The Detroit Pistons’ offseason has been anything but boring so far.
They moved coach Dwane Casey to the front office and started their coaching search, they are prepping for having a top-5 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and are already being connected to some potential free agents.
All of this while embroiled in an ugly scandal that has not reflected well on the organization.
The Pistons have reportedly narrowed their coaching search to three candidates, though they may have to re-calibrate after another title-winning coach just came on the market.
One thing that all of the frontrunners have in common is that they have a personal connection to GM Troy Weaver, either through his time as an assistant coach at Syracuse or in the front office of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The NBA is largely based on relationships, so it’s not unusual for GMs to go after people they know, but this has been a trend that has not worked out so far for Troy Weaver.
Detroit Pistons: Is Troy Weaver leaning too heavily on personal relationships?
Troy Weaver hired then promoted Rob Murphy to assistant GM, a guy he has known going back to his days at Syracuse.
Weaver plucked Murphy out of the high-school coaching ranks and sang his praises as he was promoted to president of the Motor City Cruise and then to assistant GM. Murphy has since been fired for (alleged) egregious and disgusting workplace behavior, not a great look for Weaver, who was Murphy’s biggest supporter. Did his personal relationship make him miss some (alleged) red flags?
Murphy was hailed a local success story (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED), but that story has taken an ugly turn that has the Detroit Pistons in a lawsuit for sexual harassment and assault.
In a lesser failure, Weaver gave one of the Pistons’ two-way contracts to Buddy Boeheim, in what looked from the outside like a favor to Jim Boeheim, Buddy’s dad and a close personal friend of Troy Weaver. This was “rich dad gets his kid an internship at a top law firm” type of stuff and cost the Pistons a chance to develop talent in that spot in a season where they had a ton of injuries and were showcasing young players.
Now Kevin Ollie, who Weaver is tight with from his days in OKC, is reportedly the frontrunner for the coaching position even though he hasn’t even interviewed for one in half a decade and has no experience coaching in the NBA. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a great coach, as you never know until someone gets a chance, but if he is hired, and is doesn’t work out, fans are rightfully going to wonder if Weaver should have been looking outside of his friend group for a coach.
Every GM leans on personal information and relationships in decisions, but in Weaver’s case, it is a strategy that has not paid off so far.