The Detroit Pistons’ head coaching search is suddenly shaping up to be one of the most interesting in the NBA. They’ve brought in former Raptors coach Dwane Casey for an interview, sure, but they’ve also sat down with TNT analyst Kenny Smith and Heat assistant Juwan Howard, neither of whom have any head coaching experience.
The latest name to pop up has plenty of head coaching experience, just none of it in the NBA. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Pistons brought in longtime University of Michigan coach John Beilein for their coaching vacancy.
The meeting was confirmed by Vincent Ellis of The Freep, and Brendan F. Quinn of The Athletic provided an interesting detail about those close to Beilein.
As Wojnarowski wrote, Beilein “long harbored intrigue with the NBA.” He also noted that Beilein has been pretty open that he’s in the midst of contract negotiations with Michigan, which raises a question about his interest in the job. Does Beilein actually want to make the jump to the NBA for the first time at age 65, or is this the tried-and-true college basketball method of interviewing elsewhere to gain leverage in contract negotiations?
Quinn noted that Beilein’s current financial situation could improve because of this, and also pointed out that the Wolverines really need to slide some money his way for his assistants, especially when compared to other elite programs in the Big Ten.
It would be an absolutely fascinating hire, as Beilein’s teams are known for playing slow, meticulous basketball, not the high-powered, pace-and-space style of ball that exists in the NBA today. Beilein has amassed a 724-418 record as a collegiate head coach, and has led the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament’s championship game twice, including this past season.