A number of Detroit Pistons players skipped shootaround Friday before the team's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, reportedly to stage a protest against coach John Kuester, according to a report by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News. Four players -- Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Tracy McGrady and Chris Wilcox -- did not show up altogether, and two more -- Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye -- only came as the media was being let in after missing the team bus to the shootaround. Ben Wallace also did not show up, though he has been dealing with an ongoing family matter.
It's unclear whether the protest was staged in response to a specific moment or simply an ongoing frustration with the job Kuester has done this season. The Pistons are 21-38 this season after going 27-55 last season in Kuester's first on the job.
A Pistons team spokesperson said all the players had various ailments that prevented them from attending.
According to team spokesman Cletus Lewis, McGrady was out with a headache, Prince had the stomach flu, while Wilcox and Hamilton apparently missed the bus without a reason. A team source confirmed Prince's and McGrady's illnesses, adding Wilcox overslept.
However, Kuester let slip that the players had "excuses," before later correcting himself to say that they were simply absent.
Many of the players have protested Kuester's lack of communication with them all season, as the Pistons head toward yet another disappointing campaign. Hamilton, in particular, has been very critical of Kuester, who has buried him on the team's bench as his name has popped up in trade rumors. Hamilton has played just once since January 10.