Three men are expecting phone calls: Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Mike Woodson.
Thomas and Laimbeer are former Pistons players. Woodson coached under Larry Brown when the Pistons won their last championship, in 2004.
They all have championship rings with a Pistons logo on it. And all would love to add one more to their resume, now that John Kuester has been put out of his misery as Pistons coach.
Kuester, though not all his fault, was part of an embarrassing era in Pistons history. That’s why I believe the next Pistons coach will be more of a set-up man than a closer. Think of him as Joaquin Benoit in a suit.
Chances are this next coach won’t be the one standing when the Pistons hang their next championship banner, unless they luck into a game-changing superstar player in the next three seasons.
The next coach must also be a clean-up man and a tough guy. Woodson was a set-up man in Atlanta. He got a bad ship headed in the right direction and got the Hawks into three consecutive playoffs, improving the team’s regular-season record each year. But the Hawks didn’t believe he could take them any further, and fired him after the 2009-10 season.
This Pistons job will be a tough one because a lot of buffoonery is left behind and can no longer be tolerated. New owner Tom Gores talked about being tougher, and that starts in the dressing room.
Players were allowed to run roughshod over Kuester. They could do as they pleased and say what they wanted. They didn’t seem to care.
I assume Richard Hamilton will be gone, along with Tayshaun Prince. Rodney Stuckey spent a lot of time brooding during the season, too, but it appears the Pistons would like to try to salvage him.