NBA: Pistons fire Saunders
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. ó Flip Saunders was fired as Detroit Pistons coach Tuesday, four days after his team was eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
President of basketball operations Joe Dumars said it’s “time for a new voice to lead our team.” Saunders had a year left on a four-year deal he signed in 2005. The decision comes three years after Saunders took over for Larry Brown, who led the Pistons to two straight NBA finals.
“Decisions like this are difficult to make, especially with the success we have had throughout the last three regular seasons,” Dumars said in a statement. “However, at this time, I feel it is necessary to make a change.”
A message left for Saunders on Tuesday was not immediately returned.
Saunders could be replaced by assistants Michael Curry or Terry Porter or perhaps former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.
In Saunders’ three seasons, the Pistons were 176-70 in the regular season and 30-21 in the postseason, but they lost in the Eastern Conference finals each year.
The Pistons have appeared in six straight conference finals, the first franchise to do so since the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. But they also are the second team in league history to lose in the round before the NBA finals three years in a row, joining the Celtics from 1953-55.