Detroit Pistons Introduce John Kuester

Joe Dumars is safe from new management

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Now that the Pistons are safely in the hands of Mr. Tom Gores (pending NBA approval), the team can finally move forward. But what does that mean for the management and coaching? The Detroit Free Press reports that the architect of the 2004 championship team and the team that made about a billion Conference Finals in a row, as well as the man who spent the GNP of a large first-world country on Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, will return to the organization, now free to pursue a true rebuilding effort.

Joe Dumars isn’t going anywhere. It’s believed Gores has told him that he can remain president for as long as he desires. It’s difficult imagining Dumars walking away after getting an owner who is as committed as he is in restoring pride to an organization reduced to rubble under Davidson’s two years as keeper to Bill Davidson’s basketball legacy.

via Drew Sharp: Pistons can finally go back to work | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.

Dumars may very well have had a plan in place to remove the logjam at shooting guard created by Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon, but was undermined by the ownership situation. The behavior of the players this season, especially the veterans, created an untenable situation to be sure. But with an owner who wants to move forward, Dumars might be able to pursue an actual plan. Then again, even if Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince were moved, that wouldn’t excuse the money Dumars committed to Villanueva and Gordon. He overpaid for those players, there’s no way of getting around it. With Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, and Austin Daye a solid set of building blocks going forward, Dumars would do well to admit his mistake and try and move one or both of them. Once the CBA is figured out, teams would flip to have Gordon, and the Pistons could go on with a true rebuilding platform. Those decisions are the ones that will have the most impact on whether Dumars’ chance with new ownership works out.

As for coaching? Well…

John Kuester became an inexpensive alternative.

Players aren’t dumb. They saw an owner who wasn’t fully engaged and committed to doing whatever necessary to provide the best possible winning environment. They got a Blue Light Special who was in over his head as a coach. Kuester was doomed from the start in terms of winning his players’ respect

via Drew Sharp: Pistons can finally go back to work | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.

If Gores decides to keep Kuester, it will not be a good start to his ownership period. He should have just figured a buyout into his price for the team. Kuester deserves a second chance somewhere. Just not with Detroit. It’s a new day. It’s time for the Pistons to move forward.

 

 

Gregg Popovich pins Spurs’ effort problems on players: ‘I don’t remember playing tonight’ (video)

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gives instructions against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night – which begged the question:

Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:

Popovich:

I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.

Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.

But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.

His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility – and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.

Donatas Motiejunas signing four-year, $35 million contract with Rockets

DENVER, CO - MARCH 07:  Donatas Motiejunas #20 of the Houston Rockets is helped to his feet by teammates James Harden #13 and Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets at Pepsi Center on March 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.

So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return – a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 – which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.

The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.

Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.

After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).

But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?

Report: Rockets return Donatas Motiejunas to restricted free agency, working on new contract with him

Donatas Motiejunas, Kenneth Faried
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.

He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.

But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.

I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts – unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.

John Wall pushes down Jusuf Nurkic from behind in retaliation (video)

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John Wall didn’t like how Jusuf Nurkic bumped him, so Wall shoved the Nuggets center from behind and sent him to the floor.

An overreaction to the bump? Probably. Wall got hit with a technical foul.

But I’m mostly just impressed Wall was strong enough to push over Nurkic.