Auburn Hills -- Lawrence Frank looks like a boxer after a brutal 12-round heavyweight championship bout.
He's a little battered and bruised.
And, he won't admit defeat.
Before the Pistons won their fourth consecutive Monday night, 109-101 over the 76ers, Frank sounded like he wants this fight to continue.
He wants to go another round, another season.
Rumors, however, say Frank's fight is over. That he'll be fired after the season ends Wednesday.
Pistons owner Tom Gores did nothing to dispel those rumors when he gave Frank and team president Joe Dumars less than a ringing endorsement.
"I expected to be in the playoffs so I am disappointed by that," Gores said. "When I said that last year, I meant it."
Frank, meanwhile, is preparing for the regular-season finale at Brooklyn.
"I have always been told you are going to work every single day until they tell you that you are no longer needed," Frank said. "I only focus on what I can control. The speculation is out there but that is nothing I can control.
"Just do my job until you are no longer needed."
Dumars seems safe
Pistons president Joe Dumars could be facing the end of his tenure, too.
My guess is Dumars stays because, over the course of the year, he created the cap space for the team and drafted Andre Drummond, the franchise piece this team can build around.
But this is Dumars' last dance. If he does not return the franchise to the playoffs he should be gone.
The case to keep Dumars is stronger.
He really has not had control of this team for three years. He could not pull every trigger he wanted while the team was in ownership transition between the Bill Davidson family and Gores group.
"I'm very excited about what we have going," Gores said. "I'm very excited about the future but I'm not content about how we performed this year."
That was as far as he was willing to go in endorsing Dumars.
Time is now for Gores
Gores must do something. He said he wanted to make the playoffs this season, and it didn't happen. He knows if he does nothing he will further frustrate the remaining fans who trek out here.
Things look grim for Frank, who is 54-93 (.367) with the Pistons.
Only one coach (Flip Saunders) has survived for a third season under Dumars. Seven coaches have served under Dumars since he took over in 2000.
Frank keeps battling and working and doing whatever he can to convince Gores right up to the final moment of truth. But he knows he failed to reach the ultimate goal of making the playoffs, and that could be his undoing.