Lawrence Frank was fired after two seasons as coach of the Detroit Pistons. The dismissal of Frank has been expected for some time, after the Pistons lost 27 of 36 games in the second half of the season before winning four of their final five games. Frank guided the Pistons to a 29-53 mark this season and was 54-94 overall in two campaigns.
A meeting Thursday with Pistons owner Tom Gores finally confirmed Frank’s ouster, after Gores offered weak public support of his coach when speaking to local reporters earlier this week. Frank was believed to be largely Gores’ choice to replace John Kuester in the summer of 2011, although NBA coaching sources maintain that Pistons president Joe Dumars preferred current Knicks coach Mike Woodson for the job.
After the Pistons’ season-ending loss in Brooklyn, Frank acknowledged that the mounting speculation about his future had taken its toll.
“Unfortunately, it’s been too long a talk for too long,” Frank told reporters Wednesday night. “It’s been going on for a while, so it’s not like this just jumped up and it’s news flash. “Because you have to answer the question every day, it’s something you do give some thought to.”
Gores said before the season that he expected the Pistons, despite their youth, to reach the playoffs this season. Dumars is expected to survive despite Detroit’s rough season, thanks largely to the considerable salary-cap space that the Pistons are positioned to have this summer along with the promise shown by two young big men Dumars drafted: Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
The season has been difficult for Frank on a personal level as well. His wife’s illness forced Frank to miss a handful of those March defeats. Frank was scheduled to earn a reported $4 million next season, with the Pistons holding a $4 team million option for the 2014-15 season.
The Pistons haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2007-08 season. Frank went to the playoffs three times in six seasons coaching the New Jersey Nets before his dismissal in 2009, then worked as an assistant in Boston under Doc Rivers.