After failing to gain the respect of his players and refusing to reconcile with a disgruntled star, the Detroit Pistons fired Michael Curry as coach on Tuesday.
No replacement has been hired, but a league source believes that one-time Detroit coach Doug Collins could be the favorite for the job.
Despite some public speculation, sources say former Pistons center Bill Laimbeer will not be a candidate to replace Curry.
Pistons president Joe Dumars had been considering a change for several weeks, sources say, and ultimately let go of Curry after concluding he couldn’t recover the locker room. Curry had a deteriorating relationship with All-Star Richard Hamilton(notes), whom he benched at times in favor of Allen Iverson(notes).
Curry clashed with several Pistons veterans and never gained their trust or respect. He had been an assistant coach for one season before Dumars promoted him as Flip Saunders’ replacement last June.
Under Curry, the Pistons finished eighth in the Eastern Conference and were swept in the opening round of the playoffs. The team has more than $20 million in salary-cap space this summer and will be active in free agency.
"Maybe I put too much on Mike as a first-year head coach," Dumars told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday afternoon. "As we continued to go through this transition, it became clear to me that we needed a more experienced coach at the helm."
Collins coached Dumars with the Pistons from 1995-97, and has been out of coaching since the Washington Wizards fired him in 2003.