First of all, I'd like to thank Matt from Blog A Bull and Sean Yuille from Pride of Detroit for posting the news on Michael Curry's firing. I can't begin to describe how frustrating today has been for me as I was moving out of my apartment, my internet was disconnected, and my laptop was packed up. I was not a happy camper that I could not break the news to you as soon as I found out. I will say, the move probably went faster with me knowing I wanted to get on here and post for you as soon as possible. I was very fortunate to have loyal fellow SB Nation bloggers here to back me up to get the discussion rolling.
The firing of Michael Curry came as somewhat of a shock to me. Not only was I mid-duck tape of a box, but I was getting pumped for free agency negotiations to begin tomorrow. The last thing I was expecting from the Pistons camp was the head coach being fired.
I was in the very small minority of people who were relatively excited when Michael Curry was hired last year. I thought maybe his hard work as a player, respect from peers as the president of the NBA Players Association, and knowledge of the game would translate nicely. After this season, I've been in the even smaller minority of people not calling for his head. I obviously don't think he did a great job, but I also don't think he had a fair chance as he was dealing with the same group of guys who haven't been able to get the job done (winning a championship) the past four seasons and who have seemingly run into a wall of complacency. I figured Dumars saw that too and would give him a second chance, one with fresh faces and a renewed attitude.
That appeared to be the case as Dumars announced in May that Curry was still his man. Dumars also admitted that Curry battled a lot of adversity in his first year as head coach, enough that it wouldn't be fair to fire him. However, something changed over the course of the past month and Dumars clearly changed his mind.
I understand the firing, but what I'm trying to comprehend is the timing. (No, I'm not wondering "why now?" just because I was moving today and couldn't read up on it as soon as it happened and post for you; I'd still be wondering the same thing.)
Recently, the press leaked, that Curry had no grasp of the locker room, which I'm sure came as no shock to Pistons fans. Players disrespected him by undermining his authority and ultimately, didn't lay it all on the line for him in games. It also surfaced that Curry notified Richard Hamilton of his mid-season benching in front of the whole team and that their relationship deteriorated from there with Rip often talking about how bad Curry was as a player (low blow and perhaps irrelevant), implying he didn't know what he was talking about as a coach. Curry also mentioned that the major reason the Pistons were so bad on Sundays dealt with what they were doing on Saturday nights, suggesting players stayed out late rather than being in their beds dreaming about winning the next day.
Dumars spoke at the draft on how he was going to put an end to all the drama that occurred this past season. With Dumars confirming that Curry would be back for a second season, the drama involving Hamilton and the team surfacing, and Dumars' comments on draft night anyone probably would have guessed that Rip and other players were as good as packing their bags this off-seaon. That's obviously not the case.
It makes me wonder a few things. Does the publicity of all the bad things that went on this year make Curry look bad to potential free agents, to the extent that they may not sign with the Pistons? Or did something drastic happen since Dumars comments in May that forced Dumars to change his mind? Perhaps Dumars meant what he said in May about Curry and was trying to get rid of Rip, but no teams were biting. Therefore, Dumars had to ultimately make a tough decision on Curry knowing Rip might be back again with the PIstons.
I have to believe that Dumars knew about all this so called drama before today, though. If Curry really didn't have a handle on things inside the locker room and within the huddle during time outs, how was this decision any different back in May, when he confirmed Curry would be back for a second season, from now, the day before negotiations can begin with free agents.
I agree that if Curry was going to make it tough for the Pistons to sign free agents or trade for players then Dumars had to part ways with him. However, wasn't this just as relevant in May after the season ended? I also believe that it might still be tough to convince free agents to come to Detroit when there's no coach currently in place. I agree that ultimately it may have been tougher with Curry than without him, but if the Pistons would have fired Curry back in May, a replacement coach would most likely already be in place and this would be a moot issue. There are a lot of reasons we could speculate on.
In the end, I understand the ultimate decision made by Dumars and I'm on board, but the timing still baffles me a little.