeated them 118-112. It was Detroit’s 27th loss in a row, the most consecutive losses by any team in a single season in league history.

Cade Cunningham scored 37 second-half points and 41 in all but it still wasn’t enough for the Pistons, who haven’t tasted victory since Oct. 28.

“It weighs on us every day,” he said during the postgame press conference relayed by Bally Sports Detroit (video link).

Coach Monty Williams said the burden of the losing streak has been tough to shoulder.

“It’s been heavy for a while,” he said (BSD video link).

The Pistons tied the record in a 126-115 loss at Brooklyn on Saturday. Their 27-game losing streak surpasses the futility of the 2010/11 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013/14 Philadelphia 76ers, who each lost 26 straight.

Philadelphia dropped 28 straight across parts of two seasons, at the end of 2014/15 and the beginning of the ’15/16 campaign. The Pistons could tie that record when they visit Boston on Thursday.

The Pistons were outscored by 13 points in the second quarter on Tuesday.

“That’s something that’s plagued us all year long, just having that segment of the game or one quarter that kind of put us in the hole and we just haven’t been able to do enough to overcome,” said Williams, who was signed to a six-year contract by owner Tom Gores during the offseason to bring the franchise back to prominence.

Detroit actually had a five-point lead in the fourth but then gave up 13 unanswered points and couldn’t overcome the deficit.

“We need to continue to lean on each other, and continue to push each other and hold each other accountable more than ever now,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension next offseason, exerted his leadership after the game.

“He showed me even more in the locker room just now,” Williams said. “He talked passionately about the things we need to do and how everybody has to be in the boat and be accountable for where we are. You have to be real about where we are. Nobody wants something like this attached to them. The bottom line is it’s my job, it’s my responsibility. Coaches are graded on their record. That’s the bottom line.”

Gores promised “changes” last week but it remains to be seen what alterations will be made.

Pistons Owner Tom Gores: “We Will Make Changes”

After the Pistons inched closer to making the wrong kind of history by losing to the depleted Jazz on Thursday night, Pistons owner Tom Gores spoke to select media to address Detroit’s current 25-game skid.

I think [the fans] deserve an answer,” Gores said in a Q&A with The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III and others.

While the Pistons weren’t expected to be a contender this season, they were hoping to take steps toward being a more competitive team. Clubs such as the Magic and Thunder have catapulted themselves into playoff contention this year behind young cores, and while the Pistons were definitely a tier below those two, the goal was to at least vie for a play-in spot following four straight seasons with 23 or fewer wins.

Detroit hired Monty Williams, who oversaw Phoenix’s transformation into a contender from a rebuilding team, and got former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham back from injury. The Pistons also have multiple promising young players, including Jalen Duren, Ausar Thompson and Jaden Ivey. Despite making what seemed like decent moves on paper, they never addressed their three-point shooting and are the worst team in the league in that regard. Now, rather than taking a leap forward, they’ve regressed and are at the lowest point of their rebuild.

However, Gores still believes in the future of the team and sees the Pistons as having the flexibility to improve moving forward.

So, as much as this vision feels blurry, to me, it’s the same vision I had at the beginning of the season about a bright future,” Gores said. “… We have an incredible set of young players. We’ve built ourselves to be flexible and nimble, so we’re not stuck in this problem. We have a problem. We’ve lost way too many games. We’re not stuck in it, though. We’re nimble. We can bounce from this. We have a tremendous amount of cap space.

Despite his optimistic outlook on the franchise’s overall health, Gores insisted that changes are imminent.

We require change,” Gores said. “We’re not doing well. As far as where we were going in getting this set of players and flexibility, I think the work is still there. We have to assess what’s not working. I’m down to Monty and I talking about rotations. I don’t normally do that. Monty is so good and knows what’s he doing, he’s open to even talking about it. We do have to change something. I can’t tell you what it exactly is. … We’re on it already. We will make changes. We will make them. We don’t know exactly what they’ll be yet.

While he was unwilling to commit to specific changes, Gores said they’ll have to be made “in the near future.” He also went on to say that a successful season would be getting wins and keeping the health of the young core in tact. However, Gores was clear he wants changes to extend to the roster as well.

I expect [general manager] Troy [Weaver] to find ways to change the makeup of our team and find ways to be more successful,” Gores said. “I do expect him to find ways, and he knows that. If we do nothing to improve ourselves, I’m going to be disappointed. That’s nothing new to Troy. He knows that.

Gores ended the interview by shutting down outside perceptions that there are voices moving in different directions within the organization, as well as they idea that he’d sell the team, as fans chanted on Thursday.

They can say what they want, but that’s ridiculous,” Gores said. “Other than winning — and we should win more games — we do a lot in the community. Players, the organization, we do a lot in the community. If you put aside winning, we’ve made a very big difference in the community. That means a lot to me. I understand that’s only going to mean a lot to people if we win, but the underworking of what’s happening and with our community, over all these years, is there. We’re doing multibillion-dollar things outside of (basketball). I understand the fans being upset, but it’s a ridiculous thought.

Pistons Notes: Williams, Assistants, Gores, Youth

After his wife Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer during a playoff run with the Suns this spring and he was subsequently fired by the team, Monty Williams was reticent to latch on with a new club right away. Lisa’s health ultimately delayed Williams’ decision to agree to a deal with the Pistons, and that delay led to some additional contract perks, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

“I had a situation, personally, in my family that needed attention,” Williams said during his introductory press conference this week. “I talked to my wife about whether or not we should talk about that publicly, but that was a huge part of my decision-making. The patience that (team president Troy Weaver) and Mr. Gores (Pistons owner Tom Gores) had with me as we navigated that told me a lot.”

Edwards reveals that, beyond a record-setting salary, the added perks Detroit allocated to Williams included a “health and welfare fund” which would help the Williams family pay incurred healthcare costs that their insurance would not finance and access to a private jet to spend more time with Lisa, who will be receiving care in Phoenix.

As Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes, after being let go by the Suns, Williams was considering taking a year off from coaching to spend more time with his family.

There’s more out of the Motor City:

  • Williams will be bringing much of his former Phoenix bench with him to the Pistons, in addition to some new assistants. In another article for The Free Press, Sankofa unpacks what Detroit’s fresh batch of assistant coaches will bring to the table. Stephen Silas, the head coach of the Rockets from 2020-23, is set to serve as Williams’ lead assistant. Former Suns assistant coaches Brian Randle, Steve Scalzi and Mark Bryant will be joined by ex-Sixers assistant Dan Burke. Jamelle McMillan (son of Nate McMillan) and Spencer Rivers (son of Doc Rivers) will be player development coaches under Williams. Sankofa hints that some other recent assistant coaches under former Pistons head coach Dwane Casey could stick around in the Williams regime.
  • Gores emphasized the import of securing Williams’ services to help guide his rebuilding club back to NBA relevance, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. “It was critical,” the Pistons’ owner said. “It’s a really important time. It was also about these players over here. They literally have trusted us and were holding their own practices and they have their own fortitude. They really were able to stay together and there was a moment when Troy and I, we were together and we said, ‘Those young men are relying on us.’ We had, I wouldn’t call it a yelling match at all, but we just talked about how important it was to deliver to our players.”
  • Sankofa notes in an additional piece that Williams is encouraged by the investment his new young players already appear to have in his abilities. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a press conference for a coach and all of the players show up,” Williams said. “That’s what I see. A hunger, a desire. They all want it. It really gets to you when you think about it. I could go on and on about what I’ve seen on film. I’ve also talked to them about what we need. We need to do some things a lot better. They’ve all been willing, they’ve all been receptive.”

Pistons Hire Monty Williams As Head Coach

JUNE 2: In a lengthy press release, the Pistons announced that Williams is officially the team’s new head coach. The Pistons also described how the agreement came to pass.

I couldn’t be more proud to have Monty joining us at this important time to lead us into the next decade of our future,” said Gores. “He embodies all of the qualities we want in a leader for our Pistons franchise, and most importantly a teacher and mentor for our players. He will have an impact on every aspect of our franchise, on and off the court.

After spending some time with Monty, it’s clear that he’s found a unique balance between achieving victory at the highest level while at the same time nurturing a culture of growth, development and inspiration. I’m beyond excited. This is a huge win for us.”

MAY 31: Monty Williams has reached an agreement to become the next head coach of the Pistons, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The former Suns coach will receive a six-year contract and the deal is expected to be finalized within a few days, sources tell Charania.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Williams’ salary as $78.5MM, which makes it the largest coaching contract in league history (Twitter link).

The agreement also includes two additional team option years and could reach $100MM with incentives, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo. Owner Tom Gores was heavily involved in the recruitment of Williams, Goodwill adds, as was general manager Troy Weaver, who worked with Williams in Oklahoma City.

Williams rejected Detroit’s initial interest and had planned to take a year off before coaching again. However, Gores remained in contact with Williams and was able to get him to reconsider, Goodwill writes. The team prepared an offer and negotiations began over the weekend, sources tell Goodwill, adding that Gores and Williams held their first meeting Sunday night in Los Angeles.

The Pistons began an interview process shortly after Dwane Casey resigned to take a management role after the regular season ended. Former Overtime Elite head coach Kevin Ollie, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and Pelicans assistant Jarron Collins were reported as the three finalists for the position way back on April 21, but the Pistons waited to see if a more experienced coach would become available.

With a young roster highlighted by former overall No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham, the Pistons are hoping that Williams can transform them the same way he turned around Phoenix after arriving in 2019. Williams took the Suns to the NBA Finals in 2021 and compiled a 194-115 record in four seasons, but new owner Mat Ishbia opted to make a coaching change after a second straight disappointing playoff exit.

Pistons Owner Optimistic Despite Rough Start

The Pistons have the worst record in the NBA but it doesn’t seem as if owner Tom Gores is looking to make any changes to the coaching staff and front office.

Gores is happy with head coach Dwane Casey and GM Troy Weaver and believes the young core Weaver has built will eventually revitalize the franchise, as he told Mike Curtis of the Detroit News.

“We’re growing,” Gores said. “Right now, we have an amazing core group and a lot of confidence. We’re better than our record is. We’re much better than that and I like the way that this team has a lot of heart. I feel great about it. Dwane’s doing good work. Troy continues to think about growth and everything, so I feel great about it.”

Weaver has drafted six players in the first round in three years, including last year’s top overall selection, Cade Cunningham, who is sidelined with a shin injury that may require surgery. Both of the team’s lottery picks this June, point guard Jaden Ivey and center Jalen Duren, have displayed high promise in the first 18 games but the Pistons have only three wins to show for it.

The Pistons are also currently missing two other players, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart, both of whom were selected during the first draft with Weaver in charge in 2020. Gores sees a silver lining, as other players get opportunities.

“What’s great is, it’s the next man up,” he said. “Everybody has to do their job. We’re a team, and injuries are a part of the game, so we have to know how to deal with that. Good luck, bad luck, we’ve got to make our luck.”

Gores is especially pleased with the addition of Bojan Bogdanovic, who recently signed a two-year extension. He leads the team in scoring (20.5 points per game) and gives the lineup a veteran presence.

“We’re lucky to have Bojan,” Gores told The News. “I’ll tell you what, he’s a tremendous veteran along with Alec Burks, as well. I think we’re very fortunate. We would be a different team without those veterans. The thing is, veterans bring a lot of experience, but both these guys can play, too. You can’t teach the young men unless you can play, also.”

Pistons Notes: Gores, Cunningham, Noel, Bagley, Livers

The Pistons have delivered only one winning season since Tom Gores became the majority owner. With the way general manager Troy Weaver has revamped the roster, Gores believes the franchise is ready to take off, Keith Langlois of writes.

“I’ve now owned the team for 11 years, and I’ve never felt this way,” Gores said. “This is a great foundation, it’s a tremendous foundation. Part of the reason I love the players on this team is that you have tremendous skill, but there’s a lot of humility here. With humility, you also reflect and that’s how you improve. I really love this energy. I love it, and I don’t say that often.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Cade Cunningham realizes he may have to make some individual sacrifices in order to become a true leader, as he told James Edwards III of The Athletic. “Right now, we’re still trying to figure it out and build our way up to being a winning team,” Cunningham said. “Everything that I’m doing, everything that the team is doing, should be with that in mind. Maybe, right now, I have to sacrifice some things. Maybe I have to sacrifice 50 shots a game to make sure the chemistry is good, we’re flowing, whatever. We need to know how we’re going to play. So, when it gets that time, everyone is confident, everyone is ready to go. That’s how I see things.”
  • Center Nerlens Noel, who has been working his way back from a foot injury since being traded from the Knicks, participated in his first practice on Tuesday, Edwards tweets. It would be surprising if Noel played this week, but he could get some rotation minutes while Marvin Bagley III recovers from a right knee injury, which is expected to sideline him for at least three or four weeks.
  • Along with Bagley, Alec Burks (left navicular fracture) and Isaiah Livers (right hip) are also listed as out for Wednesday’s season opener against Orlando, Mike Curtis of the Detroit News tweets.

Central Notes: Gores, Bucks, K. Martin, T. Brown

Speaking to Jabari Young of CNBC, Tom Gores admitted that he made a mistake early in his tenure as the owner of the Pistons by trying to take shortcuts to contention instead of being willing to be patient and endure some losing seasons while building the right way.

“I should’ve been better about the idea that you can’t always win, and you don’t win fast,” Gores said. “I think I’ve grown from that perspective. I’m not sure I understood the magnitude of the responsibility when you own a sports team in a town that is looking to you for inspiration.”

After spending several years in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference, Gores has embraced what general manager Troy Weaver calls a “restoration” of the franchise in the last couple years. The Pistons’ 20-52 record last season was their worst mark since 1993/94, but the team was able to add potential cornerstone Cade Cunningham to a promising young core this offseason, creating optimism for the future.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Bucks are on track to be a taxpayer for the second consecutive season in 2021/22 and could face some tough roster decisions a year from now, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that Bobby Portis, Donte DiVincenzo, and Grayson Allen are all on expiring contracts and will be in line for raises on their next deals.
  • Following the trade of Edmond Sumner, there’s a clearer path to a regular season roster spot for Pacers wing Kelan Martin, but he’s not taking anything for granted, as David Woods of The Indianapolis Star writes. Martin has twice agreed to push his salary guarantee date back in the hopes of making Indiana’s 15-man squad.
  • Former 15th overall pick Troy Brown, who was traded from Washington to Chicago at last season’s deadline, is hoping to claim a bigger role with the Bulls in his first full season with the team, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I feel like me and Coach (Billy Donovan) have a good dynamic in the sense of me being like a Swiss Army Knife,” Brown said. “Whatever he needs on the court, that’s what I go do — whether it’s playmaking, rebounding, playing defense, hitting 3s. I feel like that’s my job on the team, and I just try to accept that role and do it as best as I can.”

Eastern Notes: Mobley, Gores, Wizards, Bonner

The Cavaliers fielded calls for over a month regarding the No. 3 pick in the draft. However the team’s brass was more excited about adding a rookie with a very high ceiling than reconstructing the roster, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The Cavs selected USC big man Evan Mobley with the pick. “We were able to draft a transformative talent, whose versatility, athleticism and physical gifts are qualities we covet in a player. Evan Mobley checks each of those boxes,” GM Koby Altman said.

We have more from the Eastern Conference

  • Pistons owner Tom Gores calls top pick Cade Cunningham a natural leader and feels giddy about the team’s future, according to Keith Langlois of“I’ve never felt better,” Gores said. “I woke up this morning and felt like we won already. We haven’t won a game yet. We felt like we won. I feel excited about where we’re at, but I also know through my life experiences we’ve got to go to work. We’ve got a great foundation.”
  • Zach Guthrie and Mike Miller will be part of Wes Unseld Jr.‘s staff with the Wizards, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets. Guthrie worked under Rick Carlisle in Dallas last season, while Miller is the former coach of the G League’s Westchester Knicks. Former Magic assistant Pat Delany had already agreed to join the Wizards.
  • Becky Bonner is expected to be a bench coach on Jamahl Mosley‘s Magic staff, Fischer adds in another tweet. She’s already the team’s Director of Player Development and Quality Control. Nate Tibbetts, Dale Osbourne and Kaleb Canales are expected to be on the front of Orlando’s bench assisting Mosley, according to Fischer (Twitter link).