Yesterday, Chris McCosky was confident that Flip Saunders would stay put:
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.
After posting McCosky's comments, I eventually updated the post to include dissenting opinions from WDFN's Matt Dery and A. Sherrod Blakely. Interestingly enough, McCosky himself is already hedging his bets by backing off (excuse me, "clarifying") his comments in today's Detroit News:
What I wrote was true. Saunders and Pistons president Joe Dumars met Saturday. Saunders left with the understanding he was to carry on as coach.
I also wrote: "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."
Well, yeah, but he also boldly proclaimed "we were all wrong" by thinking that Flip would return, as well as that Saunders "was told he will be back." Silly us for believing that. So what did McCosky really mean?
Here's why I wrote that qualifying sentence. Saunders also knew when he left that meeting, Dumars had not yet discussed anything with Pistons owner Bill Davidson. Dumars is expected to meet with Davidson sometime this week.
If Davidson wants a coaching change, then a coaching change will be made. That's what happened in 2003 with Rick Carlisle. Dumars intended to bring Carlisle back. Davidson, though, was adamant he didn't want Carlisle to coach his team anymore.
Fortunately, Larry Brown became available and a smooth change was made.
Ah, now it makes sense. Apparently Davidson has a Steinbrenner-esque mean streak in him and doesn't actually trust his President of Basketball Operations to, you know, preside over operations pertaining to basketball.
Or ... perhaps in hindsight, after seeing how many people were taking his initial article as fact, McCosky regrets speaking so authoritatively, especially since he didn't cite a source (named or unnamed) to fall back on. Perhaps the only thing Saunders was told during his meeting with Dumars was to carry on as usual and that a final decision would be forthcoming.
Either way, McCosky has now backed himself into another corner: if Flip does get canned, it's because Davidson overruled Dumars' judgment. Who knew one of the most highly-regarded executives in all of basketball had such little power? Sigh.
I actually agree with the general tenor of McCosky's ensuing defense of Saunders, but making a bold prediction one day and feeling compelled to hedge the next without having the humility to say "I may have been wrong" or even "I may have been vague" is annoying. My reading comprehension is fine, thanks.