Sunday, May 29, 2011
Sources: Pistons, John Kuester to split
By Ric Bucher
ESPN The Magazine
Detroit Pistons head coach John Kuester will not be returning for the 2011-12 season, according to sources. Although there has been no official word from the Pistons,
sources say it is expected that president Joe Dumars and his staff will be returning.
Hired in 2009 to be the franchise's 27th head coach, Kuester has posted a 57-107 mark in his two years in Detroit.
Kuester's time with the Pistons has been marked by several personality clashes, most notably with Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince and Tracy McGrady.
There were also reports of a player-led protest of Kuester this past season as several of the team's veterans failed to show up for a team practice.
Detroit has missed out on the playoffs in each of Kuester's two seasons. The postseason drought is the longest for the franchise since missing out three straight times from 1993 to 1995.
Kuester served two years as an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers before taking charge in Detroit. Kuester had previously been on the Pistons' sideline as an assistant under Larry Brown, a stint that included the team's 2004 NBA championship run.
NBA coaching sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that one candidate certain to be interviewed and considered as a replacement for Kuester -- should he be done in Detroit -- is former Pistons assistant coach Mike Woodson.
After serving as the top aide to Brown in Detroit's championship season, Woodson was hired to coach the Atlanta Hawks in the summer of 2004 and held the job for six seasons until his dismissal following the 2009-10 season.
Woodson elected to take Atlanta's offer instead of waiting for the opportunity to potentially succeed Brown in Detroit, not knowing that Brown would last only one more season on the Pistons' bench. Woodson posted a record of 206-286 in Atlanta, including two trips to the second round of the playoffs.
Now seemingly removed from those glory days, the Pistons are set to start a new era with a new owner with the team nearing completion of a sale to new owner Tom Gores.
The approval vote by the Board of Governors on the team's sale will be Wednesday, sources said. The vote was originally supposed to take place in the middle of June but apparently has been moved up, in part, to give Gores more time to make moves and decisions before the anticipated lockout begins July 1st.
Senior writer Ric Bucher covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine. ESPN.com NBA writer Marc Stein and The Associated Press contrbiuted to this report.