AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Detroit Pistons fired Lawrence Frank on Thursday after he spent two seasons unsuccessfully trying to revive the struggling franchise.
The team announced one day after the Pistons lost at Brooklyn to finish the season 29-53.
“We thank Lawrence for his hard work and dedication, but we feel it is in the best interest of the franchise to make a change at this time,” team president Joe Dumars said. “Decisions like this are never easy and we wish Lawrence well in the future.”
Frank went 54-94 in two seasons with Detroit. He took over before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, and the rebuilding Pistons have been slow to improve despite drafting in the lottery the last three years.
This is a big offseason for the Pistons, who traded veterans Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince in the last year and have a decent amount of space under the salary cap.
Owner Tom Gores, who took over just before Frank was hired, said earlier this week he expected better results this season and was still assessing the future of both Frank and Dumars.
Detroit remained in title contention in the years immediately following its 2004 NBA championship, but the decline has been sharp. After Flip Saunders was fired in 2008, Michael Curry lasted only one season as coach and John Kuester made it through two.
Frank lost 20 of his first 24 games with the Pistons after the lockout, but Detroit was more competitive toward the end of the 2011-12 season and had reason to hope the worst was over.
Instead, the Pistons lost their first eight games this season. They were playing better by early January, but they slipped again after they lost promising rookie Andre Drummond for an extended stretch because of a back injury.
Detroit went 1-13 in March. Frank missed six games that month because his wife fell seriously ill and he returned to New Jersey.
This was Frank’s ninth season as a head coach in the NBA. He got his start with the New Jersey Nets in 2003-04 at age 33 and spent seven seasons coaching the Nets.