Three NBA Championships, five Eastern Conference titles and nine division titles have all been part of Pistons’ general manager Joe Dumars’ career in Detroit. Now, despite being a part of the organization as either a player or in the front office for nearly three decades, Dumars’ job in Detroit is in question.
All great partnerships must come to an end eventually. Brett Favre could not play in Green Bay forever, nor could Phil Jackson coach the Bulls another year after winning six titles with Michael Jordan. The Colts had to separate from Peyton Manning and even the Eagles had to decide whether or not to part with long-time coach Andy Reid.
It appears as if Detroit must now make a similar decision. Nobody wants to leave on a bad note, but sometimes it is necessary. If Dumars were to announce his retirement at the end of this season, Pistons fans would still be grateful for everything he had done for the organization. The same would be the case if his departure from the organization turned out to not be voluntary.
Speculation that Dumars’ job was in question has been around for a while now. Recently, Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reported that owner Tom Gores is already shopping around for his GM’s replacement. According to Lawrence, Dumars’ old teammate and ex-New York Knicks head coach Isaiah Thomas is at the top of the list.
Along with his impressive resume with the organization, Dumars has made his fair share of mistakes. He missed out on Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, instead opting to use his No. 2 pick on Darko Milicic in the 2003 NBA Draft. Oddly enough, he won a ring with Milicic the following season. But that is beside the point which is that the Pistons have been in disarray for years now and Dumars has been living on borrowed time.
As if the mid-season dismissal of ex-head coach Maurice Cheeks was not enough of a cue that patience was running short, Dumars continues to face scrutiny for poor management decisions. Despite the old maxim that hindsight is 20/20, some of Detroit’s front office decisions should have been clearly poor decisions from a distance.
Though interim head coach John Loyer and Cheeks have had plenty of experience coaching together in the past, a key factor that should have made Dumars weary is that they rarely do well together. In addition to that hiring mistake, paying Josh Smith so much money was a bad decision, even at a glance.
There is no reason why Smith and Charlie Villanueva should lead the team in salary while Brandon Jennings and Andre Drummond actually contribute to getting a win. Villanueva is not even top two on the depth chart for power forward. Jonas Jerebko beat him out for that honor.
Hiring and firing coaches so frequently does not help the team win either. If the team is going to restructure and renew itself, it needs to be steady and reliable. Otherwise, Greg Monroe, Drummond, Smith and Jennings are going to have a hard time learning to play together in this unstable atmosphere. Detroit needs to pick a direction and stick with it.
A franchise man would help in this case. Plus, there is no doubting Thomas’ connection to the franchise. Is Thomas the right man for the job though? Regardless, if the job does become his then he needs to turn the team around quickly or else he too will face the wrath of Gores.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.