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Pistons hire Casey as coach

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DETROIT—Dwane Casey lost his job in Toronto because the Raptors wanted to advance further in the playoffs.

In Detroit, it would be an accomplishment if Casey simply can get the Pistons into the playoffs.

The Pistons hired the NBA coach-of-the-year finalist yesterday, hoping he can help the three-time NBA championship franchise regularly reach the post-season and eventually compete again for titles.

“Dwane is one of the most successful and highly-respected coaches in our league,” Pistons' owner Tom Gores said.

"He's a great communicator and a leader who will connect with our players and accelerate their growth.

“Having spent many hours with Dwane over the last few weeks, I'm confident he is the right person to get us to the next level,” he added.

A month after being fired by the Raptors, Casey agreed to a five-year deal to become head coach of the Pistons, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press yesterday.

They people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the move, which first was reported by ESPN.

Casey led Toronto to a team-record 59 wins this season and helped the franchise earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time—a performance that won him coach-of-the-year honours from his peers at the National Basketball Coaches Association.

He had one year remaining on a three-year, $18-million extension when he was fired shortly after Toronto was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He was 320-238 in seven seasons and is Toronto's winningest coach.

The Pistons said Casey already has started work, including meetings with players, and will be introduced at a news conference next week.

“I'm confident that this team has the pieces in place to compete at a very high level,” Casey said.

“There is a lot of talent, a solid core, and some exciting young players eager to get better,” he noted.

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