Tag:John Kuester
Posted on: February 28, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Dumars backs coach Kuester after Pistons protest

Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars has issued a statement of support for coach John Kuester. Posted by Ben Golliver. kuester-dumars

It has been a rocky week for the Detroit Pistons, after reports surfaced that multiple players skipped shootaround as a protest against coach John Kuester last Friday. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported over the weekend that the team fined both Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox for their unexecused absences, and then video surfaced of multiple players laughing when Kuester was ejected from Friday night's game. 

On Monday, Pistons president Joe Dumars moved to tamp down the drama, issuing a statement of support for Kuester.
“First of all, John Kuester has my full support as we try to make a push towards the postseason over these last 21 games.  We’ve had a long and proud history of being a first class organization that handles its business the right way.  We expect everyone that represents the Detroit Pistons to do so in a first class manner and that will continue as we move forward.”
Also, on Monday, the Associated Press reported that Hamilton and Kuester have apparently patched things up. 
Detroit's Richard Hamilton says he met with coach John Kuester recently in an effort to repair their relationship. Hamilton wouldn't specify when he and Kuester spoke. He took passes from the coach while shooting at the end of practice Monday.
Dumars' hands are likely tied by ongoing ownership uncertainty, as negotiations for the sale of the team continue to drag on. While cutting ties with Kuester was the most obvious play, that's easier said than done because it puts his successor in a tough spot, knowing that the players were able to bully their coach out of a job.

Really, this statement reads like someone trying to buy time. In effect: Let's just get through this season and figure things out this summer. You can almost hear Dumars counting down those last 21 games, can't you? 21 ... 20 ... 19 ... 18 ...  

One thing was obvious: Dumars had to act to stop the endless onslaught of negative headlines. It's not clear whether this statement of support will accomplish anything meaningful, but it should ease tensions in the short-term. That's better than nothing.
Posted on: February 26, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 3:26 am
 

Rip Hamilton's messed up situation

The Pistons are imploding and at the center of it all is Rip Hamilton as reports continue to fly about the meltdown in Motor City. Yes, that is the best lede we could come up with.

Posted by Matt Moore


Following Ken Berger's report of the Pistons' decision to fine Chris Wilcox and Rip Hamilton, and not to fire John Kuester for the moment, we're starting to get a picture of a strangely torn and bizarre locker room, with Rip Hamilton at the center of it. Here's what we know, or at least, what we think we know. Bear with us, because at this point trying to figure out the Pistons is like spelunking in a sewer: 


  • Berger confirms a Yahoo! report that in January, Hamilton went on an "explitive-filled diatribe" in front of the locker room, alleging Kuester had done nothing in his time in Detroit, and that he was nothing more than a career assistant coach. Now, Yahoo! makes a leap and says that the younger players were shocked by the tirade.  Except that Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye probably fit in that model of young players and yet they were part of Hamilton's "cabal" or whatever you want to call it. In reality, it appears immensely more likely that the locker room was surprised at Hamilton going off, but agreed. 
  • If true, it certainly paints Hamilton in a clear light as the source of all this discontent. His tirade led to his benching, he's refused to communicate with his coach or GM, and now this boycott/protest/whatever it was. If Hamilton was offered an out and turned it down because of the $9 million.  Now, $9 million is a lot of money. But when you factor in the contract money he'd pull from another contender, the playoff revenue he'd pull in, and future earnings, the payoff may not make up the $9 million, but it makes it nearly negligible. It doesn't change the fact that the Pistons agreed to pay Hamilton the remaining $25 million when he signed the latest contract with them.  But it removes Hamilton's ground to stand on, since the Pistons have offered him a reasonable way out, especially considering their financial and ownership situation.  Instead, Hamilton seems to be waging a players' revolt against the organization to undermine the coach, regardless of whether ownership can afford to fire Kuester in this situation or not. 
  • Making it even more complicated is part of the ESPN report which claims that an earlier boycott was planned prior to All-Star weekend, but after management assurances Kuester would be fired over the weekend, they backed down. Until Friday. 

So now Hamilton is still trying to work a buyout, which Berger terms as "unlikely" while the Pistons are in complete disarray, the coaching staff has no control over its players, management can't make decisions because of an ownership situation in flux, and ownership can't get out fast enough, requesting an extension from the league to finally get the team passed to new ownership. 

Things are bad in Cleveland. They're bad in Sacramento. They're bad in New Orleans.

You could argue they're worse in Detroit. 

Posted on: February 26, 2011 1:25 am
Edited on: February 26, 2011 1:55 am
 

The Pistons should be declared a disaster zone

Posted by Matt Moore

This is it. This is rock bottom. It cannot get worse than this, right? Doesn't matter if they're winning or losing, this is the very bottom of the professionalism barrel.  There are ruins, there is rubble, and there's the Detroit Pistons

Hours after four veteran players staged a protest sleep-in , and were summarily benched, things hit a new low. First, Kuester was ejected in the Pistons' loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia tonight. And the players responded as you'd expect professionals to. By laughing. 




Ugh. 

To top it off, Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press is reporting that before the All-Star break, the players walked to the shower postgame while Kuester was talking. Double ugh. 

Okay, long story, short story. 

Short story: The only victims here are the fans of the Pistons, who don't deserve this. Any of it. 

Long story: Kuester has been losing his players for a year and a half.  There have been clashes since the beginning, along with losses piling up. The biggest questions surround Rip Hamilton and his benching this season. On the outside it appears like Hamilton is just a petulant player struggling to accept he's no longer the star he once was. But combined with all the other stories of unrest, it certainly seemed like there was a pattern to suggest that Kuester was at least partially responsible for the chemistry problems.

But this?

It's unproffessional. To a ridiculous degree. You're not happy? Fine. Voice it to management. Or the press. Or on Twitter.  But don't stoop to what you consider to be his level by resorting to childish, immature behavior that will follow you wherever you look to go for the short remainders of your careers.  It's inexcusable, and the Pistons need to suspend and/or fine the players for their behavior. Regardless of what they decide to do with Kuester, the players have to be held accountable, because you can't run a team like this. 

But. 

To make John Kuester into a victim here is to deny a pattern of unrest among the players and a disturbing deviation from the norm. There are those that stipulate it was Tayshaun and Rip's attitudes that helped lead to all the coaching turnover of the past seven years. But there's a huge gap between being difficult, and veteran guys who at the very least were known as hard workers. To not come to work is the nuclear option. To engage in this kind of behavior goes above and beyond desperate measures. The Pistons are only six games out of the playoffs, but they're also 18-29 (yes, the middle of the East is still terrible), and there have been multiple questionable moves by Kuester. 

Consider it this way.  If you're an executive, and employees who have helped your company for close to a decade all of a sudden start engaging in completely inappropriate behavior in response to their manager, you're going to punish them.  You can't just let the example stand that it's okay not to respect the company and it's management. But at the same time, you're definitely going to want to examine the manager to see why it is his employees are the ones behaving in this manner. You have to look at the whole picture while reacting responsibly. 

But at the heart of this? This is on Joe Dumars. He didn't move Rip Hamilton last year when he still had trade value despite the acquisition of Ben Gordon. He didn't move Tayshaun Prince despite his trade value. And he was completely silent at the deadline, despite needing to make moves badly. Maybe it's the ownership situation, still in flux. But the situation is untenable. One way or another, Dumars has to step in now. 

It's not just time. It's past time.

We'll see what's left of the Pistons when all of this is over. Though we do support John Schuhmann of NBA.com's idea for Elizabeth Shue from "Adventures in Babysitting" to step in.
Posted on: February 25, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Pistons skip shootaround to protest coach Kuester

Five members of the Detroit Pistons skipped shootaround on Friday. Posted by Ben Golliver. rip-hamilton

The Detroit Pistons have been a disaster all season, and after the organization failed to move any of its disgruntled veterans prior to Thursday's trade deadline, five players staged a "protest" by skipping practice on Friday, according to the Detroit News.
Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox did not show up to Friday's morning shootaround. Ben Wallace also wasn't present, but has been dealing with an ongoing family matter for the past several weeks.
The players have not been happy with their coach, seemingly all season, for the way he communicates, among other reasons they've given.
A team's spokesperson provided (suspicious) medical excuses for McGrady and Prince, but had no explanation for why Wilcox and Hamilton missed shootaround. Additionally, Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey showed up late, according to the paper.

Detroit's coach, John Kuester, has had his fair share of battles this season. Hamilton said he was "offended" by how Kuester handled his minutes while Prince said his moves were "buffoonery." He's clearly not cut out for managing this drama.

But even if your coach is terrible and in way over his head, there is no excuse for simply deciding not to show up to work. Certainly Pistons president Joe Dumars will need to discipline those who protested, unless he's joined his players and his fanbase by being past the point of caring anymore.

The Pistons, or whichever portion of the Pistons decides to show up, face off against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 PM Friday night.
Posted on: February 2, 2011 2:55 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 2:55 pm
 

Rip Hamilton also ignoring Joe Dumars

Rip Hamilton has shut off talks with Dumars as well as Kuester as disgruntled wing's situation worsens. 
Posted by Matt Moore

As the Rip turns...

Okay, so last we left the Rip Hamilton saga, Hamilton was simply not playing, and Ken Berger deemed the relationship to seem "irreparable." That seemed to be the source of the conflict, and Hamilton isn't the only player having issues with Kuester in Detroit. Well, Hamilton's still not playing, but now from Pistons.com comes a revealing element. Hamilton apparently is refusing to talk to Joe Dumars as well, which is a whole other level of dysfunction. From a Q&A with Piston.com's Keith Langlois:

Jessica (Detroit): Why doesn’t somebody with the Pistons, either John Kuester or Joe Dumars, sit down with Rip Hamilton and talk to him about why he’s not playing? Rip has suggested that he sees it as a lack of respect. Doesn’t he deserve better after all he’s done for the Pistons?
Langlois: It isn’t accurate to say that no one has talked to Rip, Jessica, despite the perpetuation of that portrayal. Rip has been quoted as saying that no one has told him anything. If that’s true in the strictest technical sense, it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the reality. He had not responded to requests to talk, by both Joe Dumars and John Kuester, as of late last week, since being taken out of the rotation. He has been given many chances to sit down and talk about his current situation. He had taken part in conversations with Joe D, at least, in between the times he was removed from the starting lineup and the recent move to take him out of the rotation. Dumars has had numerous conversations, as well, with Rip’s agent, Leon Rose, who has been apprised of the situation on a regular basis. I’m not sure what more should be expected of reasonable adults.

 via PISTONS: Pistons Mailbag - Monday, January 31, 2011.

Well, then. Not talking to your coach who hasn't exactly lit the league on fire and has alienated half of his roster is one thing. But ignoring the GM who helped build a title around you is a wholly different one. Even if Hamilton has legitimate beef with how the Pistons have handled his situation, and he does, not talking to your GM is only going to exacerbate the situation. Hamilton was at least a marginally sympathetic figure to fans and observers before, having to deal with a coach who doesn't value your play when you've given so much to the franchise.  But if he's making things so difficult for Dumars by not even speaking with him, he's ruining whatever credit he has left and is ruining his trade value. 

If there's any value at all. 

As Ken Berger noted in the Post-Ups above, Hamilton simply doesn't have any value on the open market. His contract is too long and too large for a player of his diminished talents. The only hope for the Pistons to avoid a buyout is to find someone desperate for a wing upgrade. But with Hamilton so clearly sabotaging the Pistons' efforts for whatever selfish reason, the Pistons will have zero leverage with interested teams who know they will get a shot at him after a buyout should things continue on this path. 

Things have gone from bad, to worse, to ugly, to horrific for the Pistons and Hamilton relationship. How much worse is it going to get?
Posted on: January 24, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Pistons' Hamilton 'offended' by coach Kuester

Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton says he is "offended" by how he's been treated by coach John Kuester. Posted by Ben Golliver. rip

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton is unhappy with his situation and with coach John Kuester. If this sounds familiar, it's because Hamilton has done a superb job of letting everyone know exactly how upset he has been recently. Back in December, he didn't go through a Pistons practice. Earlier this month, he was benched and then went off on Kuester after the game, only to be benched again and again as trade rumors involving Hamilton being moved to the New Jersey Nets swirled. 

On Monday, the Detroit Free Press reported that Hamilton says he feels "offended" because Kuester did not approach him directly to iron out their differences, instead relying on an intermediary.
Hamilton told the Free Press on Sunday morning that Kuester's attempt to reach out to him consisted of Jerry Hendon, the team's security head, coming to him a minute before the team was meeting to go over strategy for Saturday's game with Phoenix to tell him Kuester wanted to talk to him.
"I felt offended that he sent Jerry instead of coming himself or sending an assistant coach," Hamilton said. "I could tell Jerry was uncomfortable and I said no."
He didn't say how or when, but Kuester told the media Saturday evening that he tried to make a connection with his shooting guard. Hamilton hasn't played in seven games since becoming the subject of trade talks with New Jersey and Denver and lost his starting position to Rodney Stuckey.
"We made overtures and one of the things that's important is he is somebody that's on our team now," Kuester said before Saturday's game. "We know that and we've reached out to him."
One thing is self-evident: These two guys are badly in need of a conflict mediator. 

When you're upset and feeling disrespected, as Hamilton clearly is, it's easy to perceive every minor incident as a slight, projecting negative motivations upon the source of your anger or frustration.

Generally speaking, Kuester doesn't owe Hamilton much of anything. He's the coach, his playing time and rotations decisions are final, and he's charged with managing the egos and personalities of an entire team, not cow-towing to an individual player, even if its a respected veteran. 

With that said, Kuester isn't faultless here, by any means. He knew weeks ago that he was going to make a season-shifting decision in his use of Hamilton.  That he didn't convey that news directly, respectfully and in a fully explained manner to begin with led to the hurt feelings that continue to manifest weeks later. Given how obviously upset Hamilton has become, Kuester really had two choices: reach out directly to Hamilton to squash the beef, or keep him away from the team indefinitely until he calms down.

That he sloppily attempted a middle road turns this into a "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" situation. Kuester needs to re-assert his authority or the headlines will continue.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:21 am
Edited on: January 13, 2011 12:35 am
 

Pistons' Hamilton, Prince go off after loss

Detroit Pistons veterans Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince teed off after Hamilton received a DNP-CD on Wednesday night for the first time during his Pistons career . Posted by Ben Golliver.

Back in November, we described the Detroit Pistons locker room as a house divided, where young players and veterans didn't mix much, and where frustration ruled the roost. As rumors regarding an ownership sale continue to swirl and the team finds itself in the middle of mega trade rumors this week, the toxic atmosphere is only getting worse.

On Wednesday, the Pistons lost to the Memphis Grizzlies at home, 107-99, and veteran guard Richard Hamilton unexpectedly received a DNP-CD. As you might imagine, he wasn't too thrilled, and neither was his 2004 NBA title-winning teammate Tayshaun Prince. Following the loss, Hamilton implied that he was disrespected and Prince apparently took issue with the intelligence of Pistons coach John Kuester. 

MLive.com quoted Hamilton saying that the DNP-CD caught him by surprise. 
“Tonight was a different situation,” he said. “This is probably the first time in my career that, when I put on a jersey, I didn’t play. I really can’t answer that right now. All I know is as long as I put that jersey on, I’m going to go out and play hard and be ready when my number’s called.”
“I came to the game with my same routine, that I was going to play,” Hamilton said. “Nobody warned me or told me anything. I just came out ready to play the game. “I was definitely surprised. Do I think it was a level of disrespect or unfair or anything like that? I’ll leave that to y’all.”
"Buffoonery. Do you all know what that means?" Prince reportedly added regarding the decision, according to the Detroit News on Twitter.  

The Detroit News also noted that Hamilton "stood away from his teammate during timeout, talking with longtime teammate Ben Wallace," during the game.

Kuester only said that Hamilton's benching was a coaching decision, according to the Detroit News. "We shortened the rotation and changed the lineup. That was it. Everybody's gotten a chance."

Hamilton's name has surfaced regularly in the Carmelo Anthony trade talks, and the Pistons were reportedly ready to send him to the New Jersey Nets for Troy Murphy. The deal was contingent upon Denver agreeing to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Nets, though, and those talks fell apart earlier this week. 

Hamilton's situation is a frustrating limbo for any player to be in, especially one who has known much better days, is nearing the end of his career and understands that his role going forward is only going to diminish. For Hamilton, the Nets represent hope and change, if you can believe it.

With the loss, the Pistons fell to 12-26 on the season. They are currently in fourth place in the Central Division.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:32 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 5:16 pm
 

John Kuester may need new scouting reports


Posted by Matt Moore

This is going to come across like I think all coaches should have an encyclopedic knowledge of all 15ish players on all other 29 teams beyond their own. Not at all. But John Kuester may not have done his homework to the degree best of his ability. From the Detroit Free Press after Kevin Martin logged 15 free throws in the Rockets' 97-83 win over the Pistons, Kuester lobbed this quote out there: 
"I'm amazed Kevin Martin could get that many free throws," Kuester said. "I never knew he was a post player. We have to work through those things. The mental composure has to come through."
Okay, well, maybe that did come out of nowhere. 

Or, maybe not. 

Take it away, Ziller!
For the record, Martin's 15 FTAs on Tuesday don't register among his career top 20 free throw performances. Martin has had at least 20 free throws in a game four times, and at least 15 in 32 games. This wasn't exactly a fluke.

What's more, Kuester coached against Martin three times last season; Martin averaged more than nine free throw attempts a game in those contests, and had 12 in one of the matches.

Even more ridiculous? Kuester was a top assistant with the Cavaliers in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season. Martin, then with the Kings, played against Cleveland three times. His free throw totals in those games: 14, 17 and 18. So in the last three seasons, Martin had averaged 12.8 free throws a game against Kuester's teams, and yet Kuester is amazed -- amazed -- Martin could get 15 in one game.
 via Pistons Coach John Kuester Is Not An Expert On Kevin Martin, Possibly The NBA - From Our Editors - SBNation.com.

So just to review: 
 
John Kuester was amazed that Kevin Martin, who is a premier scorer in this league, was surprised that Kevin Martin did something he has done nearly each time he's played, and in particular each time he's played against a Kuester-coached team. Martin is a tricky, crafty player with good length and excellent ball fakes. It's hardly a wonder that he was able to pull in that many freebies. 

Just sayin', Coach. Should have saw this coming. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com