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Dwane Casey’s new job might be the NBA’s toughest

We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter.

Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Three Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Pistons hired Dwane Casey as head coach on Monday, inking a five-year deal (no word if there’s a team option in there). That job security is important, but the expectations and reality of this team seem like a huge mismatch.

There’s also the small matter of the Pistons hiring a coach before a general manager. The last team that did this (at least in memory) was the Kings, who hired Michael Malone and then GM Pete D’Alessandro when Vivek Ranadive bought the team. Both the coach and the GM were gone within a few years.

Casey has Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson. That seems like a core that should be moldable into something like a playoff team in the East. But the team lacks shooting and, critically, their first-round pick and any sort of salary flexibility. (Maybe that’s why a GM isn’t critical.)

What Casey did over time with the Raptors was wildly impressive. He’s going to have to be even more amazing to get the Pistons where the Pistons’ ownership — namely Tom Gores — expects Detroit to be. There’s also the issue of the team’s new arena, which needs some juice in the form of a good team ASAP.

No pressure, though.


Here’s Seerat Sohi on the evolution of the unselfish star in the NBA, from those who make plays for teammates (like LeBron James) to those willing to share the spotlight for the greater good (like Stephen Curry). The psychology of NBA superstars is a fascinating topic.

There has to be a certain anti-selflessness to make it to the NBA. Note that I said “anti-selflessness” instead of “selfishness,” because the latter’s not quite right. That regard for the self has to be so strong to make it to the league and become a star there that it must be exceedingly difficult and take the right personality confluence for that regard for the self to then recede enough to be a good teammate, as Curry is by inviting Kevin Durant into his space to his own fame detriment.

It’s all pretty interesting, and would be more interesting if it didn’t all revolve around spicy takes and G.O.A.T. talk.

Links galore

The Warriors’ parade is on Tuesday. The NHL champ Washington Capitals will also have their parade on Tuesday. Can you imagine if NHL and NBA champs from the same city or region won titles around the same time and celebrated together?! Like, imagine if the Sharks were the NHL champs right now or the Wizahahahahahha never mind.

I wrote a mock draft completely in haiku for Xth straight year (I don’t dare count them up lest I come across a stanza where I call Anthony Bennett the next Josh Howard or Trey Burke a modern Isiah Thomas).

Nice piece from Dan Grunfeld on LeBron’s only underrated trait: his character.

Kawhi Leonard updates! He and Gregg Popovich will apparently meet soon, and there’s a rumor that Leonard is on board with signing a huge extension with the Spurs.

Four WNBA myths debunked.

It appears the Raptors coaching search has narrowed to two names: Ettore Messina and Nick Nurse.

LeBron produced a documentary for HBO about unpaid college athletes.

Michael Pina attempts to put Steph Curry is historical context.

How sports leagues like the NBA are going to try to get paid on legal betting.

Dwyane Wade, who acknowledges he has no inside info, believes LeBron will focus on lifestyle and family over maximum chance for winning in free agency.

Today in Dang, You’re Old: 24 current NBA players were born after the Michael Jordan Flu Game. Speaking of which, here’s Stu Scott’s highlight package from that game, 21 years ago.

Howard Beck talked to a bunch of retired stars about LeBron’s legacy and how much rings should matter. You’ll be shocked to learn that Kobe Bryant believes rings are just about the whole story.

Kevin Durant says he could see himself retiring at age 35. For the record, he is currently 29.

The twilight of Air Jordans.

Good championship cake.

WNBA Power Rankings! Are we worried about the Lynx yet?

Thaddeus Young seems like a candidate to opt in given a tight salary market — he has $13.7 million player option — but Woj reports he might become a free agent after all.

Kevin Pelton explains how LeBron could join the Rockets without stripping the team bare.

Martin Rickman on why LeBron staying in Cleveland makes more sense than you’d think.

The Bucks are selling lots of season tickets for their new arena. However, using “new season tickets sold” is a weird metric because the best-selling teams simply don’t have the turnover necessary to have many “new season tickets sold.” That said, Milwaukee is clearly ascendant in revenue factors and gate. Good!

In appreciation of Diana Taurasi’s collection of LeBron 15s.

Warriors fans are starting to wonder how far Golden State can go.

And finally: this SI cover pull from Sean Highkin is amazing.

Be excellent to each other.