DETROIT - The Pistons fired coach John Kuester yesterday, 4 days after Tom Gores completed an agreement to buy the team from Karen Davidson.
Kuester was 57-107 over two seasons with Detroit, which failed to make the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since missing the playoffs three straight times from 1993-95. This past season was a dreary one, with the proud franchise making more news for internal squabbling than any on-court accomplishments.
"Decisions like this are difficult to make," team president Joe Dumars said. "I want to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last 2 years. However, at this time, we have decided to make a change."
The Pistons won their third NBA championship in 2004, part of a 6-year streak in which the team reached at least the conference finals, but the Pistons went 27-55 in 2009-10 and 30-52 last season.
Kuester was hired in 2009 after two seasons as an assistant with Cleveland. He was a member of Larry Brown's championship-winning staff in 2004 with the Pistons, but his familiarity with at least some of the players was of little help as the team began to look increasingly dysfunctional late in his tenure.
Kuester and Richard Hamilton had a falling out that sent the veteran to the bench for most of a 7-week stretch. The two appeared to be on better terms toward the end of the season, but there was plenty of other drama.
Every healthy player started at least one game this season, and all except Ben Gordon received at least one DNP-Coach's Decision. The low point was probably Feb. 25 in Philadelphia. Seven players missed at least part of a team shootaround, and Kuester played only the remaining six that night in a blowout loss to the 76ers.