The Pistons have begun to shape their new-look front office, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team has hired Ed Stefanski as a senior advisor responsible for overhauling the team’s basketball operations. Stefanski, cited last week as a candidate to join the Pistons, had been working in Memphis as the Grizzlies’ executive VP of player personnel, and had a previous stint as the Sixers’ general manager.
The Pistons have confirmed the hiring in a press release.
According to Wojnarowski, Stefanski will take stock the Pistons’ current front office and will oversee the process of hiring a new general manager and head coach. Woj adds (via Twitter) that former Raptors coach Dwane Casey will be a primary target in Detroit’s search for Stan Van Gundy‘s replacement on the sidelines, with the Pistons intending to engage Casey “immediately.” Stefanski and Casey worked together in Toronto from 2011 to 2013.
Hiring Stefanski as an advisor responsible for leading the general manager search suggests that the Pistons may not formally name a president of basketball operations above the GM in the hierarchy, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. It’s not clear how much influence Stefanski, who received a three-year deal, will have over basketball decisions once a new GM is hired, but Wojnarowski notes that the former Grizzlies exec will report directly to owner Tom Gores.
Among Stefanski’s first tasks will be assessing the work of current Pistons executives, including GM Jeff Bower, whose contract expires on June 30. Stefanski will also focus on separating the basketball operations department from the coaching staff, Wojnarowski writes. With Van Gundy having previously held the head coach and president of basketball ops titles, those areas were intertwined during his tenure.
According to Wojnarowski, the Pistons will strongly consider hiring a “rising” executive for a GM-type role, with Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon considered a serious candidate for such a position. Per Woj, TNT analyst Brent Barry remains a frontrunner for a complementary job in Detroit’s front office. Both Wojnarowski and Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) also mention Tayshaun Prince as a strong candidate to join the Pistons’ management group.
The Pistons were also said to be impressed by Shane Battier after interviewing the Heat executive, though it’s not clear how he’d fit into the team’s front office picture.