Tuesday , Jun , 05 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Detroit Pistons Will Keep Coach Flip Saunders, Rasheed Wallace On The Trading Block?

Flip Saunders looks to be returning as Detroit’s sideline boss … However, something was definitely off on Monday as the Piston players cleaned out their lockers … If Saunders returns, then does Rasheed Wallace have to leave? … Click here for this story …

Reports are circulating that Flip Saunders will return as coach of the . However, Sherrod Blakely, of Michigan Live, reports that something was off at the team’s end of season meeting on Monday:

I’ve been covering this team since 2000, and have been at every one of their season-ending pow-wows just before the players head off to parts unknown, for the summer.

But this one was unlike any I had seen before.

For starters, head coach Flip Saunders pulled out of the parking lot just a few minutes after all the players arrived. Usually coaches linger around for these things. There are plenty of plausible reasons for his early departure. He might have had a flight to catch, or some other pressing appointment. The conclusion some wanted to reach was that maybe he was fired and replaced by assistant Terry Porter. However, it appears Saunders job is safe … for now.

Speaking of Porter, he reiterated that despite some reports to the contrary, he has not pulled his name out of the running for any head coaching job. “I’m trying to put it in, not take it out,” quipped Porter this morning. He is still considered a leading candidate for the Sacramento Kings job, although an opportunity to coach the Pistons would be more appealing.

My Quick Take: Saunders will return as Detroit’s sideline boss. The Pistons won’t fire him in the summer like they did with Rick Carlisle because no Hall of Fame coach is waiting in the wings-unless they rehire Larry Brown, of course. And I’m willing to bet that won’t happen.

Keeping Saunders puts Motown in an interesting predicament. , Detroit’s temperamental forward, does not respect Saunders.

So does bringing back Saunders mean the Pistons will trade Sheed?

Yes, one of these two has to go. And Saunders’ return has led to Wallace’s name being included in trade rumors.

For example, the New York Daily News recently reported that the Knicks are interested in acquiring Wallace. Of course, Joe Dumars, Detroit’s GM, and Isiah Thomas, New York’s coach and front-office guru, played together and led the Pistons to two NBA Titles. So they obviously have a relationship.

This is something to keep an eye on over the summer.

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