by Ryne Nelson

This season, Detroit basketball has not been Detroit Basketball. Few believed the Pistons would be a contending force heading into ’10-11, but none expected the team to sputter in this thick of turmoil.

At the center is a feud between Rip Hamilton and coach John Kuester. We know bits and pieces of the story — Rip’s been glued to the pine since January 10, players are protesting, laughing at Kuester’s ejections, etc.

But what caused it all?

Read what Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski uncovered:

About a week prior to his banishment to the Detroit Pistons’ bench in January, Richard Hamilton berated coach John Kuester in a jarring and expletive-filled diatribe on the practice court, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

As stunned coaches and teammates watched, Hamilton bellowed at Kuester that he had been a failure in his two seasons in Detroit, blown the opportunity the franchise afforded him and was nothing more than a career assistant coach, sources said. Despite Hamilton yelling within inches of him, Kuester didn’t respond.

Several of the team’s younger players were mortified watching it and privately told agents and associates they wished they had the courage to stand up, confront Hamilton and try to take control back from the disgruntled veteran. Nevertheless, Hamilton influences a powerful lobby in the Pistons’ locker room, including veteran leaders Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace.

The early January incident was the second time Hamilton had initiated a confrontation with Kuester this season, sources said, and it ultimately spurred the benching that led to such public acrimony.

Up until the point, Rip’s played the role of innocent victim. If we’re to believe Woj’s sources, he may be anything but.