Lawrence Frank has been fired as the head coach of the Pistons.
Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that Lawrence Frank will not return as the team’s head coach.
"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,” said Dumars. “Decisions like this are never easy and we wish Lawrence well in the future."
Frank, who was named head coach on August 3, 2011, tallied a regular-season record of 54-94 (.365) in two seasons with the Pistons. The Pistons now will be looking for their eighth coach in 14 seasons. Frank, 42, was hired during the NBA lockout of 2011, after developing a solid reputation as head coach of the New Jersey Nets for six years run and one season as an assistant under Doc Rivers with the Boston Celtics. Frank’s first year showed promise when, after a 4-20 start to the lockout-shortened season, he navigated a 21-21 finish. But the Pistons lost their first eight games this season, and right when they appeared to be improving, they lost rookie center Andre Drummond for 22 games because of a back injury.
Wednesday night Frank seemed resigned to his fate. Unfortunately, it's been talk for too long," Frank said. "It's been going on for a while. It's not a news flash. Because you have to answer the question every day, it's something you give thought to." Gores said he'll act swiftly, and the two have been in communication throughout the season.
After the game, Yahoo! Sports reported Frank went to team management and Gores, saying if the Pistons wouldn't guarantee the fourth year on his deal, he didn't want to return. He's owed around $3.7 million next season and around $4 million for the 2014-15 season if he's still around. Frank wasn't available for comment on this issue after the game.
Frank said there was locker-room dysfunction the day he took over, leftover debris from the ill-fated John Kuester era, but he isn't sure what will come or when.
"Let's hope for the best," Frank said, "But we understand what reality could be. There's dialogue there so we'll see what happens. "I got a great deal of respect for my superiors. When you sign up for stuff like this, and when you sign up for something like this, it doesn't matter how you want things to be handled. I got a ton of respect for Tom Gores, he's first-class. Whatever decision he makes, when he makes it, I'll respect it."
Gores publicly stated before the season that "we'd better make the playoffs" and given that statement alone, with the Pistons falling miserably short for the fourth straight season, it would appear the title of "head coach" won't be fitting Frank much longer.
"Anytime your job falls into question, especially as the head coach, the number one concern is for your staff," said Frank. "Financially, it's a different deal. Families, they move them. When you sign up for this job, you know what the potential consequences are. You gotta accept them and move on. You always think of (the assistants) first because you know the sacrifices they make."