Top candidates emerge for Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations role

Four names have emerged as top candidates for the Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations position, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Trajan Langdon, Scott Perry, Dennis Lindsey and John Hammond have impressed in interviews and are front-runners to meet with Pistons owner Tom Gores, as the franchise hopes to fill the position before next month’s NBA Draft.

The Pistons are using a search firm for vetting candidates.

Langdon is currently the New Orleans Pelicans' general manager. Perry most recently held the general manager title for the New York Knicks and is currently an ESPN analyst. Lindsey is an adviser for the Dallas Mavericks, and Hammond is a senior adviser to Orlando Magic GM Jeff Weltman.

Detroit's president position has been vacant since Stan Van Gundy held the post from 2014-18.

The Pistons could also be waiting to gauge the interest of Timberwolves top executive Tim Connelly, who has built both the Timberwolves and the bulk of the current Nuggets roster. Those two teams will play in Game 7 of their conference semifinals series Sunday evening.

Connelly has an opt-out at the end of this season after signing a five-year, $40 million deal in 2022. With the Timberwolves' ownership situation in flux, as current owner Glen Taylor and prospective owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez are headed to league arbitration, he could look for both a raise and another team — but the Timberwolves are primed to be contenders for years to come with their core.

The Pistons are far away from that, having endured a franchise-record and league-tying 28-game losing streak and a league-worst 14-68 record. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and currently hold the fifth pick in next month’s draft. The cap space and Gores’ willingness to spend is an attractive element to this job.

Current general manager Troy Weaver is still in his role, as is head coach Monty Williams, who signed a record contract last summer to come to the franchise. It’s expected the incoming president will make decisions or at least strong recommendations on the futures of both.

Langdon has climbed the ranks, starting with San Antonio and Brooklyn before going to New Orleans in his current role. During Langdon's playing days, Arn Tellem was his agent — Tellem is now the Pistons’ vice-chairman, and the Pistons have picked up players represented by Tellem’s sons through the years.

Perry was instrumental in cleaning up the Knicks' books after arriving in 2017, and the franchise has a surplus of draft picks following years of being in the red. A Detroit native, he’s had two stints with the Pistons franchise, including as an executive when it won an NBA championship in 2004 and went to six straight conference finals during that time.

Hammond was also a chief lieutenant in Detroit during that time when the Pistons were last relevant, before moving on to Milwaukee and, now, Orlando. At 69 years old, Hammond and the Pistons could be on different timelines, though.

Lindsey was the general manager in Utah before an ownership change, with Ryan Smith moving in and later giving top duties to Justin Zanik, and Danny Ainge becoming CEO and alternate governor.

Lindsey was accused of a racist remark in a 2015 exit interview by former Jazz player Elijah Millsap in 2021. The league investigated Millsap’s claim that Lindsey told him, "If you say one more word, I’ll cut your Black a** and send you back to Louisiana,” but couldn’t corroborate it. Lindsey denied the statement was made and has spent this past season with the Mavericks, who are a game away from clinching a berth in the Western Conference finals.

The Pistons just settled a lawsuit involving former assistant general manager Rob Murphy and his former executive assistant, DeJanai Raska, a year after Raska accused Murphy of inappropriate sexual conduct. Murphy was placed on leave in October 2022.

The president of basketball operations role is an important hire for the franchise, with Cade Cunningham being extension-eligible this summer and the Pistons being in the doldrums for quite awhile.