We were all wrong. All of us who speculated that the Pistons' loss in Game 6 to Boston spelled the end of Flip Saunders' coaching life in Detroit were wrong.
Saunders met briefly with Pistons president Joe Dumars on Saturday and all indications are that he was told he will be back.
Understand that with the Pistons, a coach's job security can change in an instant, but as of today, the plan is for Saunders to finish out the final year of his contract. He's already working on next season. He will supervise a workout of draft candidates at the practice facility Wednesday.
If true, I'm not disappointed -- there aren't any available candidates to replace him that would make this decision a no-brainer, and he did exceed everyone's expectations by developing the bench in the regular season (he just forgot to use it in the playoffs ...)
As I said before, though, I'm nervous about a lame duck coach sharing the locker room with Rasheed Wallace, so this might seal the deal that Wallace is on his way out. That said, I'm wrong a lot, and Dumars tends to buck conventional wisdom in favor of staying trained on the big picture.
The Pistons won 59 games, the third-best record in franchise history. This isn't a time for rash decisions, and if teams interested in Wallace are only offering 50 cents on the dollar because they think Dumars is backed into a corner, well, it's just not going to happen. Either way, stay tuned. This will be interesting.
I was online this morning and read Chris' piece in the Detroit News today about the Pistons and Flip Saunders. It stated that Flip may be back after all after meeting with Joe Dumars over the weekend. I just don't see that happening. I know Flip may have told Chris that, and heck, maybe Saunders believes it, but I would be so stunned beyond stunned if he returned as coach. Whether you like Saunders or not, he has failed to get the team to where they need to go and Joe knows it, Scott Perry knows it and Mr D knows it. We all know it. Maybe Dumars told Flip he is not going to make a change right now and for him to continue on with drilling draft prospects in the next few weeks, but that still does not mean anything. It happens all the time in sports, the dreaded "vote of confidence" or "no move means status quo" bit..
Granted, it doesn't look like Dery has any sources, but WDFN is the flagship station of the Pistons, and unlike most talk radio guys spouting off from afar, Dery is at the arena every game and is as plugged in as most reporters.
2nd Update: A. Sherrod Blakely also remains unconvinced:
This season had a disappointing ending, just like Carlisle's final season did. Despite racking up a bunch of wins, Saunders found himself being second-guessed all season by fans publicly and players privately, just like Carlisle. And when Saunders left for the summer, he felt as though he would be back, just like Carlisle.
Not only did Carlisle expect to be back, but there were preliminary talks about a contract extension.
It's unclear if such discussions have taken place between the Pistons and Saunders, but returning without one would be difficult and awkward for all involved.
The difference, as Blakely goes on to note, is that Larry Brown, an unquestionably superior coach, became available. No such option exists on the market to replace Flip ... yet.