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Lawrence Frank doesn't want to return as Pistons coach unless team guarantees contract option

With his brief tenure rapidly reaching a crossroads, Detroit Pistons coach Lawrence Frank informed owner Tom Gores that he shouldn't be retained for the third year of his contract unless the franchise is willing to guarantee the deal's fourth-year team option, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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Lawrence Frank guided the Pistons to a 29-53 record this season. (AP)

In the week prior to completing his second season as Pistons coach on Wednesday night, Frank delivered this message to Gores and Detroit general manager Joe Dumars in face-to-face and telephone discussions, sources said.

Within the organization, Frank has been insistent that the Pistons' full-blown rebuilding project and recent instabilities in the head coaching position make it largely unworkable for him to return as a lame-duck coach for the 2013-14 season.

Nevertheless, Frank has been passionate in his desire to stay the course through Detroit's long-term rebuilding process. After purchasing the Pistons in 2011, Frank was Gores' first significant hiring as owner.

[Also: Sources: Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. will enter NBA draft]

The Pistons are expected to deliver Frank's fate in a Thursday meeting at the team's practice facility in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Frank is guaranteed $4 million for the 2013-14 season, and the team controls a $4 million option for the 2014-15 season.

Gores' public comments about Frank on Monday offered him negligible support, further inspiring speculation that the coach would be fired at season's end.

Frank would be the third straight Pistons coach to be let go without reaching the third year of his contract.

The Pistons had won four straight games until a season-ending loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. Detroit will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, ending with a 29-53 record.

The Pistons have cleared salary-cap space for this summer, freeing $20 million to $25 million to sign or trade for players to complement their promising young frontline of forward Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

[Also: Projected top-five NBA pick Marcus Smart stays in school]

In the past two years, most of the Pistons' moves – including the buyout of Richard Hamilton's contract and the trade of Ben Gordon and a future first-round pick for Corey Maggette – have been to clear the way for an overhaul this summer.

After Frank's largely successful six-year-plus run with the Nets – in which he reached the playoffs three times, advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals and won the Atlantic Division twice – Frank was fired in 2009. He spent the next season as an assistant to Doc Rivers with the Boston Celtics before Detroit hired him prior to the NBA lockout in 2011.

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