I officially got off the “Lawrence Frank knows how to build a team” train earlier this season, when Andre Drummond was showing real promise but was being held back so Jason Maxiell could get more minutes. Despite what owner Tom Gores thought, this was not a playoff team, it was a team that needed to take its lumps and learn.
The Pistons are off the Lawrence Frank train as well, or maybe more accurately he was tossed from the Pistons’ train.
As had been expected after a 29-win season (and a 25-win before that), the Pistons fired Frank on Thursday, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
A meeting Thursday with Pistons owner Tom Gores finally confirmed Frank’s ouster, after Gores offered very tepid public support of his coach when speaking to local reporters earlier this week. Frank was believed to be largely Gores’ choice to replace John Kuester in the summer of 2011, although NBA coaching sources maintain that Pistons president Joe Dumars preferred current Knicks coach Mike Woodson for the job.
The Pistons will confirm this later in the day. Wherever Frank is next season he will still get the $3.7 million the Pistons owe him in salary.
Frank looked like a guy trying to assert some control and save face when he told Gores recently that the team needed to pick up the option year on his contract or not bring him back. Everyone knew this day was coming.
The question is what direction the Pistons go now. For a young team a young coach coming up — Brian Shaw out of Indiana, for example — would be a good fit. But we’ll see what direction an owner who expects to make the playoffs next season chooses to go.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.