John Kuester, the head coach of a Detroit Pistons team in shambles, could be fired as early as next week, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Kuester benched five players for Friday's loss in Philadelphia, including Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton, who participated in a protest Friday morning by skipping shoot-around. Kuester was ejected from the game against the 76ers, drawing laughter -- apparently in response to the ejection -- from T-Mac.
Chris Wilcox and Ben Wallace were the other two Pistons reportedly involved in the protest. Wallace, Prince and Hamilton won a championship in Detroit in 2004 under Larry Brown. The veterans are reportedly upset with Kuester's treatment of Hamilton, who has been chained to the bench in all but rare occasions since the New Year.
Stein reports that Pistons management cannot justify keeping Kuester and allowing the situation to continue to spiral out of control. Pistons president Joe Dumars would have liked to made move freeing up Hamilton and Prince at the trade deadline, but Stein reports that the fact that the team is soon to be sold by the Davidson family complicates matters. Kuester has a 48-94 record as coach of the Pistons.
The Pistons have two assistant coaches under Kuester with head coaching experience: Darrell Walker, who went 41-90 in a season and a half at the helm of the Toronto Raptors in the mid-1990s, and Brian Hill, who has a 298-315 record and most notably led the Orlando Magic, starring Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, to the 1995 NBA Finals.