About a week prior to his banishment to the Detroit Pistons’ bench in January, Richard Hamilton berated coach John Kuester in a jarring and expletive-filled diatribe on the practice court, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
As stunned coaches and teammates watched, Hamilton bellowed at Kuester that he had been a failure in his two seasons in Detroit, blown the opportunity the franchise afforded him and was nothing more than a career assistant coach, sources said. Despite Hamilton yelling within inches of him, Kuester didn’t respond.
Several of the team’s younger players were mortified watching it and privately told agents and associates they wished they had the courage to stand up, confront Hamilton and try to take control back from the disgruntled veteran. Nevertheless, Hamilton influences a powerful lobby in the Pistons’ locker room, including veteran leaders Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace.
The early January incident was the second time Hamilton had initiated a confrontation with Kuester this season, sources said, and it ultimately spurred the benching that led to such public acrimony.
Wojnarowski has a tendency to write for the dramatic use loaded phrases, and I wonder if that misrepresents the Pistons younger teammates’ feelings, at least a little. Still, I think overall, given that multiple credentialed media members had been hinting that Hamilton had done something wrong prior to removal from the rotation, Wojnarowski unveiled the gist of the incident.
Wojnarowski also reports Hamilton’s buyout offer from Cleveland was $18 million (slightly higher than the $16 million his colleague, Marc J. Spears, indicated) and that the Pistons offered a lottery-protected 2012 first-round pick and Hamilton to Cleveland in exchange for a second-round pick.