Lawrence Frank fired: Pistons coach saw it coming, concerned for assistants

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking to reporters Wednesday for the last time as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, Lawrence Frank sounded like a man who knew his fate -- and lamented how it might impact those of his assistants.

Lawrence Frank saw the writing on the wall. After winning just 29 games -- posting a lower winning percentage (.354) than he did during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season (.379) -- Frank seemed resigned to the fact that he wouldn't get a chance at a third season while talking to reporters Wednesday in Brooklyn. From Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News:

"Let's hope for the best," Frank said, "but we understand what reality could be. There's dialogue there so we'll see what happens.

"I got a great deal of respect for my superiors. When you sign up for stuff like this, and when you sign up for something like this, it doesn't matter how you want things to be handled. I got a ton of respect for Tom Gores, he's first-class. Whatever decision he makes, when he makes it, I'll respect it."

Despite being fired Thursday, Frank is secure: the Pistons are still on the hook for $3.7 million in 2013-14. And to be frank (sorry, bad pun intended), he'll likely earn more: Frank is well-spoken and extremely smart, meaning there's a good chance he'll slide into a job as a TV talking head should he have interest.

As for his assistants, that's another matter. NBA assistant coaches often don't receive guaranteed contracts, and their annual salary is usually a small fraction of the head coach and players sitting next to them.

"Anytime your job falls into question, especially as the head coach, the number one concern is for your staff," said Frank. "Financially, it's a different deal. Families, they move them. When you sign up for this job, you know what the potential consequences are. You gotta accept them and move on. You always think of (the assistants) first because you know the sacrifices they make."

While circumstances could have better for Frank -- he apparently hinted at "locker-room dysfunction" left over from the John Kuester era, and he inherited a youth movement that was still very much a work in progress -- don't feel bad for him.

Instead, feel bad for Brian Hill, John Loyer, Roy Rogers, Dee Brown, Charles Klask and the rest of his staff. They'll get another job someday (perhaps even staying in Detroit), but they won't know their future for sure until after the NBA's annual game of coaching musical chairs ends and newly hired head coaches around the league reach out.

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