Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 2:59 pm  |  99 responses

Michael Curry: He Gone!

by Ryne Nelson

Was it really this easy for the Pistons to get this confused about its identity — to question whether it should rebuild or reload? They’ve finger-pointed for nearly an entire season. They pointed at Allen Iverson and then Chauncey Billups with his tremendous success in Denver. They pointed a finger at the architect of the ’04 championship squad, Joe Dumars. They blamed Rip and his ego, which cast a shadow longer than the Piston bench at times.

Of course, they always blamed Darko. He ruined things from the beginning.

But, mostly, they pointed toward Michael Curry. At every game, during the sweep in the first round, Curry played the scapegoat role. Today, Curry is gone and we can only imagine what happens next:

Pistons coach Michael Curry has been fired, the team announced Tuesday.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” Pistons president Joe Dumars said. “I want to thank Michael for his hard work and dedication to the organization. However, at this time, I have decided to make a change.”

(Note: Not that we’re laughing, but it’s funny how news like this comes after reports like these. The AP wasn’t what it used to be folks!)

A man who captained the Pistons from 59 wins to 39 in just 12 months will receive no extended eulogy. Rather, the talk almost immediately will turn to finding a savior. But with the uncertainly surrounding the team, who will the Pistons dubb as head coach? A quick read through the beat writers’ reports mention three names, none exciting or surprising: Bill Laimbeer, Doug Collins, Avery Johnson.

We’ve said this many times before: A coach is only as good as his players. And, clearly, much more needs to be done than replace the Detroit head man. That said, who do you think has the best chance of pulling the Pistons out of this spiral of negativity?

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  • http://www.nba.com JE


  • Greg Moore

    Laimbeer … or Isiah.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Wow. At what point do we start to look at Joe D? He’s the one that hired him and is essentially saying ‘my bad’ now. He’s the one that pulled the trigger on AI for Chauncey (and indirectly gave Stuck the reigns).

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    He did take Darko as well. It was controversial then and it’s Bowiesque now.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    But Doug Collins? I don’t know how his relationship is with Rip, but it’d be wild to see him coaching Kwame again.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    But Doug Collins? I don’t know how his relationship is with Rip, but it’d be wild to see him coaching Kwame Brown again.

  • josh

    they should go after brian shaw

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Where’s Tad? Detroit Knickerbockers.

  • Momma No Like Cold

    Worse than the l-wolves

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Well…..I think this will work out fo the best for the Pistons in the long run but those three guys mentioned sure as sh*t aren’t going to be much better. Laimbeer would be the sentimental pick and had good success with the Shock but c’mon, that’s the WNBA….it’s not exactly the same.

  • Chris

    We of course don’t know what went on behind the scenes, whether or not Curry clashed with ownership, or wasn’t up to the job, but from the outside, this looks like classic scapegoat-ism. The Pistons just aren’t a championship team anymore.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    They should get Rick Carlisle. Or Larry Brown. Or Flip Saunders.

  • la huey

    shouldn’t have benched rip in favor of iverson. still, not sure if he was so bad that he didn’t deserve another year.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Ha! That’s all.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    -20 in the win column with basically the same roster gets the axe, I thought it was a bad hire from the start and he proved me right.

  • http://dsfkl.com Jukai

    Eboy: it’s not the same, but I think Lambier is a better bet than most of the other options out there.

  • http://4point0show.com/ Wes

    I blame Kwame Brown. NO team can ever win, as long as he’s on the roster.

  • tk

    Obviously joe d was thinkin one year of currys tacky suits was enough!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I’m just not sure how a team that’s in such flux (there will be a couple of pieces (Sheed/Tayshaun on the move, right?) would benfit from yet ANOTHER rookie head coach in the NBA ranks.

  • http://yahoo.com Such and such

    Doug Collins is the leafing candidate

  • http://www.sonicbids.com/shaemorin doyouwantmore


  • http://thegayestwebsiteever.com Ben

    If my memory serves me right, most mock drafts at the time had Darko going in the top 3; anybody would have looked foolish after the fact, that person just happened to be Joe. Plus, the Pistons had no business having the number 2 overall pick, so they were in a better position than most teams to take a chance on him.

    As far as Laimbeer goes: I’d like to see him get a shot. I know the game is different, but he pretty much dominated the WNBA, which is more about X’s and O’s because you don’t have Lebrons and Kobes and Wades around the league who can pretty much take over a game at will. Also, why not try some new blood in the league? Teams keep hiring the Jim O’Brians of the league, re-treads who haven’t ever really done anything but keep getting jobs because of all of their “experience.” I think Bill could do at least as good as that.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    I think Doug Collins is not such a gr8 coach.

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    Avery Johnson could be a good fit for the Pistons IMO. :)

  • Pingback: Michael Curry: He Gone!

  • Tommy Patron

    As a Bulls fan, I would be delighted to see Dumars hire Doug Collins.

  • Josh D

    Oh yeah, it’s Darko’s fualt even though they won the championship the year after they drafted him

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Paul Silas. runner up, Avery Johnson.

  • Tuomas

    Thank you, Joe. Next time, try going for an actual coach. The job Curry did was appallingly inadequate. That said, some unnamed players sure as sh*t are to be blamed as well. As they have been. Still so sore of the playoff “experience” that this is really all I’ve got to say. Oh, B. Long: you know that in order to successfully heckle someone, the joke has to have at least some form of realism. Turmoil alone does not a Knick make. Hit and miss.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    I agree with Brad Long – bring back Silas! He deserves another shot.(I understand that sometimes posts don’t show up, but right now, this might be my sixth time trying)

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Mo Cheeks? Doug Collins is actually a very good X’s and O’s coach and is good with younger players. His playoff record is ify though.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Joe D must be hanging with Rodman again.
    ‘Cause he gotta be high.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself
  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Sorry, i didn’t want to post that link, my bad. Anyway, I’m with Brad Long here. Bring Silas back!

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    sorry, didn’t want to post that link!

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    oh man…. the first six times I couldn’t get my comment posted, and now this happened. Sorry SLAM….

  • Quail

    take it away TAD.

  • #6marjon

    someones gotta give avery a job and if dumars wants to start becoming a great defensive team there’s no other choice.

  • http://slamonline.com Jacob J

    Finally hes out of Detroit. JoeD try getting a coach perhaps Larry Brown or Flip Saunders! When you have no rotation and dont play Jason Maxiell for a game somethings wrong with the coach! MC and AI are hated in Detroit forever!

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Thank you Pistons for finally making a good decision through this awful drought of bad ones. Now I with gambling on Bill Laimbeer. Lets go for it

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    I agree with Brad Long on this one, unless there’s someone out there I’m overlooking.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    However, a Paul Silas/Carlos Boozer combo would not ever happen.

  • TADOne


  • iLL wiLL

    Curry was doomed from the beginning. With or without Billups/AI.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Paul Silas would slap the skin-rows off Boozers head.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Avery Johnson. I think on hindsight that Curry’s relationship with the Pistons as a player made it hard for him to be an authoritative figure. It’s hard to be both friend and coach, unfortunately. I think Avery’s no bull attitude would be perfect. Sure, his Mavs flamed out in the playoffs a bunch of times but they were downright nasty in the regular season.

  • Teddy-the-Bear


  • Dallas STOKES


  • CDef28

    Joel O’s and to all people saying hire Johnson, if the Pistons players can’t tolerate Curry, I’m guessing they can’t deal with Avery. Over half the Mavs wanted him gone his last year. It’s a good fit, but at the same time it’s not.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Name Sheed player/coach. C’mon Joe D., you know you wanna.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    They need a coach with NBA experience, not Bill Lambier. I’m not too sold on Avery Johnson, I’d be happier with a veteran coach like Collins or Cheeks.

  • matt

    look what happens to teams that fire flip saunders

  • http://slamonline.com Jacob J

    I say get either Bill Laimbeer or Avery Johnson.

  • Quail

    Sam Mitchell?????????????

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Breaking news: Candace Parker has practiced for the first time since having her baby; looks fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine

  • chintao

    Although he’s not in the discussion, I believe that JVG would present Detroit with the best chance for a resurgence.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Surprisingly, co-sign chintao. He did it in New York, he did it with Houston, he can do it again.
    I also say Avery Johnson or HUBIE BROWN.

  • http://www.sprint.com/pre dma

    thanks Ollie Williams! What’s the weather like?

  • Tuomas

    Silas, Laimbeer and Johnson all sound good to me at this point. I also thought Terry Porter woulda been a good fit (in any case better than in Phoenix), but he might be out of the question.

  • http://www.twitter.com/lkzug_basket Darksaber

    So umm, can Iverson re-sign now? Anton, where the pics at? Motherhood makes women GLOW, so Candace must be looking fantastic!

  • http://yahoo.com Such and such

    i really think JVG is overrated

  • http://twitter.com/NotebookNick thesubwayconnection

    The fact that Silas *STILL* isn’t coaching somewhere bothers me. I thought he did an amazing job, and never deserved to be let go. The fact that he isn’t mentioned more often makes me wonder. . .

  • raidio

    Ever thought about if Joe D picked Carmelo over Darko, the Pistons would’t have won that championship or gone to the final the year after.

    Darko was quiet on the bench just accepting that he was a euro rookie on a championship team.
    Carmelo would probably have wrecked the team chemistry and Sheed would have gone prison for killing him.
    = 0 finals

    The Darko selection at that time was pure genius by Joe D.
    On the other hand he did pick up Iversonl..

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    Avery Johnson or Kevin McHale (j/k)

  • Spartdog

    is Rip Hamilton now legitimately considered a coach-killer? It’s pretty common knowledge that he wasn’t even on speaking terms with Curry. Sux that Curry got axed, when all he had on his team was SG’s and PF’s

  • riggs

    they should get TAD

  • BostonBaller

    it’s official now: He Gone

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Ok, I can finally ring in on this after spending the last day and a half in the ER with the wife. Not fun. Anyway, i’m thinking that there is much more that will probably come out on this firing. I think that Dumars did a knee jerk reaction to a bad season and made Curry a scape goat. Curry certainly deserved blame, but the players and Dumars are not without fault. Looking forward, i’m really not overly impressed with the coaching list that has been rolled out by the media. Out of Avery, Doug, and Sam, I would have to throw my support behind Avery. Collins is a has been and there is a reason he hasn’t been hired back to coaching after numerous flirtations with several teams in the last few years. I like Mitchell, but he has doesn’t have a great offensive mind. As for Johnson, i’m thinking he can come in right away and have respect and also demand commitment and get it. I don’t think Dallas ever should have fired him.

  • CDef28

    Detroit needs an offensive mind for a coach.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Well, Detroit HAD an offensive coach in Flip and got rid of him. I think the Pistons just need an authorative figure who demands respect and can attract top level assistants.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    From the standpoint of developing thier young talent I wouldn’t mind having Collins back. He’s a great X’s and O’s coach as well.

  • JoeMaMa

    Poor Curry. Busts his ass to get into the league, slowly earns respect around the league from his practice habits and union work, finally gets a shot….and is given a desperate team who trades away their best player for a shot happy, no practice, me-first cancer. And injuries. Curry just got hung out to dry.

    How about Mark Jackson? He’s looking for work. A smart guy, a player’s coach (which is what they must be looking for after Curry’s confrontational style), and a respeted figure.

  • TADOne

    Pistons short list: Avery Johnson, Doug Collins, John Kuester, Sam Mitchell, and Bill Laimbeer. Oh, and Ben Gordon and Charlie V are visiting today.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Gordon and Charlie V will be Pistons by the end of the week. Cleveland can only offer CV thier 5.6 million MLE. Detroit is likely to offer him 7 or 8 million. BG will get 10 million (overpaid).

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    W wouldn’t mind Detroit signing Gortat to a cheap contract either if they have some cash left over.

  • TADOne

    I’m not overly impressed with Gordon or Charlie V, but I guess beggars cannot be choosers. If Gordon signs, we will have another logjam at shooting guard. I’m wondering if Rip is still being shopped around? I also heard rumors that Hedo is still at the top of the Pistons wish list but that he hasn’t scheduled a visit yet. Whoever we get as a coach better be ready to run.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Yeah, it’s better than nothing…but I’d rather have them hold out for a bit and maintain some of thier trading flexibility. I’m not sure why Detroit would sign Hedo though. He’s 30 years old, and is asking for 10 million over 5 years. Plus we have a wealth of young SF’s now because of the draft. I also don’t know who is going to want to take on RIP’s contract. He’s getting superstar money and is only an above average player. I doubt a team is going to want to get tied down to him until he’s 35. Tayshaun is our only real trade asset at this point unless a team is crazy enough to take Hamilton too. This just is not how I envisioned them spending thier 19 million – Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva…oh well…

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    correction, Hedo is asking for 10 million a year for five years, not 10 million over 5 years.

  • TADOne

    Yeah, I got you the first time. I think that Dumars certainly erred in re-upping Rip for 5 more years when he traded away Billups. I honestly believe that was the worst of the moves. AI gave us cap space. Right now Rip is disgruntled and not he is hard to move.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    hopefully this gets team chemistry back to detroit, gotta admit the league is a lot more entertaining with detroit as a power…but charlie v and ben gordon, i think we will look back and say wow, detroit shot themselves in the foot with those signings. unless they start run’n'gun’n

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Nobody thought that getting Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace would help them that much a few years back I guess…Hopefully Joe hasn’t lost his touch. As far as run’n'gun’n goes I think they pretty much have to start playing that way from this point forward with the kind of players they’re looking to get. I doubt they’ll be a very good defensive team this year. Again, I’m not sure how RIP fits into that kind of offense though, he’s a half court guy. They need to find a way to make him fit into thier plans or get rid of him. He could be a big problem this year.

  • TADOne

    Rip is not just a half court player. I understand the misperception becuase he gets a lot of his shots off screens and movement, but Rip can and will run when given the chance. Rip is one of the best conditioned athletes in the league and never tires. He is also a very good finisher on the break. Becuase the Pistons haven’t run much in the past 6 years you don’t see these things.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Evenso, I don’t see how RIP and BG could possibly coexist. RIP is by no means a viable SF and niether of them will want to come off the bench.

  • TADOne

    Well, Gordon has had no issue with coming off the bench for the last 3 years in Chicago, and that was behind players that weren’t anywhere as good as Rip is. However, I don’t want to pay Ben $10 mil a year to be a 6th man.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    In 06 and 07 he started for over half the season and he started all of last season. Besides, it’s not so much the bench issue as it is playing time. Maybe BG would be fine coming off the bench, I don’t know, but RIP and BG would have to split the minutes, and we all know how well that worked out last season with AI. BG can’t slide to PG and RIP shouldn’t slide to SF. They’re stuck sharing 48 minutes. How is that going to work? I’m fine paying BG $10 mil if they get rid of RIP, but yes, like you said, 10 mil for a 6th man is insane.

  • TADOne

    You can see I haven’t followed the Bulls very close. I thought BG was still coming off the bench unless there were injuries. Regardless, Detroit is going to struggle hard in the rebounding department.

  • TADOne

    It appears that both Gordon and Villanueva will be offered contracts today.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Hm…part of me is excited…part of me, not so much… It really shakes out to a trade of Billups and Dyess for Gordon and Villanueva.

  • TADOne

    Color me unimpressed. I’m guessing that our next moves will be trading for Ray Allen and Hasheem Thabeet so that we can have an All-UConn starting lineup.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    haha, Jim Calhoun for coach anyone?

  • Quail

    get rid of Tayshaun, get a good center, and start Rip at the 3. then u’ll have stuck, BG, Rip, Charlie V, and the center. just need a bench…..

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    It’s done, BG 5 years 55 Million, CV 5 years 35 Million. Detroit have about 4.4 million left to either sign someone, or use as flexibility in a trade…here we go, welcome newest members of the Pistons! (again notice that I beat SLAM to this news…you heard it here first!)

  • FillTheLane

    This is all on Joe D. He hired Curry last summer and made all the aforementioned personnel moves. But that ring he orchestrated in ’04 gives him a little rope w/ ownership (but he’s probably out of rope now).
    He did just reportedly sign Ben Gordan & C.Villanueva so the old low scoring, grind it out Pistons may be a thing of the past. Considering the pieces now on that roster, my ni**a Avery seems like the best fit. Regardless, they’re still behind Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando in the east.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @TADOne: I hope everything is okay now or getting better with your fam. And I fully agree, what the Pistons need now is a strong voice. I don’t think they necessarily need a really experienced coach (Collins), since we all know how Flip turned out. Still very deep, with lots of assets on the bench, with the right coach they can really bounce back and surprise people sooner than later.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    In other words, Hubie Brown.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Quail: The Pistons already tried small ball when Iverson was there. Ripchard can’t play the 3 spot if the Pistons want any defense.

  • http://slamonline.com Jacob J

    Screw Hubie Brown! He absolutely sucks as a coach. I would like to see Bill Laimbeer or Avery Johnson as the coach of the pistons. I understand he made Dallas look bad but yo cant do worse than Michael Curry.

  • http://slamonline.com Jacob J

    Wayno you can see how this is happening. JoeD is going to trade RIP for a big man and they are going to let dice and sheed walk as free agents.Its sad to see that we are rebuilding again and it will be another decade for a championship.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Thanks for that, Joel O. And yes, everything is better with the fam now.