Michael Curry shouts instructions from the bench while an assistant with the Pistons. He will replace Flip Saunders.
Duane Burleson / AP Enlarge
DETROIT - Michael Curry will be the Detroit Pistons head coach next season after only one year as an assistant.
Curry will be introduced as Detroit's new coach at a news conference today, Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said.
Dallas Mavericks guard Jerry Stackhouse, who played with Curry in Detroit, said Curry was like a player-coach during his career on the court.
"It was just a matter of time," Stackhouse said yesterday. "Everybody who knew Michael from his playing days knew this is where he would end up.
"He's going to do great for Detroit because he already has great rapport with those players, who will give him a different kind of respect because he played in the league."
Curry was an assistant last season in Detroit under for Flip Saunders, who was fired last week.
The Pistons and Curry agreed on a three-year deal worth $2.5 million a season. The team holds an option for a fourth season.
Before going to the bench, Curry was the NBDL's vice president of player development following a playing career that started as an undrafted free agent during the 1993-94 season in Philadelphia and ended during the 2004-05 season with the Indiana Pacers.
He averaged 4 1/2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 20 minutes a game over his career, which included two stops in Detroit along with stints in Milwaukee, Toronto and Washington. His defense and leadership kept him in the league despite averaging less than seven points a season.
"I think he has a lot of good qualifications," Phoenix Suns coach Terry Porter, who was a Pistons assistant with Curry last season. "It's a pretty good jump going from assistant to head coach, but like Stackhouse said, he's been a player-coach most of his life.
"I don't know what his staff will be like, but that's important when you don't have a lot of experience."
The 39-year-old Curry played with Dumars more than a decade ago and with current Pistons Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince during the 2002-03 season, when the franchise started its active streak of appearances in the Eastern Conference finals. He also played with Detroit center Rasheed Wallace in Washington.
Curry might not coach all of those players next season because Dumars publicly put his whole team, other than Rodney Stuckey, on the trading block last week when he fired Saunders.
Curry played in college at Georgia Southern. Toward the end of his NBA career, Curry was president of the players' association and earned a masters degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.