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Joe Dumars reportedly plans to resign

Joe DumarsJoe Dumars plans to resign from his post as president of the Detroit Pistons after 15 years on the job, The Detroit News reports. The News says Dumars could resign as early as this week.

Dumars, who won two championships as a player for the Pistons, has been a key decision-maker for Detroit as an executive since 2000. He helped build the team that won the 2004 NBA championship and reached the finals in 2005 by acquiring Ben Wallace and Rip Hamilton in trades and signing Chauncey Billups. But one of his biggest mistakes came at that time when he drafted Darko Milicic second overall, passing over stars like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Though the Pistons had a run of seven straight seasons of at least 50 wins, they haven’t won more than 30 games in the last five seasons (they’re currently 28-49).

One of the big reasons why Dumars will resign is because he has not seen eye-to-eye with new owner Tom Gores. The two have disagreed about head coaches, and the owner of course makes the final decision.

It’s hard to say whether Dumars will get another shot elsewhere. He did such a fantastic job building the team early in his tenure, but the Pistons were such a disaster afterwards and have cycled through so many coaches. In many ways, his career arc reminds me of Ben Howland’s at UCLA.

Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva Is the Best Detroit Could Do?

Not too long ago I was praising Joe Dumars for recognizing his team wasn’t good enough to beat the elite teams in the East and that he needed to change it up. What I didn’t envision was him using the available cash he freed up under the salary cap to spend on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. By most accounts, the Pistons have agreed on a five-year $55 million deal with Ben Gordon, and a five-year $35 or $40 million deal with Villanueva (there are differing reports).

Maybe it’s just because I’m not a Ben Gordon guy that I don’t like what Detroit’s doing, or maybe it’s because they spent $10 million a season on a sixth man who’s a gunner and not a ball-handler and doesn’t play much defense. Maybe it’s because I prefer Rip Hamilton and can’t envision them paying Gordon $10 mil per and telling him he’s coming off the bench meaning Rip’s probably gone. Now Villanueva’s a decent deal because he can score and board and he comes at a reasonable price as a Rasheed Wallace replacement. The thing I’m missing is the size issue. Where’s their inside presence? Don’t they need one? Maybe I should be patient to see what they add next year before I completely judge because this has to be a work in progress.

The Pistons coaching situation also needs to be determined. They took way too long to fire Michael Curry. It seemed pretty obvious that his decision-making skills were lacking when he kept Iverson in the starting lineup and brought Rip off the bench for as long as he did. I know they’re recruiting Avery Johnson and I like him as a coach, but I just can’t imagine the new personnel really buying into Avery’s defensive mindset. I don’t see that as a great fit. They need to get tougher inside and Dumars has to recognize that. At this point, they remain a non-factor in the East.

Joe Dumars Thinks How a GM Should

The big news on Tuesday was the Pistons firing coach Flip Saunders. Unlike the shock when they fired Rick Carlisle, I would classify this move as a mild surprise. Think about it — the Pistons had peaked at the Conference Finals once again; there’s only so long you can be pleased with that type of performance before changes are made. And that’s how Joe Dumars thinks. Hearing him speak at the press conference made me think: Gee, now there’s a guy who wants to win — that’s the type of guy I want running my franchise. Some of the things Dumars said that stood out to me (link is to video of press conference):

“There are 25, 26 teams that would love to be where we are, but good has not been good enough,” Dumars said.

“I’ve sat here for three straight years now and felt like we should have been in the finals. When you get to the Conference Finals, you feel like you’re good enough. You don’t feel like ‘we’re not good enough.’ I’ve been equally disappointed for three straight years now because I expected us to get there … I’m not going to listen to any excuses this year.

We’ve given this group under Flip’s leadership three straight years to get it done. If you’re not right there knocking at the door, then maybe you have to say ‘we’re not good enough.’ But when you’re right there in the Conference Finals, Game 6, Game 7, three straight years, it’s hard to sit there and say ‘maybe we’re not good enough.’ That’s when you say ‘maybe I do need to change some things.’ That’s how you come to that decision.”

Dumars also added that his mind was made up when the team blew a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter against the Celtics and said that he didn’t see the urgency. I’m not out to trash Flip Saunders because he did accomplish a lot as the leader of the team, but he didn’t get them to the point where Dumars wants to be. I really appreciate Dumars’ mentality and if you’re a fan, that’s exactly how you should want your GM to think and act. If he gets the feeling something isn’t right, regardless of how good the performance is, you have to make the change. He did it once before with Carlisle, went to LB, and reached the Finals. Looks like he thinks the same thing could happen again.