Michael Curry will be the Detroit Pistons' head coach next season after only 1 year as an assistant. Curry is set be introduced as Detroit's coach at a news conference today, Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars told the

Associated Press

.

Dallas Mavericks guard Jerry Stackhouse, who played with Curry in Detroit, said Curry was like a player-coach during his career on the court.

"It was just a matter of time," Stackhouse said a telephone interview with the AP yesterday. "Everybody who knew Michael from his playing days knew this is where he would end up.

"He's going to do great for Detroit because he already has great rapport with those players, who will give him a different kind of respect because he played in the league."

Curry was an assistant last season in Detroit under for Flip Saunders, who was fired last week.

The Pistons and Curry agreed on a 3-year deal worth $2.5 million a season.

Curry, 39, played with Dumars more than a decade ago and with current Pistons Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince during the 2002-03 season. He also played with Detroit center Rasheed Wallace in Washington.

Curry might not coach all of those players next season because Dumars publicly put his whole team, other than Rodney Stuckey, on the trading block last week when he fired Saunders.

In other coaching news:

* Vinny Del Negro has been offered the Chicago Bulls' head- coaching job, according to a person within the league familiar with the situation. An official announcement, which could come this week, would end a nearly 2-month search that included courtships of Mike D'Antoni and Doug Collins. Del Negro, the assistant general manager of the Phoenix Suns, has never been a head coach. *