Joe Dumars helped lead the Detroit Pistons to championships as a player and as an executive. Now, the 1989 Finals MVP and 2003 NBA executive of the year is reportedly ready to resign following five straight years without a playoff berth.
The Detroit News reports that the 50-year-old former combo-guard has told numerous league sources that he is planning on stepping down from his position as President of Basketball Operations and that an official announcement could come as early as this week.
Dumars is reportedly not on the same page as Pistons owner Tom Gores, who fired Dumars’ hand-picked head coach, Maurice Cheeks, just 50 games into this season. Following the signings of high-paid free agents Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings this offseason, the Pistons were expected to do better than their 28-49 record.
Gores has been open with the media about his plans to address the team’s front office situation in the offseason. Dumars appears to have no intention of waiting to be fired. Assuming he resigns, his legacy with the organization will not be sullied, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. "I think that when the dust clears, he'll be known as an elite executive and champion.”
Dumars won back-to-back titles alongside Isiah Thomas in 1989 and 1990. He also racked up six All Star selections and was named to four All NBA All-Defensive First Teams.
In 2000, one year after retiring from the Pistons as a player, Dumars was named President of Basketball Operations. He went on to assemble a team of role players and underdogs that shocked the world by beating a stacked Los Angeles Lakers team in the 2004 NBA Finals. That Pistons team appeared in two straight NBA Finals and six straight Conference Finals under Dumars’ philosophy of team-first basketball.
Undervalued players like Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and 2004 Finals MVP Chauncey Billups made up the core of the new Pistons. Reminiscent of Dumars’ 1980s Bad Boys, the Pistons of the 2000s were unsung heroes who played the game with brains and grit.
As the team’s nucleus aged, Dumars began planning a rebuilding phase. But the sudden passing of late Piston’s owner William Davidson in 2009 made that process more difficult. Missteps in the draft, poor trades, bad contracts and a never-ending carousel of head coaches doomed the squad.
Things officially fell apart in 2012 when veterans Richard Hamilton and Tayshan Prince led a mutiny against then-coach John Kuester. Gores bought the team right before the NBA’s 2012 lockout but disagreed with Dumars on the franchise’s direction from the beginning. After countless disputes behind the scenes, both sides appear ready for a divorce.
Dumars' 29 years of service to the franchise as both a player and an executive will not be forgotten according to former NBA guard and Detroit-native Steve Smith. "He’ll be loved forever. Like Michael (Jordan) and Scottie (Pippen) in Chicago, Magic (Johnson) and Kobe (Bryant) in Los Angeles... In Detroit, it’ll be Isiah (Thomas) and Joe Dumars when you think of Pistons basketball."
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