Detroit Pistons hire ex-Raptors head coach Dwane Casey

Dwane Casey

Dwane Casey could have spent this next year on a beach, sipping miniature-umbrella-adorned cocktails with cucumber-covered eyes as he collected a $6.5 million paycheck from his former employer.

Casey posted a 320-238 (.573) overall record as Raptors coach.

Toronto reportedly has a shortlist of two candidates - 50-year-old Nick Nurse (who has been a Raptors assistant under Casey since the 2013-14 season) and top global head coach Ettore Messina, 58, who has been a San Antonio Spurs assistant under Gregg Popovich since 2014.

Casey was sacked by the Raptors after the playoffs, where Toronto was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Casey was named coach of the year by the National Basketball Coaches Association, an award voted on by NBA head coaches.

That's why when the Detroit Pistons showed interest in the 61-year-old Casey filling their coaching void left by the parting of Stan Van Gundy, he was intrigued.

Under Casey, the Raptors won four Atlantic Division titles and advanced to the playoffs in five consecutive seasons.

Van Gundy led the Pistons to a 39-43 record this season, missing the playoffs for a straight straight year.

The Pistons interviewed several candidates for the job, including MI basketball coach John Beilein, TNT's Kenny Smith and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka. They sank quickly into irrelevance after that. Then an ankle injury to point guard Reggie Jackson derailed the season, and not even the trade for Griffin in late January was enough to push the Pistons to the playoffs in their first season at downtown Detroit's new Little Caesars Arena.

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