Detroit Pistons Head Coach Candidates: Odds For Monty Williams’ Replacement

Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Key Takeaways:

  • 🏀 The Detroit Pistons fired coach Monty Williams on June 19.
  • 💵 Williams will collect the $65 million that remained on the six-year, $78 million contract he signed when he was hired in June 2023.
  • 🏀 The Pistons hired Trajan Langdon as the president of basketball operations after a 14-68 season in 2023-24, the NBA's worst record.

Monty Williams got the ax from the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, more than two months after the coach finished his first season with the NBA club.

So, who will the Pistons bring on as the next coach? BetMichigan, your source for Michigan sports betting news, released our next Pistons coach odds. This list is for infotainment purposes only. You will not find them in any licensed Michigan sportsbook, such as DraftKings or BetMGM.

Next Detroit Pistons Head Coach Odds

Coach

Position

Odds

Percent Chance

James Borrego

New Orleans Pelicans Assistant Coach

+200

33.3%

Sam Cassell

Boston Celtics Assistant Coach

+500

16.7%

Kenny Atkinson

Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach

+1250

7.4%

Micah Nori

Minnesota T'Wolves Assistant Coach

+1250

7.4%

Johnnie Bryant

New York Knicks Assistant Coach

+1750

5.4%

Frank Vogel 

Former Suns Coach

+1750

5.4%

Sean Sweeney

Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach

+2000

4.8%

Chris Quinn

Miami Heat Assistant Coach

+2000

4.8%

The Field

-

+600

14.3%

It’s not all that surprising that the Pistons made this move. The team had the league’s worst record in the 2023-24 season, 14-68. They also set a record for the longest single-season losing streak at 28, which put the Pistons at 2-29 just before New Year’s Day. Pistons owner Tom Gores brought in Trajan Langdon as the team’s president of basketball operations less than a month ago, with the former New Orleans Pelicans general manager now in charge of personnel decisions. See our Detroit Pistons draft picks 2024 guide for players that Detroit might draft No. 5 overall.

“Decisions like these are difficult to make, and I want to thank Monty for his hard work and dedication,” Gores said in a statement Wednesday. “Coaching has many dynamic challenges that emerge during a season and Monty always handled those with grace. However, after reviewing our performance carefully and assessing our current position as an organization, we will chart a new course moving forward.”

Still, Williams, who has developed a reputation as one of the league’s top coaches after guiding the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in 2020-21, came in to help with the rebuilding process. It might seem unfair that Detroit let him go after just one season – and after several other NBA coaching jobs were filled – but Williams will still receive the remaining $65 million on his contract.

Michigan sportsbook apps already have odds for the 2024-25 NBA campaign.

Why James Borrego Is Favored in Our Next Pistons Coach Odds

If Langdon wants to hire someone he knows, James Borrego would be a likely choice. After serving four years as the head coach with the Charlotte Hornets, the 46-year-old returned to the Big Easy last season as the associate head coach. He got his first NBA assistant’s gig in New Orleans back in 2010. 

The Hornets did not make the playoffs in any of Borrego’s four seasons in Charlotte. However, the club went 43-39 in 2021-22, his final year. That campaign ended with a loss to Atlanta in the play-in round. He also helped transform an offense that was the NBA’s worst in 2019-20 (102.9 points per game) to the league’s fourth-best two years later (115.4 ppg).

In recent weeks, Borrego has been linked to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers coaching positions.

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Will Detroit Give A First-Time Head Coach A Shot?

Sam Cassell does not have experience as a head coach, but that’s the only thing missing from his otherwise impressive resume. He was a key contributor to three NBA championship squads during a 16-year career as a point guard. Since 2009, he has worked as an assistant for the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. This past season was his first in Boston, which ended with the Celts’ 18th NBA championship.

By the way, the Celtics are in good shape to get their 19th title next season. Oddsmakers at Caesars Michigan Sportsbook give Boston +290 odds to repeat in 2024-25. The next lowest odds belong to the Denver Nuggets at +700.

Detroit would not be an easy gig for most first-time head coaches, but given his background, Cassell would likely be the exception. In October, when the NBA released the findings of its annual general manager survey, Cassell finished in the top five for best assistant coach in the league. After 15 years as an assistant, it might be time for Cassell to get a promotion.

Who Else Will the Detroit Pistons Consider for Head Coach?

Heading into next season, check out our guide to Detroit Pistons betting sites for insight.

If you’re looking for a candidate not on the list above, then you may want to consider J.B. Bickerstaff, who was recently let go by the Cavs after four-plus seasons. Bickerstaff guided Cleveland to winning records in each of the past three seasons and to the playoffs in the past two. Those happened to be the first two postseason appearances for the franchise in the post-LeBron 2.0 era. That would indicate he has been involved in leading a turnaround.

Regardless of who gets the gig in Detroit, it will not be a quick turnaround. Despite owning the worst record in the league, they missed out on a top pick in next week’s NBA Draft. Instead, the Pistons will pick fifth.

In fact, Detroit will likely again be one of the worst teams in pro hoops. Oddsmakers at BetMGM Michigan Sportsbook give the Pistons odds of +100000 to win the championship in 2025. That’s the longest odds on the board, tied with the Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers.

USA Today photo by Chris Jones

Author

Steve Bittenbender

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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