Reports indicate that the Pistons might be close to hiring their next head coach but those in charge of the process disagree on who that hire should be.
First, it should be noted that Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News is reporting that the team has concluded interviews for their head coaching vacancy. That would mean that anyone that is currently employed or in the playoffs would not be a finalist.
For instance, Larry Drew who seems to be on the outs in Atlanta but has another year on his deal, Lionel Hollins in Memphis whose deal is up after this season and Brian Shaw who is a lead assistant with the Pacers.
But the big news is that president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and Phil Jackson, who owner Tom Gores brought in as a special adviser for the coach search, disagree on who the next head coach should be.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Dumars prefers Nate McMillan and Maurice Cheeks, who have both been confirmed as having interviewed for the position. Jackson, meanwhile and unsurprisingly, wants the team to hire Brian Shaw, his longtime assistant in Los Angeles.
It is not one of the sexier jobs available, but many executives around the league are eager to see what happens with the Detroit Pistons' head-coaching vacancy. That's because the Pistons' hire will be a tell-tale sign of how much power truly remains in the hands of franchise icon, and current president of basketball operations, Joe Dumars.
Three weeks ago, the Pistons announced that owner Tom Gores had enlisted the help of Phil Jackson in Detroit's coaching search. While Jackson is not joining the Pistons' organization on a long-term basis, his involvement can't be viewed as anything but a slight of Dumars.
Some executives still insist that Dumars is running the Pistons' coaching search and that he would walk away before staying on as a president in name only. Others are taking a wait-and-see approach, and they view Detroit's upcoming hire as the best evidence.
First, it would be odd that a serious finalist for the job (Shaw) would be a person who hasn't even interviewed yet.
Second, there were persistent reports in the last coaching search that Dumars favored Mike Woodson and was eventually overruled by Gores, who instead favored Lawrence Frank.
Is the same process about to play itself out?
If so it would lay bare the fact that Dumars doesn't have much power in this new organizational structure and I don't see how he could continue in his position going forward. But just because Jackson would hypothetically get his man that doesn't mean that he would want to work Detroit long term.
If Dumars walks or is fired it would be difficult to get a GM and a team in place quickly enough to have things settled in time for draft evaluations and free agency. That is why it seems to hard to believe that Dumars would be fired and if he walked the team would be in an impossible bind.
Would he put on a brave face again and pretend like he was totally behind the Shaw hiring like he did with Frank? Would Gores actually let him pick his man this time? If it came down to the three of those coaches, I'm not sure who I would personally prefer. McMillian and Cheeks both have NBA resumes, yes, but the results are decidedly mediocre.
Shaw could just as easily be the next John Kuester as he is to be the next Tom Thibodeau.
H/T to mcflies who had this story first in a FanShot.