DETROIT – The Detroit Pistons have a new coach.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Friday that the Pistons have agreed to a three-year deal with Lawrence Frank to be the 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 chance at a head coaching job. Frank was 225-241 with the Nets, who won two division titles, as many as 49 games in a season and advanced to the conference semifinals three times with him on the bench.
The 40-year-old native of 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.
Story continues below
Frank was rumoured to be in the running for the Toronto Raptors’ head coaching job that eventually went to former Dallas assistant Dwane Casey.
Frank will have a lot of work to do in the Motor City, which has a new owner in Tom Gores and three straight seasons with a losing record. Detroit has twice missed the playoffs after advancing to six consecutive Eastern Conference finals and winning the 2004 NBA title.
Detroit won just 30 games last season with a dysfunctional roster on the court and one that was problematic off it for Kuester. Seven players missed at least part of a team shootaround in Philadelphia last season and Kuester played the remaining six in a blowout loss to the 76ers.
When the league resumes play, free agent Tayshaun Prince may part ways with the only NBA team he’s played for and free agent Ben Wallace might not be back.
Detroit drafted Kentucky guard Brandon Knight No. 8 overall, adding to its perimeter logjam with Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon. Centre 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.