Detroit Pistons: For Flip And Others, It's Game Over

Steven CulpsCorrespondent IJune 4, 2008

If Rasheed Wallace's comments after Game 6 for the NBA Eastern Conference Finals were any indication, we knew the Pistons where in for an overhaul in the off-season.
Flip Saunders, who lead the Pistons to 176 regular-season wins over the three years span, was relieved of his duties as Head Coach at the beginning of the week as he had been informed by the Pistons front office his contract would not be renewed.

No one could question his ability to have his team play at a highest level during the regular season.

It was his inability to push a perennial Eastern Conference Finalist over the Championship hump that ultimately cost him the head coaching spot.

Rumor is that former Piston lock down defender Michael Curry will be named as the next head coach sometime next week. Curry has no past head coaching experience in the league and it remains to be seen if his familiarity with the Pistons as bench coach will translate into a winning strategy. The responsibility of this decision will fall squarely on the shoulders of one Joe Dumars.
Ah... us, Detroit Fans,... we are definitely a fickle bunch.
Our logic is, when our teams are continually bad, we act as if we couldn't care less and would rather protest the games than see them in person (see the Fire Millen Rally in 2005). It has gotten to the point we were so desensitized to the Lions, and formally the Tigers, brand of futility, we don't even expect them to contend.
When our teams are consistently winning and contending, nothing less than a championship is acceptable (see The Red Wings and U of M football).
Joe Dumars, in his years as a player and in the front office, knows what to expect from Detroit Fans and the Detroit Media. He has never been shy about pulling the plug on a coach, or a player, for that matter, who doesn't work in his team dynamic and expectations.
He is well-respected and generally has been above criticism in Detroit as it is apparent, in my humble opinion, that he perceives his team the same way most fans do. He has always strived to make the Pistons ballclub better, and proven he has and will take chances with the Piston's best interest in hand.
For every Darko, there has been a Tayshawn Prince, a Jason Maxiell, or a Rodney Stuckey.
During his press-conference on the past Tuesday, Dumars practically said the Pistons are now open for business, looking to make moves in the off-season. It is safe to say Flip will not be the only to be shown the door in Pistonville.
He said, "This team became way too content", at his May 27th press-conference. He simply confirmed what those who watched this team all season long had feared during the playoff run.
This could be the conceivable end for the core of a team which qualified for six straight conference finals. The contract for Rasheed Wallace will expire and is will more than likely test free-agency.
What remains to be seen is who of the remainder of the core group may playing at a new address beginning this off-season as trade rumors will continue to fly and the media will spectulate.
The Pistons will now need address the needs of this team: a sure clutch scorer and/or a definite post presence. Dumars advised he would be willing to part with core players, but stated "I've got to get value back".

He cited the moves that Celtics, at the beginning of the season, and Lakers, at the trade deadline, made as moves where these teams improved without detriment to their roster depth.

It is said good things must come to an end. We can only be hopeful that the Pistons' days as a Eastern Conference Contender is not yet seen its end.