The Detroit Pistons are in advanced negotiations to hire former Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith to coach their NBA D-League franchise, according to NBA coaching sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy has targeted Smith -- his former boss and close associate in Orlando -- to move to the coaching side of the business by taking charge of Detroit’s new D-League expansion team, which will begin play this season in nearby Grand Rapids, Mich.
One source said Friday that a deal is not done but that the sides are closing in on an agreement.
Smith stepped down as GM of the Magic in May 2012 on the same day that Van Gundy was ousted as Orlando’s coach.
Star center Dwight Howard left the Magic three months later in a four-team blockbuster sign-and-trade deal that landed Howard with the Los Angeles Lakers for one ill-fated season before Howard’s free-agent defection to the Houston Rockets.
Smith was named GM in Orlando in May 2006 and was ultimately promoted to president of basketball operations before leaving the franchise, with the Magic posting a 299-177 (.628) record during his tenure and advancing to the NBA Finals in 2009. As a player, Smith was part of the first-ever Magic squad in 1989-90.
Earlier this week, Van Gundy announced a flurry of additions to his coaching and front-office staffs in Detroit, including the hiring of former Miami Heat star Tim Hardaway as an assistant coach and another one of his former players, Quentin Richardson, as Pistons director of player development.