Dwane Casey agrees deal with Pistons as new Coach

After more than a month of searching, the Pistons finally made the move that they hope will take them back to the playoffs — and maybe further than that.

Dwane Casey and Pistons owner Tom Gores agreed to a five-year contract, the team announced Monday. A source told The Detroit News that the deal is worth a little more than $7 million per season, with other potential bonuses.

Casey’s hiring fills one of the Pistons’ key vacancies, as they’ve been without a head coach since May 7, when they parted ways with Stan Van Gundy, who was also the team president. The Pistons next will look to hire a general manager but it’s unclear if they’ll finish that process before the NBA draft on June 21.

“Dwane is one of the most successful and highly respected coaches in our league,” Gores said in a team statement. “He’s a great communicator and a leader who will connect with our players and accelerate their growth. Having spent many hours with Dwane over the last few weeks, I’m confident he is the right person to get us to the next level.”

Casey, 61, was instrumental in turning around the Toronto Raptors, leading them to a franchise-record 59 wins and the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season. His bugaboo, though, was being swept out of the playoffs for the second straight year by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Casey’s five-year deal shows a commitment to the current roster and the belief that the team can get back to the playoffs quickly. He is regarded as a players’ coach and is noted for having good relationships with his players in his time with the Raptors.

“He will have to balance being a players’ coach and he has to have discipline and have expectations — and he’s smart enough to do that,” Kelser said.

Casey was selected by his peers as coach of the year and could also win the media vote, which will be announced on the NBA awards show on June 25.

Casey emerged from a candidate pool that included Michigan head coach John Beilein, San Antonio Spurs assistant Ime Udoka, Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard and Toronto Raptors assistant Nick Nurse, among others.

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