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Pistons Fire Saunders, Dumars Promises Change

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Flip Saunders was fired as the Pistons' coach yesterday, four days after Detroit was eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. And more changes could be on the way for a team bounced from three straight conference finals.

"Make no mistake, everybody is in play right now," said Joe Du mars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations. "There are no sacred cows here. You lose that sacred cow status when you lose three straight years."

Saunders had a year left on a four-year deal he signed in 2005. His ouster comes three years after he took over for Larry Brown, who led the Pistons to two straight NBA Finals.

"I think this team became way too content and did not show up with a sense of urgency to get it done," Dumars said at a news conference. "I can't sugarcoat it. It is what it is."

Dumars stopped short of saying he would dismantle the Pistons.

"The idea you can make yourself bad and make yourself good again, that's a farce," he said. "I have no interest in completely ripping the team down. Will I look to make significant changes? Yeah, you're damn right I will."

Saunders did not return a message seeking comment.

Assistant coach Michael Curry appears to be the leading candidate to replace Saunders. Other possible candidates include Detroit assistant Terry Porter and former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.

"We're going to talk to people this week. This will not be a long, drawn-out process," Dumars said. "The next coach is going to be handed a good team. You worry more when you don't have the players to compete at the level you need them to."

-- From News Services

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