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Celtics lose Frank to Pistons

Defensive guru gets 2d head coaching gig

Lawrence Frank was head coach of the Nets for six-plus seasons. Lawrence Frank was head coach of the Nets for six-plus seasons. (File/Associated Press)
By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / July 22, 2011

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Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank agreed yesterday to become the head coach of the Detroit Pistons, according to a league source.

Frank is the second of Doc Rivers’s assistants to depart this week. Darren Erman left for a similar position with Golden State.

This is also the second year in a row Rivers has lost his top assistant. Tom Thibodeau became the head coach of the Bulls last season, guiding Chicago to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Miami Heat.

Thibodeau and Frank guided the defense during their time in Boston.

Although the Celtics got older in the transition from Thibodeau to Frank, the defense still finished No. 1 in the league in points allowed.

Frank has been an NBA head coach, spending six-plus seasons with the Nets before an 0-16 start in 2009-10 cost him his job. The Pistons finished 30-52 last season, a far cry from the perennial Eastern Conference contender they were just a few seasons ago.

Detroit selected Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler in this year’s draft.

Kobe to Turkey? Turkish club Besiktas is in talks with Kobe Bryant’s representatives about the possibility of the Lakers’ star playing in Turkey during the NBA lockout.

“It is a fact that Kobe Bryant’s managers have contacted us,’’ coach Ergin Ataman said yesterday, a week after Besiktas signed Nets point guard Deron Williams.

Ataman said Bryant was waiting for an offer from Besiktas. The club, however, said it would need a sponsor to be able to pay for Bryant’s contract.

“Our board will evaluate that,’’ Ataman said.

Bryant, who has won five NBA titles with the Lakers and is a 13-time NBA All-Star, has been on a tour of China, including a stop in Shanghai Wednesday. He said he would consider playing overseas during the lockout and mentioned China and Turkey as possibilities.

Representatives from other NBA players also have contacted Besiktas, Ataman said, without identifying any of them.

The Turkish League season starts in October.

Besiktas signed Allen Iverson, the NBA’s MVP in 2001, last year but his time in Turkey was cut short because of injury.

Another NBA player, New Jersey’s Sasha Vujacic, signed last week with Turkish club Anadolu Efes. The 27-year old Slovenian guard agreed to a one-year deal with an optional second year.

Nets draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic also signed with Fenerbahce of the Turkish League in June.

Magic star Dwight Howard, a five time All-Star, has said he would consider playing in China or Europe if the NBA lockout doesn’t end.

Union to decertify? A number of NBA player agents will meet with union executive director Billy Hunter today to discuss topics that include decertification, two people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg News.

Among the agents scheduled to attend the meeting at NBA Players Association headquarters in New York are Mark Bartelstein and Arn Tellem, whose agency’s clients include league Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose.

The people were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the meeting publicly. Tellem was traveling and unavailable to comment. Bartelstein and union spokesman Dan Wasserman declined to comment in telephone interviews.

The NBA locked out its players July 1 following failed negotiations over how to split money from a league that generated about $4.3 billion in revenue last season.

Decertification would prevent the union from collectively bargaining with owners and allow players to sue the league under antitrust laws for unlawful restraint of trade.

Material from the Associated Press and Bloomberg News was used in this report.

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