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Dwane Casey out as Pistons coach, search starts for his replacement

Milwaukee Bucks v Detroit Pistons

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 27: Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons looks on against the Milwaukee Bucks at Little Caesars Arena on March 27, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

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Dwane Casey came to the Pistons in 2018 to lead a roster featuring Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, and they went to the playoffs that first year. That’s not the Pistons’ coaching job now.

“Things changed, health changed and we took it down to the studs,” Casey said via the Associated Press after Sunday’s game, a 103-81 loss to the Bulls that leaves the Pistons with the worst record in the NBA this season (17-65). While there is genuine optimism around this roster, this is a rebuilding job now and Casey is stepping away from the bench and into a front office role with the team, something he made official postgame.

“Hopefully my legacy will be will building the foundation with these young guys,” Casey said. “When you bring in a young team, this league is not very forgiving in terms of wins and losses. I knew that coming in.”

That foundation wasn’t helped this season when Detroit’s best player and shot creator, Cade Cunningham, went down with a knee injury. What remained was predominantly a young roster learning lessons the hard way.

Who could the Pistons bring in as the next coach? Ime Udoka’s name comes up in every coaching search, and the former Celtic coach will also be mentioned here.

Charles Lee is the first name mentioned by James L. Edwards III at The Athletic. He comes out of the Mike Budenholzer/Gregg Popovich tree — Lee is currently the lead assistant in Milwaukee — and he has been at the top of the “next guy to get a coaching job” list for a while.

Also mentioned are Jerry Stackhouse, the current Vanderbilt coach but who was with the Raptors before that and played in the league, as well as Sean Sweeney, who was on the bench in Dallas and has worked with some of the NBA’s best, such as Luka Dončić and Giannis Antetokounmpo.