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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pistons ax coach Curry one season into tenure

DETROIT (AP) All or nothing seems to be the formula for coaching the Detroit Pistons. Bring home an NBA championship or hit the road.

News photo
Michael Curry

First-year coach Michael Curry became the latest Pistons coach to get the ax as president for basketball operations Joe Dumars fired him Tuesday after watching his team stumble to a sub-.500 record and an embarrassing first-round exit from the playoffs.

But winning playoff games hasn't been enough to keep Pistons management happy. Just ask Flip Saunders.

Dumars fired Saunders last season after he led the team to the Eastern Conference finals in each of his three seasons. Curry was an assistant under Saunders for one season.

In 2005, the Pistons parted ways with Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown after he helped them win a title and almost repeat during his two years with the team. And Rick Carlisle was fired after two years with the Pistons following a conference finals appearance in 2003 in his second season and NBA Coach of the Year honors in his first.

Curry and Dumars shared playing days together with Detroit. That may have helped Curry land the coaching job last year, but it wasn't enough to keep him in it.

The Pistons went 39-43 in 2008-09 and were swept in the postseason in four lopsided losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers after six straight conference finals appearances. Dumars said after that series that Curry would return, but changed his mind by Tuesday.

"This was a difficult decision to make," Dumars said in a statement. "I want to thank Michael for his hard work and dedication to the organization. However, at this time, I have decided to make a change."

Pistons spokesman Kevin Grigg said the timetable for naming a new coach was up in the air.

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