Blog Entry

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

Posted on: July 7, 2009 12:09 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2009 11:23 pm
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UPDATES THROUGHOUT with Kuester negotiations:

The Detroit Pistons have passed on Avery Johnson in their search for a head coach and have entered into negotiations with Cavaliers assistant John Kuester, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com. A person familiar with the negotiations said an agreement is expected within 24 hours.

Unable to satisfy Johnson's salary requirements and apparently unwilling to guarantee a third year, the Pistons have focused on Kuester, a former Pistons assistant under Larry Brown who is credited with diversifying the Cavs' offense last season after coach Mike Brown gave him autonomy on that side of the floor. Kuester has not employed an agent in his dealings with the Cavs, but he is being represented in his negotiations with Detroit -- by CAA Sports, the same agency that represents LeBron James.
 
Johnson seemed to have been in a position to work out a reasonable deal because Dallas still owes him approximately $8 million over the next two seasons. The Pistons, however, are in a similar position after firing Michael Curry last week. Detroit owes Curry about $5 million over the next two seasons.

Pistons president Joe Dumars traveled to Johnson's Houston-area home over the weekend to discuss the job. Previously, Dumars had stated that he wanted a coach in place in time for the Pistons' departure for Las Vegas summer league, which begins Friday. 

The focus on Kuester wasn't surprising on several fronts. First, given Dumars' emphasis on upgrading the team's offensive potency by coming to terms with free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, Kuester's growing reputation as an offensive guru seemed to give him the edge over Thibodeau, who is widely regarded as one of the top defensive assistants in the league. The Pistons teams that advanced to six consecutive conference finals were built on defense, but it could be time for a change. It is not clear whether Dumars had reservations about Thibodeau's fairly rigid rotation system of defense, which is similar in style to the approach that wound up dooming the Cavaliers against Orlando in the conference finals. Thibodeau received credit -- and deservedly so -- for the Celtics' championship run in 2007-08, but his system benefited from having outstanding defenders like Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins

In addition to his history with the Pistons, Kuester also served on Brown's staff in Philadelphia when the team advanced to the 2001 NBA Finals in addition to stints in Orlando, New Jersey, and Boston. If money is as much of an issue with the remaining candidates as it was with Johnson, that may have tipped the scales in Kuester's favor as well. At close to $1 million per season, Thibodeau is one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the league. The hiring of Kuester would have a ripple effect, too; it would help the Pistons and hurt division rival Cleveland, which would need to find a new offensive guru to replace him.


 

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Comments

Since: Dec 26, 2008
Posted on: July 9, 2009 4:12 pm
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

Everyone needs to quit saying Darko was a bad pick. Yes in hindsight it was a stupid pick for sure. At the time, however, it was a pick 90% of GMs would have made. A young big man that could shoot from outside. He was highly touted kid from Europe. We needed a big man that year and was supposed to be a part of the future. But Larry Brown doesn't play young guys often enough and he never developed. Sure it may also have been his work ethic but who really knows? A young guy getting millions of dollars is a coin flip. But we also traded that "stupid pick" for the pick we used to get Stuckey. So it isn't as bad as everyone makes it seems. Anyone can be an expert 4 years after the fact. Yeah it would have been great to have Melo, Bosh, or Wade but at the time they weren't "needs" and Big men only last so long and the kid never panned out.



Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: July 8, 2009 10:23 am
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

No they blew a two game to none lead.



Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: July 8, 2009 9:22 am
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

The Pistons are losers? 2006 was easily the best year in franchise history for the Mavericks, but was a sub-par year for the Pistons. They both lost to the eventual champion Heat that year. In six years, the Pistons made the conference finals every year, the finals twice, and won it all once. In 2006 when they lost to the Spurs, they were tied going into the 4th quarter in game 7.

Do Piston fans feel like Avery Johnson is the one that got away? No, I feel like Flip Saunders is the one that got away. His feud with Rasheed Wallace doomed him. Now Sheed's gone and the Pistons are looking for an offensive-minded head coach. That's what Flip Saunders was! Also, Mike Woodson was an assistant for Larry Brown on the 2004 championship team. He's doing a good job with the Hawks. L.B. is the guy who led them to those two finals appearances by the way. Like someone mentioned already, it was the $8 million the Mavs owe Johnson that is the reason why he didn't want to coach again. I don't blame him.

Joe Dumars has made some bad moves I admit. Drafting Darko, trading Chauncey, and firing the coaches I mentioned. Overall he's done a great job as the President though. He put together the team that were title contenders every year. Only Jerry West has done a better job in the front office of all the great players in upper management. I gotta defend Joe D.!



Since: Dec 15, 2008
Posted on: July 8, 2009 9:14 am
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

What happened to Dumar's buddy Bill Laimbeer?  Didn't he leave the WNBA to coach in the NBA?  I was sure this was a setup for him to coach the Pistons.  It may not be too late.  Keep an eye out for big Bill.



Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: July 8, 2009 9:08 am
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

I get what you are saying PasqualWisdom, Joe Dumars has some hits and some misses in the past, but he did get Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace and win a championship with that team.The only problem that i saw was the lack of foresight to get good players and trades to make  a continuity of successful runs to get the championship which is a very hard feat to do in the NBA, but i 'm still  optimistic to see what will the results may be of these moves, admittedly i really do not know this John Kuester and have to google him up,and i really did not like what i saw, a bad head coaching duty in GW and a slew of NBA assistant coaching gigs, maybe another Michael Curry in the making, but i still i realize who would like to coach a team on a rebuilding process any way, so i think Kuester might fit well for now.
I like the  nickname Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, is he that bad?I really do not get this player he twitters during the games lol, i hope he can be a consistent player for the Pistons hopefully.



Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: July 8, 2009 9:03 am
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

The Pistons are losers? In that one glorious year the Mavericks made a run at the title the Pistons made it to the semifinals and got beat by the same Heat team that won the championship. What was easily the best year in franchise history for the Mavs was a sub-par year for the Pistons. In six years, they made the conference finals every year, the finals twice and won it all once during that span. As I recall, the year they lost it to the Spurs they were tied going into the 4th quarter in game 7.

As someone mentioned earlier, it was the $8 million the Mavs owe Avery Johnson that swayed him from coming to the Pistons. I don't blame Avery for not wanting to forfeit that money. I wish the Pistons would have kept Flip Saunders in hindsight. His feud with Rasheed Wallace doomed him. Now Sheed is gone and they are looking for an offensive-minded head coach. That's what Flip Saunders was! Mike Woodson is another one that got away from the Pistons. He was an assistant for L.B. in their championship year of 2004. Now he's having success in Atlanta.
Joe Dumars is not a loser. He's had as much success in upper management as just about any great player has ever had. Jerry West is the only one that comes to mind that has had more. He's done a great job overall as president. He made some dumb moves like drafting Darko, trading Chauncey and firing Flip. He put together this team that contended for a title every year and had a great run. Gotta defend Joe D.!



Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: July 8, 2009 8:38 am
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

The Pistons are losers? How many titles do the Mavericks have? That's what I thought. Dumars won two titles as a player and one as president. I wouldn't call him a loser. He has made some bad decisions recently. Drafting Darko, trading Chauncey, and firing Flip Saunders. He's also made many great moves to put together this team that made the eastern conference finals six times in a row.

Avery would have forfeited the $8 million that Mark Cuban owes him if he accepted a deal with Detroit. That more than anything else is the reason the two sides couldn't work anything out. I don't blame Johnson for not agreeing to anything.




Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: July 8, 2009 1:53 am
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

I think Joe Dumars has to take some blame here and I don't want to tell you that Kuester will be a bad hire, but he's not their first choice.  They wanted Doug Collins, he said no.  Then they wanted Avery Johnson, he said no.  Now, less than 24 hours later, Dumars has given up and is just hiring an assistant from a good team.  Not saying that Kuester will fail, but I've never heard of him so he's obviously not a "big name" hire.

Remember when Dumars passed on Carmelo and D-Wade to pluck Darko Milicic?  Dumars got a lot of good press for his GM skills when the Pistons were winning, but he has made more bad moves lately for the Pistons.  Trading Billups for Iverson seemed dumb at the time and looks really bad now.  Firing Flip Saunders for Michael Curry seemed dumb at the time and looks really bad now.

Maybe Ben Gordon and Charlie "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" Villanueva mature in to superstars in Detroit, but if the last two years are any indication, I doubt it.



Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: July 7, 2009 6:52 pm
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

I agree to what D-TOWNSPORTSFAN posted, all true pistons fans knows that this is not the end of what is to come,I still believe Joe Dumars will still move and trade and get the pieces needed to make a run for a championship again someday, John Kuester might fit with this current roster of athletic and offensive minded players, John Kuester can developed this team,as he will try to prove himself also that he can be a head coach material.It will be another year or several years to come before the fruits of what Dumars is doing to be really gauge.So hopefully skeptics will be again be proven wrong when the Detroit Pistons become NBA champions again in the future.



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: July 7, 2009 6:30 pm
 

Pistons pass on Avery, focus on Kuester (UPDATE)

Not only did Avery want to get paid too much with too long of a contract, he wanted more input into personell decisions. Why someone would think that they would be considered for making decisions in lieu of the best President of operations in the NBA the last 7-8 years or so.

Joe was trying to offer a coveted job to an experienced coach. He wasn't looking for a jr. executive.


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