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Thread: Pistons name Flip Saunders head coach

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    Pistons name Flip Saunders head coach

    Associated Press

    7/21/2005 12:58:24 PM

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Flip Saunders was introduced as the new coach of the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, replacing Hall of Famer Larry Brown and taking over a team that has made two straight appearances in the NBA final.

    Saunders, who was fired in February after 9 seasons as the coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, says he knows there is an expectation to win in Detroit.

    "I've been in situations where I've taken bad teams and moved them in the right direction. In those situations, there is no pressure," Saunders said during a news conference at The Palace. "Would it have been easy for me to take another job and not have as much (pressure)? Pressure is what you put on yourself. I don't really feel any pressure walking into a situation."

    Saunders and the Pistons agreed to a four-year, $20 million US contract on Wednesday, roughly 24 hours after finalizing the terms of Brown's $7 million severance package.

    Saunders compiled a record of 411-326 with Minnesota and helped turn one of the NBA's most lacklustre franchises into a contender. He led the Timberwolves to eight straight post-season appearances - and seven first-round exits before a breakthrough to the Western Conference finals two years ago.

    Last season, the Timberwolves struggled over the first three months of the season under Saunders and ended up missing the playoffs under interim coach Kevin McHale.

    The Pistons don't have a big-time scorer on their roster like Saunders had with Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, but the cupboard is far from bare.

    Detroit expects to return the same starting lineup - guards Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, forwards Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince and centre Ben Wallace - that won the 2004 title and came within a game of a second straight crown last month.

    "When you have a team like we have right now, it's very important the person that you're handing the team over to is qualified and is going to have your respect from day one," said Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations. "I'm very comfortable, Mr. D (owner William Davidson) is very comfortable, we're all very, very comfortable handing the keys to this team over to Flip. We know he's up for the challenge."

    Saunders will be asked to maintain the production of the starting five while developing younger players like guards Carlos Arroyo and Carlos Delfino and post player Darko Milicic, the No. 2 overall pick in 2003 who failed to make great strides under Brown.

    Saunders said he feels qualified to work with younger players, considering his background as a coach at the junior college and college levels and in the CBA.

    "I think the number one thing with young players, you got to get them to play hard," Saunders said. "When you step on the court, they don't check your paycheque to see how much you make, and they don't check your ID to see how old you are."

    Saunders said he spoke with Billups - a former Minnesota player - for 45 minutes about the situation in Detroit.

    "Chauncey is a player I respect. He's a big-game player," Saunders said of Billups.

    Saunders was a candidate in recent weeks for vacant NBA coaching jobs in New York, Cleveland and Milwaukee, but he waited for the Pistons job to open up.

    "I was really fortunate in the past five months to wait and evaluate situations," Saunders said. "I was going to wait and find the right situation to walk into."

    There were financial factors that allowed Saunders to be patient - namely the Timberwolves' obligation to pay him more than $5 million for the upcoming season. His deal with Detroit will be worth four times that amount at a minimum, with incentives that could add more than $6 million.

    The Pistons also had an interest in former Seattle coach Nate McMillan, who decided not to wait out the proceedings between Brown and the Pistons and chose instead to take the head coaching job with the Portland Trail Blazers.

    Brown, meanwhile, has spoken with Knicks president Isiah Thomas as the first step in New York's courtship of the 64-year-old coach. Brown's agent, Joe Glass, said he expected his client to choose his next career move in a couple of weeks.

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  2. #2
    Foot Soldier
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    pistons are screwed
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  3. #3
    Dave's Towing
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    Nah ... the team itself is in good shape.

    Dumars wouldn't let then be screwed.
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