The Pistons hired former Raptors coach Dwane Casey to the same position, agreeing to a five-year deal averaging $7M per season with the "opportunity for incentives," according to a source cited by Vince Ellis of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The deal is "similar" to the five-year, $35M deal the Pistons reached with Stan Van Gundy in '14. The Pistons are "turning to Casey to reverse the fortunes of a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game" since '08. Casey "will likely report" to Senior Adviser of Basketball Operations Ed Stefanski (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/12). In Michigan, Ansar Khan noted the Pistons "chose Casey" over Spurs assistant Ime Udoka. Casey is "not the perfect candidate," but he "brings the most experience, credibility and respect" (MLIVE.com, 6/11).
POSITIVE STEP FORWARD: In Detroit, John Niyo writes hiring Casey "really was the best possible outcome at this point." After "all that time spent looking aimless" since firing Van Gundy after the season, the team "still managed to lure the guy best prepared to give ownership what it desperately wants right now, which is a relevant winner" (DETROITNEWS.com, 6/12). ESPN's Mike Greenberg noted the Pistons have had "seven head coaches" since they last won a playoff series in '08. ESPN's Jalen Rose noted the five-year deal for Casey will create some "stability" for the organization. Rose: "Terrific hire, perfect timing, right person for the job. He's really familiar with the Eastern Conference" ("Get Up!," ESPN, 6/12). Also in Detroit, Rod Beard writes Casey’s five-year deal "shows a commitment to the current roster and the belief that the team can get back to the playoffs quickly." He is "regarded as a players' coach" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/12). The DETROIT NEWS' Bob Wojnowski writes it is a "fine hire," as Casey is "widely respected." But fans will "see if the Pistons are forward thinking, or grasping from the past." To turn the team around, it is "about more than just the coach." There is "still uncertainty in the organization, and it’s unclear who will assume which roles, from president to general manager" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/12). Detroit-based WXYT-FM's Mike Sullivan: "Casey is a good coach. No doubt. But it absolutely baffles me why the Pistons hired a coach before a GM." WXYZ-ABC's Ryan Field: "Some call it a safe choice. I call it the right one" (TWITTER.com, 6/11).
Toyota Park for the Revolution-Fire match on Saturday was "void of the usual chanting, singing and musical accompaniment that separates soccer from other live sporting events" due to the home team "revoking tickets" to the Sector Latino supporter group, according to Guillermo Rivera of THE ATHLETIC. Both Section 8 in the “Harlem end” of Toyota Park and section 101, the area occupied by Sector Latino at the opposite end of the field, "were mostly vacant." In a show of "solidarity and disagreement with the ban, most Section 8 Chicago members decided not to attend the match." The Fire maintain that Sector Latino has "exhibited a history of unacceptable conduct over the last 14 months and, as a result, the group received multiple warnings leading to expulsion." Following a fight in the parking lot between Sector Latino members and Dynamo supporters May 20, the Fire "issued written correspondence to the group stating that a 'final' warning was being implemented and any further conduct deemed to be contrary to the fan code of conduct would result in a revocation of their recognition as a supporters group." On June 2, the "same date that the 'final warning' letter was issued" to Sector Latino, the Fire hosted the Earthquakes. According to Walter Arredondo, a Sector Latino leader, someone ignited several smoke bombs "within the section." On June 7, the Fire "issued a letter to Sector Latino advising them that the smoke bomb incident violated the fan code of conduct and initial evidence linked the behavior to them" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/12).
ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported no other NBA team has "sold more than the 2,200 new full season-ticket packages the Bucks sold for next season." Bucks Senior VP/Ticket Sales & Service Jamie Morningstar said that total season tickets sold as of yesterday was 8,400, and that the team is on pace to "sell 10,000 season tickets for the first time in team history." As of Friday, the team had "sold out all 67 suites and lofts" in its new arena. Those contracts "range from three- to 12-year commitments and include every event in the venue" (ESPN.com, 6/11).
SILVER ANNIVERSARY: In Miami, Greg Cote wrote the Marlins "celebrate their 25th Anniversary Weekend following another offseason fire sale that has the club unsurprisingly in the midst of a start-over season wrought by lousy crowds and on pace to top 100 losses." It is a "reminder that what modest legacy this franchise does have must be grown." It is a reminder of CEO Derek Jeter's "obligation and responsibility." Marlins fans "are a hidden, dormant army waiting to be engaged" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/10).
CITY-WIDE PRIDE: PRO SOCCER USA's Jordan Culver noted Orlando City recently "announced the 'Pride in Our City' initiative to honor the victims" of the '16 Pulse nightclub shooting. The team will "donate a portion of sales from tickets and special merchandise to five local nonprofits." The "Pride in Our City" merchandise is "now available in The Den" -- the team's merchandise store -- and online. Orlando City will donate 25% of "sales from the merchandise to the five nonprofits." The NWSL Pride will "wear rainbow numbers on their jerseys for their June 16 match" against club Sky Blue (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 6/11).
MINOR REBRANDING: In Las Vegas, Betsy Helfand notes the Triple-A PCL Las Vegas 51s "first announced plans to rebrand for next season in April." The team's owners have "filed 20 different trademarks applications for what appears to be a potential new name for the club -- the Las Vegas Aviators." Team President & COO Don Logan said that this was done to "prevent cybersquatting and that Aviators remains in the mix, along with four or five other names." A spokesperson from the Howard Hughes Corp., which owns the team, "did not return a call for comment" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/12).