AUBURN HILLS — Rasheed Wallace is moving to the front row of the Pistons bench.
With John Loyer moving from assistant coach to interim head coach, and Maz Trakh losing his job along with mentor Maurice Cheeks, the Pistons were down to one assistant — Henry Bibby. That wouldn’t work in the modern NBA — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich brought five assistants to the Palace Monday night — so Loyer is elevating Wallace from player-development coach to assistant coach.
Loyer has known Wallace for more than a decade — he broke into the NBA with Portland in 2000 while Wallace was playing for the Trail Blazers, serving as a video coordinator, advance scout and assistant coach. So, when he needed an assistant on short notice, he didn’t have to look far for a familiar face.
The new role means that Wallace — the NBA’s career and single-season leader in technical fouls — will be much more active on the sidelines during games. That’s probably not great news for the league’s referees, but it should add much-needed energy to a bench used to Cheeks’ low-key coaching style.