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John Kuester fired as coach of the Detroit Pistons

The news broke a little earlier today, but here’s the team release:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that John Kuester will not return next season as the team’s head coach. The decision was made following a meeting between ownership and the head coach.

“Decisions like this are difficult to make,” said Dumars. “I want to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last two years, however, at this time we have decided to make a change.”

Kuester, who was named head coach on July 9, 2009, tallied a regular-season record of 57-107 in two season’s with the Pistons. He served one season in Detroit as an assistant coach under Larry Brown in 2003-04, helping the Pistons win the NBA Championship that year.

And Joe Dumars’ statement:

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The following statement was released this afternoon by President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars.

“As our organization moves forward and prepares for the future, the search for our club’s new head coach is a priority and will begin immediately. However, at this time, we do not have a timetable for hiring a successor. We’ll conduct our due diligence privately and announce a decision when we’ve identified that individual.”

This was about the worst kept secret in the league, so there’s really not much left to analyze at this point. Kuester was a bad head coach in Detroit. He didn’t communicate well, and that was a major problem not just for the obvious reason that communication is vital in any industry. Kuester was hired specifically because, the organization hoped, his ties to the Larry Brown staff in Detroit would help him win the locker room over. When that didn’t happen, it was hard to imagine Kuester staying on the job long.

And as for communication? Kuester is now the third coach in a row who the Pistons have let go among not-so-subtle whispers from veteran players about a “lack of communication.” Flip Saunders had his defensive schemes openly questioned and watched as the team quit running his offense for three straight years in the playoffs. Michael Curry, brought in because his recent playing experience would make him better equipped to communicate with the players, was fired after one season for many reasons, but chief among them, he couldn’t mend fences with Rip Hamilton. Kuester was a third try at finding a communicator. At some point, if it hasn’t been already, I would hope the front office at least considers whether those communication problems have been totally the fault of three very different coaches and makes some efforts to create a better locker room culture for whoever Kuester’s successor is.

And, of course, a good share of this blame rests at the top. Joe Dumars has now fired George Irvine, Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Saunders, Curry and Kuester in just over a decade. It’s not that I’m making the case that some of those firings weren’t justifiable. Hell, the biggest gamble in there — replacing Carlisle with Brown — worked out as well as it possibly could, even if Brown only hung around two years. Kuester in many ways was a caretaker coach. The players were familiar with him, Kuester was inexpensive at a time when the budget was clearly the key consideration in every decision the team was making (or not making), so to see him lose his job after two years is not entirely surprising. But Dumars’ next hire is of vital importance. Much like when he fired the successful Carlisle to the shock of many, he needs his next coach to be one with some staying power. The Pistons, and Dumars in particular, can’t afford another coaching hire who loses the locker room early in his tenure and whose schemes are not strong enough to take advantage of the few assets the Pistons do have on the court right now. With the lockout looming and no one with any kind of clear picture how that will impact the offseason transactions, hiring the right coach is clearly the most important thing on Dumars’ agenda.


  • Jun 5, 20117:45 pm
    by detroitpcb


    On point. Joe needs to make the right hire this time and i would think it has to be someone with experience.

    I would get Adelman if i could.

    • Jun 5, 20119:04 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      He’s my top choice as well.

      • Jun 5, 20119:27 pm
        by acr


        Patrick, Adelman is 65 years old and was just fired by Houston.  I’m not convinced that he would be the best choice for the young guys we have on the team as we move forward.  Why do you think that he would be a better coach than say Woodson?

        • Jun 5, 20119:36 pm
          by brgulker


          He has a track record of winning, and his system would be incredible for Monroe.

        • Jun 5, 201110:11 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Ben basically took the words out of my mouth. And I’d even build on that and include Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey as potential beneficiaries of Adelman’s offense as well. Adelman succeeded in Sacramento b/c of fantastic high post passing bigs in Webber and Divac. He had a 6-11 shooting guard/SF in Stojakovic who had a beautiful shot but could do little else really well, similar to Daye’s skillset. And he won with Bibby, a non-traditional point guard. I think he’d be a really good fit for the personnel. I don’t think he’d turn the PIstons into an immediate contender or anything, but with an addition or two, Adelman could get the Pistons into the playoffs relatively quickly.

          • Jun 5, 201111:07 pm
            by Quick Darshan

            I think Gordon and Villanueva would benefit from Adelman as well.  Beside Jerry Sloan who is probably done.  Adelman is the best choice.

        • Jun 5, 201110:14 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          And to add onto that, I don’t think Adelman’s age is a huge factor. He still seems to relate well to the modern NBA players. He was well-liked in Houston. He’s not Larry Brown, stuck in 1973.

  • Jun 5, 20118:07 pm
    by Eric


    My first choice is Larry Brown, the smartest coach available, he enjoyed being in Detroit, as long as him and Joe D can mend fences, he would be my choice.

    Second choice is Bill Laimbeer

    • Jun 5, 20119:06 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I think we can assume that Prince and Hamilton are not going to be back. Ben Wallace, if he comes back, would be the team’s only tie to 2004. The rest of the personnel are completely ill-equipped to succeed in a Larry Brown situation. He’d demand that all of them be traded by midseason. Then, he’d demand that all of their replacements be traded.

      • Jun 5, 20119:14 pm
        by BIG MARV


        Lmao that is so true he would trade his son if he played on the team. But I think my pick I think its a obvious one will be Mike Woodson

        • Jun 5, 20119:23 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Yeah, Woodson makes the most sense. He’s experienced, familiar with Dumars and he was part of a team in ATL that was really bad when he started and became a playoff team. I certainly think others (like Dwayne Casey, for example) could out-interview him or the local support for Laimbeer could be too much to ignore since Laimbeer would sell some tickets, but I’d say it’s probably Woodson’s to lose at this point.

  • Jun 5, 20118:25 pm
    by Larry


    Of course I agree, about Dumars next hire, though I believe that the next one will indeed be a caretaker coach because I think he will be replaced by the new GM Gores’ Platinum guys choose.  I get the weirdest vibe from this ownership.  Gores does not seem like a genuine sports fan and the writers who have been straining to tie him to the community as part of his spin have not been credible.  He sure does not seem like a Joe Dumars type of guy.  Will Joe suffer fools gladly?  Will new ownership be content to wait for Joe to piece together (or not!) a winning franchise without a superstar?  I’m hoping for the best but I think a year from now the entire state of the Pistons will be something very different

  • Jun 5, 20119:46 pm
    by Cliff


    dream team coaching situation for pistons IMO: adelman (head coach) + laimbeer (assistant)

  • Jun 5, 201110:12 pm
    by Laser


    oh no, kuester?? damn. i guess nobody’s safe.
    right. moving on. in all seriousness, i think it’s obvious we need a veteran coach. personally i want to see a guy who’s tough and holds guys accountable, but not someone who’s going to ride them so hard they tune him out. we’ve seen how good this squad is at tuning out a coach or ten.
    personally i think adelman would be perfect. i don’t care if he’s 65. not sure how sold i am on woodson. laimbeer lacks the experience i’d like to see, and i could see the team tuning him out real quick if they weren’t winning. and they won’t be winning.
    hopefully i’ll just be happy when i hear the name of whomever they pick, and hopefully he’s not forced to coach a roster that looks very much like the one we closed the season with. but i won’t forget dumars’s comments immediately following the kuester hire; he talked about how in all of his decisions he’d walk away with doubts but that after deciding on kuester he felt absolutely happy about the hire and had zero reservations. i won’t be forgetting that one. it should be engraved somewhere as a warning.

  • Jun 5, 201110:13 pm
    by Reaction


    My ideal choice would be Van Gundy as head couch and laimbeer as assistant. However Laimbeer as head is just as good

    • Jun 5, 201110:24 pm
      by MrHappyMushroom


      Research:  Sofa “head couch” you want Van Gundy?  Wouldn’t you prefer Broyhill? ;-)

  • Jun 5, 201111:08 pm
    by Rodman4Life


    I don’t think Adelman wants this place, and I’m not so sure he’s the guy either.  Good coach, no doubt, but wrong time in the wrong place.  Our next coach is taking a lot of risk coming here.

  • Jun 6, 201112:34 am
    by rob


    Adelman is my first choice, but I think we can all forget him. Rob Parker said the Pistons will not be going for an old timer and want a young coach who can relate to the players.

    In other words, they want another coach that the players can take advantage of… ugh.

    Considering none of the old timers are being mentioned as candidates, Parker is probably right. Its a shame though that the Pistons are conducting their search based on age and not skill. That isnt a good sign,

  • Jun 6, 20118:38 am
    by Eric


    After watching Van Gundy commenating on the Finals I have to definitely say no on him.  He doesn’t understand basketball at all.  He kept complaining the entire game say that wasn’t a foul when it clearly was and complaining about instant replay, he doesn’t understand that replyaing everything is not good for the game.  He is a joke just like his brother Stan.

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