Could a reunion of the Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” be on the horizon for the troubled franchise?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a time machine available to bring back Bill Laimbeer and Isiah Thomas in their prime to help this team return to the playoffs but both are reported to be under consideration by former teammate Joe Dumars to fill the head coaching spot after the long-expected dismissal last Sunday of John Kuester. a
According to ESPN who cites “league sources”:
Thomas served as the New York’s president in a controversial reign from 2003-2008 that left him among the most hated sports figures in recent New York history.
That is not the case, however, in Detroit, where Thomas led the Pistons to back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. Widely regarded as the greatest player in franchise history, the Hall of Famer could return to a club that has suffered through three straight losing seasons.
While Thomas’ performance in the Knicks’ front office left much to be desired, he has enjoyed success as a coach. He led the Indiana Pacers to three consecutive playoff appearances from 2000-2003 and helped develop Jermaine O’Neal, Jalen Rose and Ron Artest into stars. It’s that success with young players that has the Pistons intrigued, according to sources.
Also included on the shortlist of coaches that the Pistons are mulling over is former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Woodson and Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Kelvin Sampson.
While rumors won’t go away of Thomas, the current coach of Florida International University, attempting a comeback with the New York Knicks, there is apparently disagreement over whether he actually has a shot at the Pistons job or not. SI’s Chris Mannix tweeted Wednesday that a high ranking league source claimed, “that’s not happening.”
Even before Kuester was officially let go, Thomas was quoted by Fox Sports Detroit as saying that “it would be an honor” to coach the Pistons. Back in November of last year, long before Donnie Walsh actually left the Knicks, Thomas was interviewed by ESPN New York and had this to say about how much he thinks about a return to the Knicks:
“Every single day of the week. When I look at my GM/executive record, if I’m evaluated on that, then whoever’s after Donnie, if you’re not talking about some of the top people in the game, I’ll put my draft evaluation record up against anyone’s.”
Coincidentally, the same article also recounts how Thomas wanted to hire Laimbeer as the head coach of the Knicks in 2005 but owner Jim Dolan put pressure on him to hire the big name coach in Larry Brown, a disastrous decision for all parties involved.
Laimbeer was also a candidate for the Pistons head coaching job that Brown vacated. He has worked as a broadcaster for the Pistons and notably won three championships with the WNBA’s Detroit Shock during a six year run from 2002 to 2008.
If it doesn’t work out with any NBA team and Thomas decides to leave FIU, he has a degree in Criminal Justice that he completed while playing for the Pistons to fall back on.