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Published: Thursday, 7/2/2009

Report: Gordon, Villanueva to Pistons

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - A person with knowledge of the negotiations says the Detroit Pistons have agreed in principle to contracts with free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

The person spoke to the Associated Press last night on the condition of anonymity because NBA rules prohibit teams from announcing free agent signings until next week.

Gordon, the third pick in the 2004 draft by the Chicago Bulls, agreed to a five-year deal for at least $50 million. He was the Bulls' top scorer the last four years and became an unrestricted free agent after the season. Chicago officials had said bringing him back next year was a top priority.

The 26-year-old Gordon averaged 20.7 points during the regular season before scoring 24.3 points during the playoffs when the Bulls lost to the Celtics in seven games.

Villanueva, the seventh overall pick by Toronto in 2005 who has played the last three of his NBA seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, also agreed to a five-year deal. His contract is worth at least $35 million.

Villanueva Villanueva
BOB CHILD / ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

Villanueva averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last season for the Bucks.

The Pistons also said yesterday they don't plan to wait long to name a replacement for fired coach Michael Curry.

Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president for basketball operations, doesn't have a "complete list" of candidates but wants to act in less than a week, before next Tuesday's opening practice for the NBA developmental league.

"My goal is to have a head coach in place by the time we go out to Las Vegas," Dumars said in a video posted on the team's Web site. The NBA Summer League runs July

10-19.

The Pistons are in good position to improve their lineup for the coming season with about $20 million under the salary cap to work with, to say nothing about four of the first 44 picks in the NBA draft.

"We're definitely in the mode of reshaping our roster," Dumars said last week. "We need to add about three or four talented players by drafting them, signing them, or trading for them."

Dumars announced Curry's dismissal Tuesday. The first-year coach led the Pistons to a 39-43 regular-season record and four straight losses to Cleveland in the opening round of the playoffs.

In the video, Dumars said Detroit needs a more experienced coach as it moves to integrate new players with remaining veterans.

"We think it's best to move forward with a more experienced coach to get us through these times right now," Dumars said. "We're going through a transition now where we're bringing back some of the veterans, we're implementing some of the younger guys.

"That's probably a little bit too much for a first-time head coach. It's a little bit unfair of me to put him in that situation."

Dumars and Curry played together at Detroit, but that wasn't enough to save Curry's job after he led the team to a losing regular-season record and four lopsided playoff losses to the Cavaliers after six straight Eastern Conference finals appearances.



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