Detroit Pistons fire head coach Lawrence Frank
The Pistons fired the ex-New Jersey Nets head coach on Thursday, one day after Detroit finished a 29-53 season with a loss to Frank’s former team at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
"We thank Lawrence for his hard work and dedication, but we feel it is in the best interest of the franchise to make a change at this time," team president Joe Dumars said. "Decisions like this are never easy and we wish Lawrence well in the future."
Frank went 54-94 overall in two seasons in Detroit, and started his Pistons tenure in a very similar manner to the one that ended his days with the Nets – by losing 20 of his first 24 games in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
Detroit rebounded from that 4-20 start to go .500 the rest of the way and finish 25-41, but this season was another roller coaster; the Pistons opened 0-8, rebounded to go 23-29 between Nov. 15 and Feb. 28, then went 1-13 in a dismal March that saw Frank miss six games for personal reasons.
A win in the finale would have seen the Pistons end the campaign on a season-high five-game winning streak, but in the end, neither of Frank’s campaigns at the helm ended up better than the 30-52 season in 2010-11 that got previous coach John Kuester fired.
"This has been a very tough season, you know, both professionally and personally," Frank said Wednesday after the loss in Brooklyn. "Could we have won some more games? Of course. Do we have a long ways to go? Yes."
Detroit’s next coach will the team’s ninth since 1999 and fourth since Flip Saunders – who, at three full seasons, is the Pistons’ longest-tenured coach since Chuck Daly left for New Jersey after the 1991-92 season – was fired following a loss in the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals.
Owner Tom Gores said before Detroit’s home finale on Monday that he was still assessing the future of both Frank and Dumars, saying there needed to be accountability for the team's poor showing, and was looking forward to a summer where the Pistons will have quite a lot of room under the salary cap.
"We've set ourselves up financially - and basketball operations has set us up - so I'm very excited about the future, but I'm not content about how we performed this year,” Gores said. "We are prepared to spend, and we are prepared to do what we have to do to get this franchise forward. Make no doubt about it, we want to win.”
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