Blake Griffin

Troy Weaver Pistons
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Troy Weaver takes over as GM, looking to ‘restore’ Pistons

Leave a comment

DETROIT — The timing eventually worked out for Troy Weaver and the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons introduced Weaver as their new general manager on a video conference Monday. The former Oklahoma City Thunder executive joins a Detroit team that was interested in him previously – and he takes over a GM spot that was vacant for a couple years.

“We had actually tried to talk to Troy a couple years ago. OKC wasn’t quite ready to let him go,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said. “So he’s been on our radar for a while.”

The Pistons shook up their front office two years ago. Stan Van Gundy had been the coach and team president, and after Detroit moved on from him, there was no official GM. Ed Stefanski took over the front office, and Dwane Casey was hired as coach.

Now Weaver will fill the GM role, with Stefanski remaining as a senior advisor to Gores.

“Troy, Ed and Dwane will work on a day-to-day basis with each other,” Gores said. “Troy will have normal, and even higher than normal, GM responsibilities.”

Weaver said he felt loyal to the Thunder and wanted to help bring a championship to Oklahoma City – but he thought now the fit was right with the Pistons.

The Pistons haven’t won a playoff game since 2008, although Weaver described the situation as a “restoring” and not a rebuild. The Pistons went 20-46 this season and traded Andre Drummond in February. They hope to have more flexibility going forward.

“We didn’t have a lot of cap room at the time when Ed came on, so we felt like we really needed to clean things up,” Gores said. “I think he did a great job. … The reason Ed did not come on as GM, we had decided that Ed was going to be one level kind of above that, and that we needed to leave that spot open for our next 10, 15 years, for somebody like Troy.”

Although the Pistons dealt Drummond and bought out point guard Reggie Jackson, they still have an expensive star on the roster in Blake Griffin. Weaver mentioned Griffin and guard Derrick Rose immediately when asked about Detroit’s roster.

“Those guys have had some injury history, and they’re looking forward to building their careers back, so that stood out. Excited to get them healthy and help us move forward,” Weaver said. “Then the second piece of it is the young players on the roster – Sekou (Doumbouya), (Luke) Kennard, Bruce Brown, Svi (Mykhailiuk).”

Weaver did not want to discuss forward Christian Wood because of his free agency.

The Pistons announced the hiring of the 52-year-old Weaver last week. He spent the past 12 seasons with the Thunder, including three-plus years as vice president of basketball operations. He served eight seasons as vice president/assistant general manager.

Weaver, Gores, Casey, Stefanski and Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem were all on the video conference Monday.

“I always recognized Troy as one of the top talent evaluators – you just look at the finished products in OKC, he had a big part of doing that. Not only that, he’s a man of his word,” Casey said. “He’s genuine, he’s real, and I will say this, and in today’s time, with all the unrest, here’s an opportunity for an African American man to be named to this position, and I’m going to credit Tom and Arn and Ed for opening up the door for the opportunity for him to step in.”

Gores was asked about the importance of diversifying the front office with this hire.

“Did we put an emphasis, and make it a priority? Yes,” Gores said. “But at the same time, can’t take an ounce away from Troy. He was the best person in the world for this job.”

Pistons hire Thunder’s Troy Weaver as general manager

Thunder executive Troy Weaver
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Leave a comment

Pistons target Troy Weaver?

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that Troy Weaver has been named General Manager.

“Troy is an outstanding executive with an exceptional track record for identifying and developing talent,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “In talking with Troy, he’s got both the skill and temperament to lead, and the confidence and creativity to work collaboratively with others. We’re excited for him to take the reins as General Manager of the Pistons at this important moment. Ed and the team have done excellent work creating flexibility with our roster and establishing a clear direction. Troy comes aboard to help take us to the next level.”

Weaver, 52, joins the Pistons after spending the past 12 seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC), including the last three-plus years as the club’s Vice President of Basketball Operations.  Previously, he served eight seasons as Vice President/Assistant General Manager with responsibilities that included coordinating player-personnel matters, NBA Draft preparation, free agency planning and summer league roster construction.  Weaver has been a critical part of the Thunder’s success

“It’s an honor for me to join a franchise with the history and tradition of the Detroit Pistons,” said Weaver.  “I’m excited for the challenge of building this team into a consistent winner and assembling the pieces to compete at a very high level.  We’ll get to work right away, evaluating opportunities and installing systems that will make us all successful.”

Earlier reporting suggested Ed Stefanski will continue to lead Detroit’s basketball operations. In some front offices, the general manager is No. 2. But even if working under Stefanski, Weaver will likely hold more clout than he did under Thunder general manager Sam Presti.

In Oklahoma City, Presti and Weaver built some awesome teams. Weaver impressed with his ability to assess players – incredibly important in a talent-driven league. His responsibilities will likely expand with the Pistons, and he appears ready.

Really, Weaver has appeared ready for a while. His career arc has looked to fit the NBA’s issues with black executives. Weaver might not be joining the short list of black front-office heads (Raptors’ Masai Ujiri, 76ers’ Elton Brand, Cavaliers’ Koby Altman, Suns’ James Jones). But it is a step.

Next steps for the Pistons: Hiring an assistant general manager and determining whether they’re still building around Blake Griffin, a decision that will significantly inform their course.

Thunder’s Troy Weaver is reportedly favored to become Pistons GM

Pistons
Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

His name has been at or near the top of the “next guy in line to be a GM somewhere” list for a long time, and he’s interviewed/been considered for multiple jobs. It looks like Tory Weaver finally will get his chance in Detroit.

Weaver, who had been mentioned as a candidate before, is the frontrunner to become the Pistons’ GM, something first reported by Marc Stein of the New York Times and confirmed by others.

Weaver is currently the vice president of basketball operations and the No. 2 guy with the Thunder, behind Sam Presti. Weaver has been there a decade and would only leave for a job that’s a promotion in title and power.

Ed Stefanski is in charge of basketball operations in Detroit, he is the man hired to rebuild the Pistons. He has the ultimate hammer, but was hired as a consultant to the owner and may want to return to more of that role. The Pistons have been looking for an experienced person to step into the general manager role, and Weaver fits the bill.

Presti’s Thunder front office has produced a number of people poached by other organizations. Most recently, the Knicks pulled Frank Zanin out of Oklahoma City to be part of Leon Rose‘s staff.

Once hired, Weaver and the Thunder front office would have big decisions to make. Stefanski traded Andre Drummond during the season, whether Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose should follow Drummond out the door to jump start the rebuild becomes the big question.

Pistons reportedly interested in Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups as assistant GM

Chauncey Billups
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
Leave a comment

Ed Stefanski has the hammer in Detroit. First hired as a senior adviser to owner Tom Gores, he quickly became the head of basketball operations and is now the man in charge trying to rebuild the Pistons.

Detroit has not hired a general manager to work with Stefanski, but it has some serious ideas who should be an assistant GM serving under whomever they hire, reports Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

Former Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, who is currently the vice president of basketball affairs for the Memphis Grizzlies, is a candidate for the assistant GM job.

The organization would also welcome a reunion with Chauncey Billups, who has maintained that he is interested in being hired only as general manager, according to a source. The Pistons would prefer to hire Billups, who has no NBA executive experience, as an assistant, where he could learn the ins and outs of working in a front office.

Both Prince and Billups would be good hires (although it doesn’t sound like Billups would take that job).

However, first the Pistons need to hire a GM. Then said GM should have a significant say in who his top assistant will be. The Pistons are reportedly looking for someone with experience as the GM and some of the names in the rumor mill are former Suns GM Ryan McDonough, the Thunder’s Troy Weaver, the Nets’ Jeff Peterson, the Clippers’ Mark Hughes, and there are others.

Once the Pistons get their front office in place, they have some big decisions to make. Stefanski traded Andre Drummond, whether Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose will follow Drummond out the door are the next big questions.

Revisiting the Knicks’ 2009 draft: Was there a backup plan to land Stephen Curry?

David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Stephen Curry wanted to be drafted by the Knicks, to play in Mike D’Antoni’s system in the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. Curry’s father, Dell, and agent Jeff Austin both wanted Stephen in New York and called up Larry Riley, then the Warriors GM, trying to pressure him not to draft the young Curry.

It didn’t work. The fact Knicks president Donnie Walsh wanted Curry so badly just confirmed to the Warriors they were doing the right thing, Riley told Marc Berman of the New York Post this week.

“The truth is I respected Donnie Walsh a great deal,” Riley said. “Their interest in Steph reaffirmed what we already believed.”

Looking back at that draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves (and GM David Kahn) had the No. 5 and 6 picks in the 2009 NBA Draft and used them both on point guards — Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio and fast-rising Jonny Flynn. The Warriors were poised to take Curry at No. 7.

Did the Knicks’ Walsh do enough to try and trade up to get Curry, to leapfrog the Warriors and get one of those Timberwolves picks? It depends upon who you ask, and the Post’s Berman talked to a lot of people.

“I really wanted Stephen in that draft, and when I realized that Golden State was going to take him, I tried to trade up to take him,” Walsh said. “But I could not get the pick I needed so I looked elsewhere and tried to fill a need. Stephen was the guy and he obviously would have made a huge difference.”

However, one source familiar with the situation said Walsh never contacted Minnesota, which held picks No. 5 and 6. Another league source says when Golden State selected Curry, a “huge collective groan” emerged from the Knicks’ war room, which indicated the Knicks were calling Golden State’s bluff.

“It didn’t seem Donnie was prepared for any other scenario,” a former Knicks scout said. “We all love Donnie, but he didn’t seem to have a backup plan and it was a mad scramble to finalize [No. 8 pick Jordan] Hill.”

Jordan Hill played 24 games for the Knicks before he was traded in a salary dump.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and it’s easy to look back and say Walsh should have done anything to get the future two-time NBA MVP and three-time champion who set the culture for the Warriors. At the time of the 2009 NBA Draft, there were questions about Curry’s ability to play the point at the NBA level (he had only done it for one season at Davidson), and he was seen more as a shooter, certainly not a franchise savior. He was behind guys like Blake Griffin and James Harden in that draft for a reason.

But did Walsh do enough to move up? Would Curry have developed into the player we know in New York, where likely his coach and the front office above him would have changed several times?

It’s all a what if, just a painful one for Knicks fans.