‘The Best Situation’
Faith in Frank helped convince Prince to return to Pistons
When an equally critical third voice – Lawrence Frank’s – weighed in, then it really became a matter of Prince deciding whether he wanted a fresh start elsewhere or to be a part of returning the Pistons to the elite level he helped them establish at the front end of his career.
“When the season was over, it wasn’t a situation where, ‘I’m done here,’ ” Prince said after Saturday’s second day of training camp. “No matter how bad things get, you’ve got to always leave your options open and I did that. I looked at the other teams that were interested, I saw the position they were in and the position they wanted me to be in and this was the best situation.”
Prince had a good vibe about what Frank’s installation as head coach would mean, as well, and that was reinforced when the two sat down earlier in the week.
“It was good to hear (Frank wanted him to return), but it was good to hear what his plans were as far as moving forward,” Prince said. “Even though I had a gut that I want to come back, what is the direction you guys want to go? What am I looking forward to if I re-sign? Once you hear those things, that makes it a positive.”
“I just shot him straight,” Frank said. “One is that we all wanted him back. Two is the reason he should come back and three is what we expect from him if he does come back. We want him to retire as a Piston. He’s been one of the great glue guys in the NBA. In a sense, maybe he’s been a little underappreciated here, quite frankly. He brings great value.”
When Prince was a young player, Frank’s New Jersey Nets ruled the roost in the East. His recollection of how those Nets played gave Prince confidence that he and his new coach would see eye to eye on how the game should be played.
“His teams always played hard, they played aggressive,” he said. “By the things he’s doing here with us and looking at his coaching staff in the first couple of days, he’s really trying to have guys trust one another. I’m sure he’s watched film of us from the past few years and seen that the trust factor wasn’t really there. He’s trying to build that today and yesterday and keep going. This game is easy if it’s played right, but it takes a lot of work to make it go that way. He’s trying to build that trust factor and hold everybody accountable for what they do on the floor.”
The Knicks exercised the amnesty clause in the new collective bargaining agreement to release Billups.