Detroit Pistons’ captain Richard Hamilton said he and coach John Kuester recently held a meeting and cleared the air after the team looked to be on the brink of a mutiny over the Feb. 25 weekend. Hamilton said the two had a great talk and they both felt it was something that had to be done due to some miscommunication on both of their parts.
Kuester has only played Hamilton once in a game since Jan. 10 and that came on Feb. 5 in a road game at Milwaukee. Hamilton has found himself glued to the bench the rest of the time even though he played well and scored 15 points against the Bucks.
The official word on his absence has been he’s suffering from a groin injury.
Hamilton admitted that he and Kuester disagreed on a few issues earlier in the NBA season, but said the reports of him berating the coach during a practice just before he was benched aren’t true.
He said he’s the captain and Kuester’s the coach and those things just happen in pro sports. He added that it was a simple disagreements and he still played after it happened.
Things didn’t look too good for the club on Feb. 25 though, as several Pistons failed to show up at the team’s shootaround before playing their game in Philadelphia.
To outsiders, it looked like the players were trying to have Kuester ousted from his job by forcing a ‘him or us” scenario. Kuester played just six players in the game, those who were present at the shootaround.
Hamilton was fined for missing the shootaround and said he deserved to be because he went home to Pennsylvania and didn’t inform club management until it was too late.
Detroit’s still in the playoff hunt as they’re 5.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East with a 22-39 record heading into March. Basketball franchise owner Karen Davidson’s been trying to sell the club all year and thing’s haven’t been going too smoothly in the Motor City since the season started, especially with Kuester benching Rodney Stuckey during its first week.
Detroit looked bad against Philadelphia, but managed to defeat Utah at home the next night even though Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Tracy McGrady, and Ben Wallace all missed the game for various reasons.
Kuester said he was proud of his players in the Utah game and that’s how they need to play for the remainder of the season if they hope to make the playoffs.
Joe Dumars, the Pistons’ president, said on Feb. 28 that Kuester is supported fully by the club. He expects everybody to treat each other and the organization with respect as the team tries to band together for a playoff push. Kuester believes the team can start fresh and said Hamilton should play again this season, but didn’t say when that might be.