The National Basketball Association's Detroit Pistons have named Flip Saunders as their new coach, signing him to a four-year, $20 million deal.

Saunders replaces Larry Brown, who was released earlier this week after leading Detroit to the 2004 NBA title and this year's finals. The Pistons lost to San Antonio in seven games this year.

Saunders has an NBA coaching record of 411-326 and changed the Minnesota Timberwolves from a lackluster franchise to a playoff team. However, the 50-year-old coach's teams lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of their first seven visits.

Pistons' president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said that Saunders has a proven record of developing players and would inspire confidence in the team from his first day on the court. Saunders said he knew that expectations of success are high in Detroit, and he looks forward to the challenge.

Larry Brown was released in part because of health concerns. Brown could not guarantee a full season on the bench, but is reported to be talking to the New York Knicks.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.