No real shock with the names, but it sounds like the Detroit Pistons are getting closer to making a decision on a new head coach.
Marc Stein has the report over at ESPN.
Of the five known candidates for job, sources say that former Pistons assistant Mike Woodson is still the closest thing to a favorite, thanks largely to Woodson’s good working relationship with Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and the fact that Detroit would know exactly what it’s getting after Woodson’s work under Larry Brown during the Pistons’ 2004 title run.
Yet sources say that one reason Detroit’s search has dragged out so long is the strong impression that Lawrence Frank made on new Pistons owner Tom Gores and his advisers, among them former New York Knicks executive Dave Checketts.
Whoever wins will replace John Kuester, who has since been hired by his old boss Mike Brown to be an assistant with the Lakers.
Woodson also comes with a track record of rebuilding — he was the coach in Atlanta, taking over when the team was terrible and it won more games every year under him (up to 53 the last year). He got them to the second round of the playoffs. Frank was the former headman in New Jersey as well as being on the Celtics staff currently.
We’ll see where this ends up, but it’s not uncommon for new owners to do something to put their stamp on a franchise.
When free agency opens up — eventually — Tayshaun Prince is going to have options.
He will turn 31 next season and while he can bring you some solid offense (14.1 points per game on 47 percent shooting last season and he can hit the three) what really makes him valuable is his wing defense. A lot of teams could use a guy like that, a guy with championship pedigree.
Including the Pistons, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Bill Duffy, the agent for Pistons free-agent forward Tayshaun Prince, said he was contacted by Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars before the July 1 lockout to say he was interested in re-signing the veteran….
“Once the new structure is set in place, are the teams that are interested in him now still going to be interested? Yes,” Duffy said. “Will Detroit probably want to re-sign him? Yes. One thing that the league is proposing is some type of phase-in. You won’t see the immediate impact where it would be rigid. If the league were victorious, which we’re obviously against, I think it will be a condensed free-agent period and guys like Tayshaun will still be high on people’s list.”
It was a little surprising the Pistons didn’t pull the trigger and trade Prince at the deadline last season, starting their rebuilding process and getting something back for a player who may leave anyway. But the in-flux (at the time) ownership situation left Dumars’ hands tied. The Piston will talk to Duffy and talk numbers for Prince, but the fact remains that team needs to rebuild, has young wings Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko, and while Prince is part of a glorious past he is not the long-term future for the team.
Detroit fans want Bill Laimbeer, and other names have been mentioned, but former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson has always been the frontrunner to be the next coach of the Detroit Pistons.
Thursday Woodson will be brought in for a second interview with Pistons management, the first guy to get one, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Woodson was a Larry Brown assistant coach in 2004 when the Pistons won the title. He also shepherded the Atlanta Hawks through a rebuilding process not unlike the one the Pistons are about to undertake. The Hawks improved every year he was with the team but never went farther than the second round of the playoffs. While Laimbeer might well make a good coach, Joe Dumars has a track record that shows Woodson can help rebuild a team.
The other candidates are Laimbeer, former Nets head man (and Celtics assistant) Lawrence Frank, Kelvin Sampson and Patrick Ewing.
The upcoming lockout would not impact the Pistons ability to hire a new coach. But, once hired, this coach will not be able to communicate with his players until the lockout ends.
It became clear within the last year (maybe before that really, but let’s not go there now) that it was time to break up the Detroit Pistons and start to rebuild. The roster that at one point was an Eastern Conference Finals fixture had been caught by father time.
But general manager Joe Dumars’ hands were tied. The team had been on the market since 2009 and there was little he could do because of it.
Now he loves his job again thanks to new owner Tom Gores, and you can expect to see a more active Pistons team, Dumars told the Detroit News.
“Sense of freedom — that’s a good term,” he said. “Listen, you do these jobs and you have to throw yourself into them completely 100 percent. You can’t do these jobs with any level of success if you’re 50 percent, 60 percent of what you can and can’t do.”
Dumars hasn’t made a trade since July 2009, the longest stretch in the league — and his longest since he was named Pistons president in 2000…. The Pistons had significant conversations at the trade deadline, most involving longtime Pistons Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. But the kind of deals they could explore was limited, due to the pending sale.
Gores was in the Pistons war room during the draft and was supportive of Dumars, who shifted gears when Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight fell down the board to them at No. 8. The plan had been to go with a big, but a number of teams had Knight rated in the top four in this draft and the Pistons could not pass him up.
Once the lockout ends, look for Dumars to be active in reshaping the Pistons roster. A process that should have started a while back, but now Dumars can finally get to work on it.
ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher reports that Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester will not return as head coach next season:
Detroit head coach John Kuester will not be returning to the Pistons, according to sources. It is presumed that president Joe Dumars and his staff will be returning, but there has been no definitive indication of that yet, sources said.
via Sources: John Kuester will not be back as Detroit Pistons coach – ESPN.
Interesting note, here, the report does not indicate that Kuester has been fired, just that he won’t return. Tom Gores is set to take ownership of the team on Wednesday, pending a vote by the Board of Governors that will of course pass. Meanwhile, MLive.com reports that no decision has been made regarding Kuester.
With Mike Brown headed to Los Angeles, Kuester would be able to take less to get out of a toxic situation in Detroit that saw his players literally revolt against him, and not the young guys, the veterans. The Pistons were bad, but have good young talent, a value draft pick and a lot of potential. Kuester’s coaching, beyond just ego management, has been poor, as rotations and play sets seemed to defy… what’s the word? Ah, logic.
Kuester may not be out yet, but the storm clouds are definitely gathering. Hope he’s got an umbrella. And that he didn’t bench it unnecessarily.
Update: Throw the Detroit News on the list of folks saying this hasn’t gone down yet.