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Michael Rosenberg: Assertion that Joe Dumars was forced to hire Lawrence Frank is ‘laughable’

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that Joe Dumars felt Mike Woodson was the best choice as Pistons coach while Tom Gores and his Platinum Equity colleagues were more impressed by Lawrence Frank. The inference, then, would be that Gores possibly overruled Dumars. Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press says that’s not the case though:

“Any assertion that Joe Dumars was somehow coerced into hiring Lawrence Frank is laughable. Frank has been the likely choice for weeks.”

Even if Dumars favored Woodson over Frank, that doesn’t mean he also wasn’t high on Frank. We know that the Pistons’ hiring process dragged for a long time. Gores has also expressed his desire to learn on the job and to not make decisions without putting a fair amount of time and thought into them. Maybe they identified Woodson and Frank as their two best candidates, interviewed both, and then had healthy internal dialogue on the merits of each. Even if Dumars had a preference for Woodson, that doesn’t mean he was somehow overruled and is now stuck with a coach he doesn’t want in Frank. I would like to think that, based on Gores’ previous comments about his management style, that the team considered many factors and spent the last few weeks reaching a consensus that Frank was the best man for the job. Gores is a smart enough business man to know that it would be a mistake to force a coach on Dumars if Dumars absolutely believed that coach wasn’t right for the job.

UPDATE (via Jason in the comments):

Vincent Goodwill tweeted this:

Contrary to what’s been posted nationally, this was not a Dave Checketts move, IMO…a little heavy-handed stuff to this point

 

35 Comments

  • Jul 22, 201112:24 pm
    by Larry

    Reply

    The article suggests that Joe preferred Woodson as I do. However, given Joe’s recent track record with coaches, he should not be allowed to make independent determinations.  Remember how Michael Curry was going to restore accountability?

    As an added note, hopefully Dumars (and Dombrowski) will not be able to throw coaches under the bus for their own poor investments.

    • Jul 22, 201112:35 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Yeah, I have to say I was pleased with the hiring process. There’s no question that Dumars, because of his experience, knows the NBA far better than Gores. But it never hurts to have another strong voice who, at the very least, will ask tough questions. This process gives me some hope that Dumars/Gores will balance each other well.

  • Jul 22, 201112:27 pm
    by Jason

    Reply

    You should add Vincent Goodwill tweet:

    “Contrary to what’s been posted nationally, this was not a Dave Checketts move, IMO…a little heavy-handed stuff to this point”

    Personally I think Vincent probably has the best inside information around detroit regarding the Pistons.

    • Jul 22, 201112:30 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t think it’s a Checketts move either, but I do think it’s plausible that Dumars initially preferred Woodson simply because of their history together. I don’t think Gores would force a coach Dumars didn’t want on him, but it’s not unreasonable to think that Dumars preferred one, Gores preferred the other and they debated the merits of each until they reached a consensus.

      • Jul 22, 201112:47 pm
        by Jason

        Reply

        Yeah I agree. 

        I am sure they all did there homework before the choice. Also it will be interesting to see the contract details whenever they come out.

  • Jul 22, 201112:41 pm
    by Larry

    Reply

    Though I would have preferred Woodson myself, I hope there is a Check[etts] on Joe’s authority to hire a coach.  The last two selections have been horrible which also means (to me), he should not be able to throw another under the bus for his own bad expenditures of the owners dough (Same goes for Dombrowski by the way).

    Either way the Frank hiring seems an embrace of mediocrity.

    • Jul 22, 201112:47 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Out of curiosity, how is Frank “embracing mediocrity” but Woodson wouldn’t be? Both guys have sub-.500 career records. Frank made the second round of the playoffs three times, Woodson twice. And Woodson’s playoff teams were actually more talented than Frank’s. Kidd was the best player on either roster, but a Johnson-Smith-Horford top three is far superior to any top three Frank had in NJ.

      • Jul 22, 20115:41 pm
        by Larry

        Reply

        Lawrence Frank won 225 and lost 241 as a head coach.  He never even played high school basketball and allegedly had “respect” issues at with the Nets, yet somehow has “learned” how from Doc Rivers how to command the respect of NBA players.  Of course Woodson is also mediocre, but the control of this team issue is paramount unless they broom 70% of the roster.  So of the two finalists I preferred Woodson. However, I would have given it my absolute best shot to woo Jerry Sloan to Auburn HIlls. He he was firmly retired, I would have made a run with Jeff Van Gundy. Of the reccled coaches, Adelman would have been my pick.   

        • Jul 23, 20111:27 pm
          by Dan Feldman

          Reply

          What does not playing high school basketball have to do with Frank’s coaching ability in the NBA? (At least beyond how the perception that it makes him less qualified impacts his actual ability)

      • Jul 22, 20115:45 pm
        by Larry

        Reply

        Lawrence Frank won 225 and lost 241 as a head coach.  He never even played high school basketball and allegedly had “respect” issues at with the Nets, yet somehow has “learned” how from Doc Rivers how to command the respect of NBA players.  Of course Woodson is also mediocre, but the control of this team issue is paramount unless they broom 70% of the roster.  So of the two finalists I preferred Woodson. However, I would have given it my absolute best shot to woo Jerry Sloan to Auburn HIlls. He he was firmly retired, I would have made a run with Jeff Van Gundy. Of the recycled coaches, Adelman would have been my pick.   

  • Jul 22, 201112:46 pm
    by RandomGuy313

    Reply

    Woodson had two chances to sell himself to Gores; nothing JoeD could have done there. I think this angle is way overblown, JoeD assisted in narrowing down the candidates which suggests that he would be able to work with Frank.

    Both Frank and Woodson are defensive minded (either one will have difficulties changing the culture given the roster as it currently stands).

    • Jul 23, 20111:37 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      I still think the Pistons’ culture is more defensive- than offensive-minded. The bigger culture problems revolve around toughness, effort and focus.

  • Jul 22, 20111:07 pm
    by rob

    Reply

    I dont think it was cut and dry like the national media is making it seem. Where Joe only wanted Woodson, and Gores only Frank.

    I do think Joe preferred Woodson, but I think he also liked Frank too. So, there’s not going to be a problem between Joe and Frank, in that regard, imo.

    I dont really get Rosebergs point though, because Joe didnt hire anybody, Gores did. So of course he wasnt forced into hiring him, because he didnt hire him.

    Did any national writers assert that Joe was forced into hiring Frank? None that I know of. All they said was Gores preferred Frank, Joe preferred Woodson. I think that was obvious to everyone. The fact that they went with the candidate that did the best in the Gores part of the interview, tells me he was the one that made the hire, not Joe. So Joe wasnt forced into anything. He just didnt have as much of a say in the hiring as usual, as far as I can tell.

    • Jul 22, 20111:30 pm
      by khandor

      Reply

      The owner hires the GM. Then, the GM hires the head coach, with the approval of the owner.

      • Jul 22, 20115:23 pm
        by rob

        Reply

        Exactly, the owner makes the final call. You could say the Joe technically hired him, but really it was Gores on this one, imo. No coach was going to get hired by Joe w/o Gores’ approval. So, did he really hire him then? imo, whoever makes the final call, makes the hire.

        • Jul 23, 201111:48 am
          by khandor

          Reply

          The owner hires the GM. Then, the GM hires the head coach, with the approval of the owner. The owner does not hire the coach. The owner pays a salary to the GM, who is supposed to be a “basketball expert”, expressly so that the GM can do this specific job for the organization, as a whole. In his introductory press conference as the owner of the Pistons, before he made the decision to retain the services of Joe Dumars as the GM of this team for the foreseeable future, Tom Gores indicated that he would be “leaning” on Joe Dumars, “As the ‘basketball expert’ in the making of the formal decision to either fire or retain the services of John Kuester, as the team’s head coach.” When Kuester was then subsequently fired, IMO, it would be accurate to assert that Joe Dumars made the decision to fire John Kuester and that ownership gave their approval. This is not the same thing as saying, “Ownership made the decision to fire John Kuester and the GM went along with it.” In fact, what happened was most likely to have occurred in the exact opposite way. So, too, then, it is most likely the case, in this instance, that Joe Dumars is the person who made the decision to hire Lawrence Frank … as the team’s resident ‘basketball expert’, who is paid a handsome salary to perform the functions of a GM … and that the Pistons’ ownership gave its approval to the move. That’s the way it works in the NBA, at least, for the top notch organizations around the League, like the Spurs and the Celtics, Mavericks, etc. Ownership stays out of the way and let’s the so-called ‘basketball expert’ make the decisions he is paid to make on a daily basis. PS. Conversely, its the teams with owners who butt into areas of the operation in which they DO NOT BELONG, on a daily basis, that are consistently mis-managed and customarily under-achieve. Gores and Dumars seem to be off to a good start for the Pistons. Hopefully they will be able to continue to work this way in the future for the benefit of the team and its loyal fanbase.

    • Jul 23, 20111:37 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Who in the national media has said Dumars only wanted Frank and Gores only wanted Woodson?

      • Jul 23, 20112:56 pm
        by khandor

        Reply

        Dan,
        I agree with the view that says no one in the US national media actually said Dumars wanted Woodson only and that Gores only wanted Frank. IMO, it was certain bloggers and contributors to different web sites that then took what they read on-line from other sources and extrapolated it to mean that, in their minds, at least, the Pistons head coach search process had developed in a way that looked to them like it was Gores for Frank vs Dumars for Woodson … when, in reality, no such split had ever existed in Detroit’s actual hiring process. e.g. Fanblogger/Pistons fan, after reading an article by Adrian Wojnarowski: “Because Woodson has now interviewed twice for the Pistons’ job it MUST mean that Dumars really wants him and is having to convince the higher ups that Woodson is the right hire, when the higher ups are actually more interested in Frank, who only needed to interview once with Detroit,” which is then the perspective that proliferates in the blogosphere, if unchecked by those who pay closer attention to what has actually gone in the Pistons organization since Gores become the owner.

      • Jul 23, 20113:07 pm
        by khandor

        Reply

        Dan,
        Not sure if you consider this to be a US national media source or not:
        http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4685655/frank-remains-a-finalist-in-detroit
        Or, if Dumars allegedly “favouring” Woodson and Gores allegedly “favouring” Frank, in the eyes of some other writer/source, is considered as being legitimate information.

  • Jul 22, 20111:26 pm
    by khandor

    Reply

    In this instance, I agree with the interpretations offered by Rosenberg and Goodwill. As I first said last week, if the Pistons were committed to hiring a head coach with prior experience in this capacity in the NBA then, in all likelihood, they [i.e. Tom Gorres/owner and Joe Dumars/GM] were going to eventually hire Lawrence Frank. Any suggestion that someone like Joe D. would somehow be ‘coerced’ into making a hire like this is patently ridiculous.

  • Jul 22, 20111:53 pm
    by Jason

    Reply

    Yeah.  Where the hell does ESPN get there info?  Cause they have a been way off more than a few times.

    Stein and Broussard (spelling?)

  • [...] • And some (somewhat) dissenting views on that issue from other folks close to the Pistons. [...]

  • Jul 22, 201111:51 pm
    by Jayg108

    Reply

    It’s good to think there wasn’t a power struggle in hiring the coach.

    Gores seems more hands on than Mr Davidson, so I wonder if Joe will become more hands on than he was under Davidson. I’m curious as to how Gores will hold Joe accountable for supporting Frank should they’re be another boycott. But let’s hope there will be no mutinous uprisings.

    • Jul 23, 201111:57 am
      by khandor

      Reply

      There won’t be any mutinous uprisings with the Pistons now that Lawrence Frank is on board as their head coach. Frank has demonstrated that he knows how to set a legitimate rotation and maintain a positive working relationship with each of the 15 players on his roster through his use of effective communication skills. If Lawrence Frank fails to succeed in Detroit it will not be due to the same errors in judgment that eventually befell F-Saunders, M-Curry and J-Kuester. That is simply not the cloth he is cut from, given history as a basketball coach.

      • Jul 23, 201110:04 pm
        by brgulker

        Reply

        With each comment, you make, you demonstrate how little you actually watch the current Pistons players.

        Prince and Hamilton have terrible egos and attitudes. PERIOD.

        • Jul 24, 201112:30 pm
          by khandor

          Reply

          Ben,
          Or, it could just be that I am more familiar with the range of acceptable egos and attitudes which exist amongst authentic elite level basketball players than you might be and am therefore more tolerant of what you may consider to be a “bad” ego and/or attitude … or, perhaps, do not think of their egos/attitudes as being truly “bad”, at all, since I know first-hand how these types of players actually think, feel and act in a way that you might not.
          Based on the many comments I have read from basketball “observers” over the years on a variety of “team/fan” web sites it seems to me that a great many of them actually have very little first-hand knowledge of the internal workings of an elite level team – including players, coaches and administrators – and, therefore, misinterpret much of what is said and done by the people who work in the NBA on a daily basis.
          e.g. I’ve read many comments like this over the years: “If I had an employee who worked for me said stuff like this, or acted in an in-subordinant way, then, I would ship him out as fast as possible.” What a comment like this actually reveals is that the maker thinks that the environment in the NBA actually works like it does at the job place where s/he works … when, in fact, it really does not have a great deal of resemblance at all, if you take the time to think about it in-depth.
          The egos and attitudes of Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince ARE NOTHING CLOSE TO BEING “BAD” … except, perhaps, in the eyes of those who have never been around people like Rip and Tay in connection with an elite level basketball team.

          • Jul 24, 20119:36 pm
            by brgulker

            1) You don’t have to see the internal workings of the locker room to see that Rip and Tay have bad attitudes. It’s all over their faces each and every game. 2) You have as much experience with the internal workings of “elite level basketball teams” as I do, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Jul 25, 20114:31 am
    by khandor

    Reply

    Ben,
    re: “2) You have as much experience with the internal workings of “elite level basketball teams” as I do, as far as I’m concerned.”
    You are free to think that this is the case, if you wish. :-) In my experience, however, those who truly have knowledge of this type of environment happen not to think like you do when it comes to assessing what actually qualifies as a “bad” ego/attitude, or not.

    • Jul 25, 20119:40 am
      by brgulker

      Reply

      You do realize that because of the anonymity of the internet, anyone could claim to have NBA experience, right? 

      Those of us who actually put our names on our words and own them make ourselves accountable to what we say. Those of you who make almost unbelievable claims but choose to hide anonymously hold yourselves accountable to nothing.

      If you want anyone to take you and your claims seriously, be honest about who you are and aren’t.

      Until then, you’ll just keep looking like a troll to every blog you frequent.  That’s just common internet etiquette.

  • Jul 25, 201112:59 pm
    by khandor

    Reply

    Ben,
    The internet really is an amazing tool. You are free to write what you wish to write on-line, using your own name if you wish. The fact is … #1. I have no way of checking whether you are really who YOU claim to be, either. #2. I write what I write, the way I write it, for a good reason. Whether you think that I’m a “troll”, or not, is irrelevant to me. During the last several years that I have shared my “expertise” about sports [in general, and basketball, specifically] with others in a public way, on-line, I can tell you for a fact that: i. What I have had to say has very seldom, if ever, created a problem with anyone who has actually played or coached the game at an elite level; and, ii. The vast majority of people who do not comprehend the rightfulness of my observations made on-line are: a) Those who have only played the game at a lower level, or ii. b) Those who are “just fans”, or c) Those who may have played at a fairly high level but, unfortunately, were never exposed to authentic elite level coaching. #3. What may be “common” to you is not necessarily “common” to me, and vice versa, as far as the internet is concerned, as well as life, in general. That is really what makes the world in which we live an interesting place. Reasonable people can always just agree to disagree. Best wishes, and Keep On Truck’n. PS. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff! :-)

    • Jul 25, 20111:23 pm
      by brgulker

      Reply

      The fact is … #1. I have no way of checking whether you are really who YOU claim to be, either.

      Sure you do. You can use a variety of analytic tools. You can google me.  You can find me on social media. You can find me on the website of my employer. Etc., etc. With a high degree of certainty, you could verify who I am. 

      That, or I’m running around lying about my real name.

      . What I have had to say has very seldom, if ever, created a problem with anyone who has actually played or coached the game at an elite level;

      Again, I have to take your word for it. This is another non-falsifiable statement. You make these all the time, and simply expect people to believe them without offering any proof or arguments as to why they should. 

      Prove to me that:
      1) “Elite level” so and so’s have read what you’ve had to say, and,
      2) That they’ve never objected.

      The vast majority of people who do not comprehend the rightfulness of my observations made on-line are: a) Those who have only played the game at a lower level, or ii. b) Those who are “just fans”, or c) Those who may have played at a fairly high level but, unfortunately, were never exposed to authentic elite level coaching. #3.

      Do you have any concept of how arrogant that sounds? We the peons bow to your unending knowledge. We should be thanking you for pouring out your wisdom.

      That’s how it sounds. 

      That is really what makes the world in which we live an interesting place. Reasonable people can always just agree to disagree. Best wishes, and Keep On Truck’n. PS. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff! :-)

      Then, you say something which I truly believe you mean, which is friendly and kind.

      I’m not saying you are a troll, because I know you’re perfectly capable of offering sincere sentiments like those above.

      But, you have to admit that anonymously claiming NBA experience, and then finding a way to disagree with almost everything that gets published about the Pistons everywhere could be interpreted as trolling.

      You could, of course, fix this easily by telling us who you are.

  • Jul 25, 20112:29 pm
    by khandor

    Reply

    Ben,
    Truth be told … I have not disagreed with almost everything written on-line about the Pistons. I have disagreed with some and said that others are right on the money, IMO, while yet others are both somewhat right and somewhat wrong. In all candor … Can you think of a good reason that someone who is a legitimate “expert” in a field [let's say, "sports", for example] might willingly choose to remain anonymous on-line? If you think hard enough, I am actually willing to “wager” a large sum of my own hard-earned money that you are, in fact, perfectly capable of coming up with the correct answer to this specific question.

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