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Reports: Lawrence Frank, Detroit Pistons agree on 3-year contract

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Several outlets are reporting the same thing, but I'll give Vinnie Goodwill of the Detroit News the blockquote honors:

The Pistons have reached a formal agreement with Lawrence Frank to become their new head coach, according to a source.

The source requested anonymity because Frank has not been introduced by the team as the new coach.

Everybody reporting the news -- from Goodwill, to the Freep's Michael Rosenberg, to Y!'s Adrian Wojnarowksi -- agrees that Frank will receive a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth. Woj actually takes this one step further, reporting the fourth year could become fully guaranteed if certain incentives are met.

Woj also makes another interesting claim, stating that Frank, and not former Hawks coach Mike Woodson, has been the clear-cut favorite of both Dumars and Tom Gores since Frank's first interview. This directly contradicts ESPN's Marc Stein's report from earlier this month that Dumars wanted Woodson and Tom Gores and his Platinum Equity partners preferred Frank. Perhaps it's revisionist history, or perhaps it's another shade of gray. But for now, it doesn't matter.

The Free Press spoke to Woodson this afternoon to get his reaction:

"I’m not disappointed; it’s not about that. Obviously, it was a place I was familiar with the surroundings and the people back in 2004. It would’ve made my transition a lot easier. It wasn’t meant to be. I can’t lose any sleep over this. It was a job I was looking forward to jumping into, but it didn’t work out. All I can do is wish him the best and keep moving."

As for the rest of the coaching staff, Frank is already making calls. Again, from Woj:

Frank has already started talking to possible assistant coaches and seeking permission to talk to assistants employed with other teams. Frank plans to bring Boston Celtics assistant Roy Rogers, and will consider the possibility of retaining his former assistant in New Jersey, Brian Hill, who is a holdover from John Kuester’s staff in Detroit.

Pat Sullivan, who served under Michael Curry and John Kuester, also has history with Frank, serving as one of his assistants for three seasons in New Jersey from 2005-08. Sullivan told Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press that he's already been in touch with Frank:

"I texted him when I heard and he said he got my message and that he'd be in touch," said Sullivan, who is hoping to be named to Frank's staff.

"Lawrence's biggest strength is probably his preparedness. The fact that he leaves no stone unturned. I think that's probably the biggest thing for him. ... He watches a lot of film. He's a very good teacher. He's a good communicator with the guys. I think those things are going to help him."

Last but not least: One of the reasons that Woodson was considered a frontrunner for so long was his previous experience with Dumars as an assistant coach under Larry Brown in 2004. As it happens, Frank has a connection with another member of Detroit's front office, although not one nearly as visible.

Frank's coaching career "started" at Indiana University under Bob Knight, where he served as the student manager for four seasons until graduating in 1992. His final season coincided with the arrival just preceded (fixed!) that of George David, who served as a student assistant under Knight from 1992-96 and is now, of course, the Pistons director of player personnel. (I have to credit Matt Dery (@deryNBA) for making this connection known to me via this retweet.) I have no idea how much of a factor Frank and David's shared Hoosier connection played in Detroit's, but I can't imagine it hurt.

Digging even deeper: after leaving Indiana, Frank spent several years working under Kevin O'Neill, first at Marquette and then at Tennessee. O'Neill, if you recall, would eventually join Rick Carlisle's staff in Detroit in 2001. After that, Frank's first exposure to the NBA came as an assistant for three years working under Brian Hill with the Vancouver Grizzlies. And now Hill is crossing his fingers that Frank will give him a job. It comes full circle.

My (long, rambling) point? I'm not sure I have one, aside from noting that Dumars and Frank have worked with a lot of the same people over the years. If there were any red flags with hiring Frank, Dumars had ample time to ask around and find them.