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AP source: Pistons hire Frank as new head coach
AUBURN HILLS, MICH. (AP) - The Detroit Pistons are giving Lawrence Frank another chance to lead an NBA team.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Friday that the Pistons have agreed to a three-year deal with Frank to be their new head coach. The agreement includes a team option for a fourth year, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't announced the move.
Frank, an assistant coach with Boston last season and a former head coach in New Jersey, will be Detroit's sixth coach in 11 seasons when the NBA lockout ends. The Pistons fired John Kuester in June after they missed the playoffs in both of his two seasons.
A deliberate coaching search, which also included Mike Woodson, Kelvin Sampson, Bill Laimbeer and Patrick Ewing, ended with the franchise choosing to give Frank another shot at a head coaching job. Frank was 225-241 as coach of the Nets, who advanced to the conference semifinals three times with him at the helm.
Frank replaced Byron Scott as New Jersey's coach in January 2004 and began his career with a 13-game winning streak. He ended his stint with the Nets with a losing streak that was even longer. He was fired in November 2009 after the team started that season 0-16.
The 40-year-old from Teaneck, N.J., spent four seasons as a student manager for Bob Knight at Indiana. He was an assistant at Marquette and Tennessee before becoming an NBA assistant in Vancouver and New Jersey.
Frank will have a lot of work to do in the Motor City under new Pistons owner Tom Gores. Detroit is coming off three straight losing seasons after advancing to six consecutive Eastern Conference finals and winning the 2004 NBA title.
Kuester was 57-107 over two seasons as coach. This past season was a dreary one, with the proud franchise making more news for internal squabbling than any on-court accomplishments.
Empty seats were common at home games as Detroit won just 30 games last season with a dysfunctional roster on the court and one that was problematic off it for Kuester. The embattled coach benched point guard Rodney Stuckey barely a week into last season and benched him again with just over a week to go when there was friction between the two.
Veteran Richard Hamilton also fell out of favor and was benched.
The low point was probably Feb. 25 in Philadelphia. Seven players missed at least part of a team shootaround, and Kuester played only the remaining six that night in a blowout loss to the 76ers.
For much of the season, the team seemed in limbo because of a drawn-out sale by owner Karen Davidson. The Pistons finally announced in April that Gores was going to take over, and the deal became final after the season.
When the league resumes play, free agent Tayshaun Prince may part ways with the only NBA team he's played for, and Ben Wallace might not be back.
Detroit drafted Kentucky guard Brandon Knight at No. 8 overall, adding to its perimeter logjam with Stuckey, Hamilton and Ben Gordon. Center Greg Monroe showed promising signs last season as a rookie and power forward Jonas Jerebko, who didn't play last season after tearing his right Achilles' tendon, will get an opportunity to bolster a thin frontcourt.
In addition to Knight, the Pistons also drafted Duke forward Kyle Singler and Florida's Vernon Macklin, after the front office made it clear it wanted to change the culture of the team.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
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