Yet Another Twist In Pistons’ Saga

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The finger pointing in Detroit won’t subside anytime soon.

It’s going to take someone’s departure — Rip Hamilton or John Kuester, whoever goes first, take your pick — before we get any sort of handle on what’s really going on in Mowtown.

Because as of right now, there are more conflicting reports than there is anything else emanating from pile of rubble that is this once proud franchise. Kuester has “lost the locker room,” per our very own David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com (above). That massive player revolt of the other day was actually just a perfect storm of events, highlighted by Hamilton’s one-man revolution. And at least one local scribe, Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News, asked for the players to apologize before Saturday night’s game against Utah for a stunt that others suggest never was:

They can call it whatever they want, but this was a players’ mutiny against Kuester, a decent guy but a poor leader. He’s not strong enough to be an NBA head coach and surely will be fired at some point, but the players’ power-play against a powerless coach is indefensible.

Those guys are permanently stained, unless they make a sincere move to address it. Here’s their one short-term shot: The players should take the microphone before tonight’s game against Utah at the Palace and apologize to the fans — however many are left — for poor decisions. Say they’re remorseful and they’d like to try to fix it. Then play as if their careers are at stake.

Of course, that’d require accepting some blame, and accountability sure is in limited supply these days. No, words don’t automatically heal, but the Pistons must realize they still have fans who’d like to cheer instead of boo all night.

The Pistons did knock off the Jazz with an inspired performance led by their youngsters and journeyman. Hamilton watched it all unfold in street clothes, same as he has much of this season.

It doesn’t take long to figure out which way the public sentiment is going. In some of the most trying times the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and folks all across the nation have seen in decades, few people will have sympathy for Hamilton’s plight. And we have the emails here at the hideout to prove it.

Still, you can’t help but wonder how things spiraled this far out of control in such a short period of time. Some say that Pistons boss Joe Dumars should have done something about this and is ultimately accountable. But as DA mentions above, his hands are tied as well, while the sale of the franchise continues to be negotiated.

Ultimately, the onus was on Hamilton to either play the part of loyal soldier, even if it made his skin crawl to do so, or the role of the stereotypical disgruntled NBA millionaire. He chose the latter and his image and reputation with Pistons fans will likely never recover, though we could see a time years from now, when the Pistons’ 2004 NBA title team is being celebrated, when all of this could be forgiven.

In the meantime, this dirty dance being played by both sides continues. The Pistons reportedly tried to move Hamilton so he could be bought out and eventually find his way to a contender in Boston, Chicago or wherever he desired. But he supposedly chose not to travel that path in an effort to preserve the millions he is owed on his current contract. Again, in trying times such as these, why should a millionaire be ridiculed for doing what we’d all do?

Still, his actions are indefensible, especially for a player that has meant as much to the franchise as he has in recent years. This leaves a stain of Hamilton’s legacy that will require more than just a little Resolve and a new address. He has taken aim at the very fabric of those Pistons teams he helped create.

“This is not how we do business here. I just want us to get back to Piston basketball — hard work, professionalism and character” Dumars said to Wojnowski and other reporters last night when asked about this situation, those being his only and brief words on the subject.

There’s also the matter of this Friday player protest that was or wasn’t. One of the men that broke the story fired back after the national reports suggesting that the entire thing was “overblown” made the rounds. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press provides his details of how things went down:

And uncovering this story didn’t take some level of great in-depth reporting. It went something like this:

Me: “What happened?”

Source: “You can see what’s going on.”

Me: “Nah. Enlighten me.”

And then the source, who asked not to be identified, started describing phone conversations about the protest. Another team source backed it up.

And then another source, while claiming no direct knowledge of Friday’s issues, said the team staged a protest after a loss before the All-Star break when players walked into the shower area while Kuester was giving a postgame talk.

If [Tayshaun] Prince, [Tracy] McGrady and [Ben] Wallace had excused absences, why were they held out of Friday’s game? McGrady was insistent he could have played and said no one told him he wouldn’t against the Sixers. And you definitely have to give Wallace a pass considering the tragic circumstances unfolding.

All Kuester would say was it’s an “internal matter.”

Considering all the other strife and feuding between the coach and players, it’s completely within the narrative for some type of player protest to occur.

The Kuester-Hamilton chapter took on an added element of nastiness Saturday when Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the reason Kuester benched Hamilton last month was because Hamilton berated him in front of the team during a practice.

My response? It’s true.

There is one certainty for this team: In less than two months, the ugliness will end. Because the season mercifully will.

The Pistons can only hope it’s that simple!

24 Comments

  1. Jazz44 says:

    Why doesn’t he bring more championships? I can tell you why, he is good but never a great player, too narrow minded.
    Again, thanks to Billups, for the glory.

  2. yungCaucasoid says:

    I think the article’s author, is a bold-faced liar. The sentiment is with R.I.P. around here, amongst Detroiters, because we see clear through Kuester’s antics. A man who brought us a championship vs. a inexperienced power-hungry moron?

    you do the math

    …and I won’t get into *the peculiar institution* that is reeking from most of you in here

  3. Rip Hamilton is horrible says:

    First of all, Joe Dumars just doesn’t know when to stop making bad decisions. Milicic, Ben Gordon, Charlie, TMac, etc. I mean all those players are good players, but they just dont fit.

    Secondly, Rip Hamilton is just horrible. Kuester could be a horrible coach, but he is still the Pistons coach. You don’t see disgruntled players doing what Rip did to his coach. And what a jerk, he should have left the team.

  4. Jazz44 says:

    Rip will be another TMac soon as his contract expired. Of course, it may get even more ugly since he went out of the line, poor atittude, under table tricks. A bad bad example for the younger players.

  5. Adan Martinez says:

    THis should’ve been kept private but RIP doens’t deserve to be treated like meat. Someone said he’s dissrespecting a orginaztion that gave him the opportunity to win a ring, its the opposite. He gave Detroit the opportunity, with out RIP, Prince, Billups or Wallace they never would’ve got that far. They were the ultimate “team” team…meaning aside from billups nothing spectacular but they plaid there hearts out for each other and coach they repected. RIP could still start on quite a bit of teams, but kuester is throwing a hissy fit because he got his fealing hurt when RIP ripped him one and is deciding to throw both his and RIPs carrer down the drain. Now Prince being a true friend, is being punished for Kuester arrogance. Grow up Piston orginization, drop kuester and play ball like we know you can. GO RIP!!! And this was a horrible one sided article, RIP isn’t doing anything wrong beside making it public, but even thats not 100 percent his fault.

  6. Lisa says:

    Why is everyone so quick to blame Rip he has given the Detroit organization his best and to get benched because of words is crazy. It all started with joe D being out of his mind and trading mr. Big Shot for mr no shot(A I). When that trade happened everything went down. You could see the moral of the team sink. I think that when the team do get sold Joe D and Kuester need a one way ticket out of town. Joe D has made his stain and the players and the organization has to pay for his mistake of thinking that AI was still the same AI of his better years ….SMH The players are use to winning and being the dominate team and that team that other teams feared to play. Can we say DO Over

  7. justin says:

    Rip Hamilton deserves better but cant leave or he’ll lose money- the pistons deserve better but cant spend-the coach deserves better. Honestly to get a win/win everybody needs to sit down and agree that everybody wants the best and explain the whole picture 360 degrees so everybody can understand each others role and feelings in this.

    However- I LOVE rip hamilton..he is an amazing player and to see him benched is so stupid. The roster is still a very good roster and to see the last few games drop to the lower teams is infuriating, especially when the team is firing on all cylinders they can beat anyone , just ask boston.

    So im saying Kuester must be on notice as well as Rip. How can a team have 3-5 players in double figures consistently and keep losing? Defense and trans, thats how. Now thats the coaches job to organise and drill..

    Where are the bad boys when you need them!?

  8. Quincy says:

    Hold on, Lets not jump the boat. I see people dissing Rip, John Kuester sucks as a coach. Its that simple, Hes one of the main reasons Detroit is a garbage squad now. Rip is standing back and letting the piston franchise fall apart to prove the damage Kuester is doing. Just my op Wallace had a family issue, Tayshaun Prince was ill. T-Mac offered to play but they STILL sat him out. If you have a small number of players you need as many players as you can get. May I bring an old memory. Michael Jordan was cleared to play with the flu. So why can’t todays players do the same?

  9. […] Pistons bounce back to get win over Jazz 120-116DigitalJournal.comThe Canadian Press -NBA.com (blog) -UPI.comall 855 news […]

  10. DtownBoi says:

    Wow. This a big mess that we won’t recover from for a while. F U rip. I used to worship you

  11. Dallasian says:

    …I have one word to tell you about Kuester.
    CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    KUESTER’S OUT OF HIS MIND! He thinks he can waltz into Detroit and start DESTROYING DETROIT! Seven years ago, Detroit was the best team in the NBA. Lebron was a rookie, and Kobe was a star. Hamilton’s legacy earned Detroit several NBA titles and he was a star. Then Kuester came in and tore Detroit down. What kind of a coach uses only six players in a game? T-Mac, Prince, and Wallace had reasoanble excuses for not being there. So why doesn’t Kuester use them? He’s being a stubborn idiot. I’m not surprised the Pistons’ players led a revolt. It’s time Karen Davidson (Or whoever owns the Pistons) fire him and get a coach that doesn’t disrespect the players. Don’t expect the respect you think you should get if you don’t respect the players. Without the players there isn’t a TEAM!!!

    • Jake says:

      One NBA title actually, but they did have a tremendous amount of success with Rip over the past seven years, five straight conference finals I think.

  12. […] win over Jazz 120-116DigitalJournal.comNBA Roundup: A look at Saturday's gamesThe Canadian PressNBA.com (blog) -UPI.com -ESPNall 855 news […]

  13. G Money says:

    Contract these bums

  14. Stephen says:

    Asiko and ddddd are on the right track. First of the Pistons ownership and Joe D have been screwing up for a while now. Rip has been a total profession for years–starting with the Michael Curry/AI situation. He’s taken the back seat, played off the bench despite being one of our best players, and then got a big slap in the face. He was benched permanently by Kuester without even a heads up! First off, that is a stupid decision basketball-wise. How can you justify not playing a guy like Rip–especially on a team like the Pistons! Second, Kuester needed to show the man more respect. If you are going to stop playing a guy who won a championship here, then you need to have a real conversation with him. Sit him down and tell him why you are going to make that decision.
    Rip shouldn’t have to take a buy-out. He is owed $25 million and it is his right to collect. Why should he take a cut when the problem is clearly this dysfunctional organization. As Asiko said, Rip doesn’t have to just shut up and do whatever he’s told. No employee should ever be forced to do so, whether you’re making minimum wage or millions. Everybody has the right to have their voice heard. And if the Pistons don’t like it, I guess they need to pay Rip his money and let him be on his way. More power to ya, Rip!

  15. ddddd says:

    This is a player with a championship pedigree, trying to call out management for saying basically what the rest of the world has been saying about the pistons since Chauncey Billups was traded to Denver. You screwed up, I am pissed, now fix it, instead of going the opposite direction like you have been the past 5 years!! It started with Billups obviously with their theory that Stuckey was the next Billups. Too young at that point to even be considered to be anywhere clpse to what Billups was and still is. Then it was the signing of BG and Charlie V without getting an adequate center when Wallace left. BG came at the wrong time as Rip was still in his prime at that point and kicking butt. Charlie V lacks in rebounding big time!!! The pistons did not get an adequate center until this year and Monroe is a rookie. Then the TMac signing was basically replicating half of the pistons roster. Granted I am a Tmac fan and I am glad someone gave him a chance and hes making the most of it, but from a management standpoint and looking through Rip Hamilton’s eyes I question that signing even.
    Maybe the way it was done had no class… but its about time someone called Kuester and the Pistons mismanagement out for what they are at this point. a jumbled up mess!!! Get the sale over with so that Joe D and other management can go on doing their jobs as they did before the chaos. Get rid of Kuester as he has lost the team and then hire a coach that wont take any crap on defense. Go Rip!

    • sym430 says:

      u think they can lure jerry sloan out of “retirement” after the sale…no nonsense defensive coach…

    • Dan says:

      Rip sux. If you look back in the big games it was Mr. Big Shot who made rip what he is. He was a punk in Washington and he’s a punk now. In between was Billups.

  16. sym430 says:

    Oh no…typo…
    This is just a BIG mess that should have been taken care of privately

  17. Ashiko says:

    I think it’s about time that NBA players stop acting like they have OWNERS!! They have extremely well paid jobs that they have worked their butts off for a very long period of time. Unlike other professions athletes have a very short shelf life. It’s not like being a doctor or lawyer who can work at their craft well after 40 years old. An ACL injury does not force a doctor or lawyer to retire. Why are athletes looked down upon when they are trying to negotiate the best salary they can along with the best working conditions. Isn’t that what professionals or anyone who has to work try to do? These men are the product and some seem to think that they should shut up and do whatever they are told to do, like other products in the market that are sold for profit in this society. When you stop looking at them as having OWNERS maybe you will start looking at them as professional men. Why should should anyone apologize to the people or persons who are disrespecting them?

    • IAGREE says:

      Yeap, you said it bro.

    • sym430 says:

      This is just a bid mess that should have been taken care of privately. Whatever happened to get this mess stirred up should have been stopped before it spilled over to the public arena. As you said…each of us us no matter what kind of work we do (cuz this is a job) deserve to be treated like a human…not property…and given respect. People are acting like Rip should just accept less money and walk away…why…would you…? Just because he makes a huge salary is no reason to leave HIS money on the table…he worked hard for the team (…and obviously had a good agent) to get that $$$.

      • Jake says:

        True, but it would help if he could handle this situation with a little more professionalism and and a little more respect for the organization that has paid him a lot of money and allowed him to win a championship.