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Joe Dumars gives wide-ranging interview with The Detroit News

When things were going good for the Pistons, Joe Dumars was never a guy who spoke to the media a lot or craved the positive attention he received, so I’ve felt that the criticisms of him for not talking more or saying more in the few interviews he does give have been a little unfair.

In a wide-ranging Q and A with Bob Wojnowksi of The Detroit News, Dumars speaks more candidly than I can ever remember. He doesn’t get into specifics on personnel decisions or direction, but there are some useful tidbits in there, like this:

Q. Are you talking draft or trade?

A. I’m talking both. And my mind is also on the summertime and free agency. I look at trades strictly from the standpoint of, if the guy doesn’t fit here long-term, or the acquisition doesn’t help us long-term — like a one-year guy who can give you cap space — then we don’t need to do it.

That certainly sounds like Dumars isn’t interested in moving either of his onerous long-term contracts to Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva simply for an expiring contract. This could just be Dumars playing things close to the vest as usual — obviously he’s not going to publicly say that he’d give away a player for cap space. But he might still believe those two players have trade value that should net assets beyond just cap space in return.

UPDATE: Actually, reading that comment I excerpted again, Dumars could mean the exact opposite of how I interpreted it on my first read. He could either mean that an expiring contract doesn’t help the team long-term, so he wouldn’t trade for one, as I originally interpreted, or he could mean that he is thinking about free agency as a way to improve the team and, thus, a big expiring contract is something he would look to acquire. That’s really a classic Dumars answer right there. Well played, sir.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to Wojo for clarifying that Dumars meant he would take a one-year player just for cap space. –D.F.

Dumars received criticism for not using the amnesty clause in the offseason. It doesn’t sound like he’s closed the book on that by any means though:

Q. Some quick issues. Why haven’t you used the NBA one-time amnesty yet to get rid of a big player contract?

A. We have time to use it. You don’t want to just use it, then not have a plan for it. So we keep it at our disposal. It can be applied to whoever was on your roster at the time the CBA got done, so it’s not like it’s gonna run out in six months.

As I said above, it’s an interesting conversation. If you’re in the anti-Dumars camp and nothing is changing your opinion of the man, then this probably won’t do it either. But if you find yourself like me, hating a collection of Dumars’ moves but still highly respectful of him for his playing career, his executive career and the classy person he’s always been, this is a nice glimpse at a guy who has always been hesitant with the media and quiet about his personal life. Dumars even talks a bit about the personal tragedies he’s dealt with — he not only lost Pistons owner William Davidson, who was a mentor to him, but he lost his two older brothers unexpectedly in a six-month period as well.

The interview is worth your time no matter where you fall on the Dumars spectrum.


  • Mar 8, 201210:43 am
    by neutes


    yeah that first comment is impossible to comprehend. it could go either way. classic dumars. no idea what he’s talking about. 

    he’s all about assets, and the last time he traded a player for nothing (i.e. cap space) he wasn’t too successful with it. maybe he thinks free agency isn’t the way to go. but free agents aren’t the only way to use cap space so who knows.

    i wonder if that cap floor is having an impact on looking to amnesty or acquire cap space via expirings? having cap space with no plan forces you to spend money for the heck of it.

    • Mar 8, 20122:54 pm
      by Max


      Dumars didn’t write his comment and it have been much more clear to the interviewer.

    • Mar 8, 20123:07 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Note: As Dan noted in the post, Wojo clarified in an e-mail that Dumars did mean that he would trade for an expiring contract.

  • Mar 8, 201211:09 am
    by neutes


    read the whole article. there’s some good stuff in there. i’m guessing the darko pick and the billups trade are what he wishes he could go back on. hopefully anyway.

    i like part of his philosophy, the long-term process. like he finally sees this for what it is. but i’m still nervous about other parts of it. like if he truly sees expirings as a waste or his ability to reward the right kinds of production. the tayshaun prince question had to be asked, but his response was typical. man, if it just wasn’t for that 4 year deal i’d be alright right now. that just throws a huge wrinkle into what i was hoping for dumars going forward. he’s saying mostly good things, but that one deal i just don’t get.

    • Mar 8, 201211:43 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      It might be the Rodney White pick. I believe in one of his interviews last year or the year before, he actually disclosed how he liked two players in that draft — White and Joe Johnson and was leaning towards Johnson but was convinced to take White by a workout or something.

      And I agree with you on the Prince thing. I get and even agree with most of what he says on the need for veteran leadership/professionalism in the locker room. I could even be convinced that, despite last season, Prince could be a good leader and positive influence on young players even though he wasn’t much interested in it in the past. I just really believe Dumars paid a premium for it that was totally unnecessary.

      • Mar 8, 201212:01 pm
        by neutes


        thing is, i don’t really care about how much Prince is paid per season, i just care that he has 4 years on his contract.

        • Mar 8, 201212:16 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Yeah, that’s what I meant too. He’s not overpaid on a per-season basis really (although this season so far, he’s far under-producing what he’s paid). The contract is just way too long for someone his age with his miles.

  • Mar 8, 201211:10 am
    by Alan


    He’s been consistent with the philosophy that cap space doesn’t net victories and there’s no point in having cap space unless there’s a purpose to use it.  I don’t see an amnesty until there’s a logical next step such as a free agent acquisition or taking on salary in a trade. 

    I think we’re stuck for another 12 months until we have some more assets and flexibility, then we may see the wheeling & dealing Joe D of old.

    • Mar 8, 201212:27 pm
      by frankie d


      joe’s answers pretty much confirm what i’ve suspected…he actually doesn’t understand that aspect of doing his job.
      some of his moves in the past give a clue as to that fact – the ridiculous amir/afflalo/oberto/wilcox mess – and what he says clearly shows that he has no clue.
      the cap space gives you flexibility when a team wants to dump a player and not take another player in return.  there have been lots of young guys moved the last few years where the team that got the young player, was able to make the trade solely because  they had cap space available.
      you only are able to use  the amnesty clause at predetermined times.   joe d can’t wake up one day, say, gee, i need to make a trade that requires i have cap space available, so i think i’ll amnesty BG today…
      wow…pretty clear he simply doesn’t understand a simple and elementary and necessary part of doing his job.

      • Mar 8, 20123:02 pm
        by Max


        So the goal of cap space, and the reason why you don’t sign players who can actually help you, is so that on the off chance that someone wants to dump a player they dislike so much that they don’t even need a player in return in season.   Wow.   And Dumars can decide to sign a player during the off season and amnesty BG after making the decision and he knows he can.   That’s what he meant.  The Knicks weren’t going to amnesty Billups for instance until they realized they had Chandler in the fold.  Dumars means that there is no point in dumping a salary and player who will be paid anyway unless you have another player who has already agreed to sign on the dotted line.

        • Mar 8, 20123:10 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Yeah, there’s not a big incentive to use the amnesty unless it is putting you in a position to sign a player that you know you can sign (and I don’t think amnestying BG or CV would put the Pistons in position to add a big money free agent or absorb a big money player in a trade anyway) or unless the player you are amnestying is such a head case that it’s best just to get him off the roster (cough * Arenas * cough). Villanueva and Gordon are both sunk money for sure, but next year, they’ll both only have a year left on their deals. Even if neither guy contributes at their pre-Detroit levels, they are actually getting more tradeable the longer they are on the roster.

      • Mar 8, 20123:14 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        “joe d can’t wake up one day, say, gee, i need to make a trade that requires i have cap space available, so i think i’ll amnesty BG today…
        wow…pretty clear he simply doesn’t understand a simple and elementary and necessary part of doing his job.”

        Uh … how does he give that impression? He simply said in the interview that the one-time clause will be there and available to use in future offseasons on contracts signed under the old CBA. There was little incentive to use it this past offseason. Hell, there might not be an incentive to use it at all because, as I said above, those contracts are almost over at this point, so unless you have another move in mind, you might as well keep Gordon/Villanueva on the off chance you can trade them as their contracts get closer to expiring. It’s not like either guy is a locker room problem or taking minutes from young players. Both are reserves. Neither are particularly productive, but whatever. They’re here, they’re not jerks or ruining the locker room as far as we know and fairly soon, they’ll have expiring contracts that might make for trade bait.

        • Mar 8, 20124:27 pm
          by frankie d


          i’m not really referring specifically to using amnesty.
          i’m speaking of using cap space generally, and understanding how it can actually be used, strategically, to accumulate talent.
          the example i always point to is the maynor trade the year he’d signed CV.  it was like the money was burning a hole in his pocket and he felt he had to spend it all at once.
          lots of pistons fans also reasoned that signing CV was ok because he was the best option out there at that price and joe had the money, so why not spend it.  it really didn’t matter if that space was taken up by a player, even a player who might just disappoint big time.
          i’d argued that it was much better to have the space available in case a team wanted to dump a contract and in doing such a deal, you might be able to squeeze a good player out of the deal.
          and yes, the possibility of doing that kind of deal is/was worth passing on signing a guy like CV.
          which is exactly what OKC did, when they took on matt harpring’s contract and stole eric maynor in the process, from utah.
          this year, joe couldn’t get in on the bidding for a young player like mareese spaights because he didn’t have the cap room.  signing tay for that kind  of money meant no cap space and no ability to make that kind of trade.  
          joe has never, ever used cap space flexibility in that manner.  
          heck, if he had used amnesty when he had the chance, he may have been able to bid on spaights.  (and there may be other, even more attractive opportunities.)
          and considering the way he talks about the issue and his actions, it still really looks as though he doesn’t quite understand how to use cap in a strategic way.
          yes, it is incredible to imagine that being the case, but it certainly is possible.  for instance, it’s my understanding that the pistons just added people who specialize in the kind of sophisticated analytics that the more forward-thinking nba teams, like dallas and OKC and portland, have been using for a long time.   incredible that he’s just starting to use such an invaluable tool, but that is apparently the case.
          i think joe d is one of those old school guys who’s been successful making judgments the old fashioned way, and that has been one of the reasons for his recent problems.  the league is getting to be much more sophisticated and if you don’t keep up in all ways – using statistical analysis, understanding the cap from a to z, to name a couple of ways  - you end up falling behind. imho, joe d has been falling behind for the last few years and his failure to competently use tools of that sort is an indication of why.

          • Mar 8, 20128:23 pm
            by apa8ren9

            Frankie, there you go again, its like you purposefully forget what was going on at the time just so you can regurgitate your point.  The money WAS burning a hole in his pocket.  He knew Davidson was going to sell the team, and Yes he had to spend it or it was going to just sit there.  And if you remember he couldnt do ANYTHING after signing those guys.  Not to mention also that those 2 were regarded as the the best of the free agents that year. I mean nobody thought that both of them would be busts like they have been.  You dont spend that money and think that these guys are going to do absolutely nothing for 2 years.   He overpaid for Gordon no question about that, but who the hell is Eric Maynor.  He certainly isnt a difference maker, nor is he a better player than Gordon.   You can get that type of guy anytime.  We needed another big on our roster, hell we havent had enough bigs/size for the last 3 years.  What the hell was Maynor going to do when you already had RIP, stuckey, bynum and then you signed Gordon.  Then the owner turns around and tells you that you cant make anymore deals? Keep it in full context.

          • Mar 8, 20129:29 pm
            by frankie d

            sorry, but your logic is extraordinarily lacking.  
            in fact, there is no logic to what you are saying.  totally nonsensical.
            it is the job of the GM to understand the impact of his signings. he is totally responsible for dumb signings.  and that was a dumb set of signings.  
            some of us had the foresight to know that throwing all of that money at both CV and gordon was stupid and we’ve been proven right.
            the idea that even though something turned out to be f–ked up, that it was still a good thing to do is so freaking crazy that it is hard to address it.
            who is maynor?  shows how much you know about the nba.  anyone who knows anything about the league understands that he was very instrumental in OKC’s playoff run last year.    and they will miss him this year, cause when the playoffs hit they will need someone with his point guard skills.
            funny, if he’s so easy to get, why hasn’t detroit had anyone with his point guard skills since chauncey? 
            i guess bad organizations like OKC just don’t understand the brilliance behind overpaying two bench players and that is why they are suffering the way they are suffering now.
            i can see you are totally in sync with joe d’s warped thinking…which is why you agree with the braindead stuff he’s done the last few years.

          • Mar 9, 201212:43 pm
            by apa8ren9

            @ frankie
            Thanks for keeping me entertained frankie, its really helping me get through this pathetic season we are having.   I know exactly who Eric Maynor is and I like Eric Maynor, but Eric Maynor is not a game changer, he is not an impact player, he is a BACKUP point guard.  If you started Eric Maynor for 82 games on his own team how far could Eric Maynor take you?  Maybe a .500 team, maybe.    What you are using is the power of hindsight.  Ive acknowledged that the BG and CV signings were bad.   You may have been right by not wanting those guys.  But at the time with the information at hand I documented and a need for what was thought to be an impact/clutch player in Gordon and a scoring big was needed on our team to remake it on the fly. It didnt work and we suck, no arguments there.  But we did not have lots of competition for free agents and we got the best guys available.  That is what you fail to acknowledge.
            Of course you can use your cap space for a hypothetical deal for a non impact player like Eric Maynor to come along, but how long do you wait, how long would you wait?  That is being PASSIVE. Impact players arent dealt that way.  They arent just given up on unless they have some serious baggage.  That is being reactive instead of being proactive and the team is not in a position to do that.  You go and you get guys that you think can help your team.  If it fails and ownership doesnt like it then Dumars will be fired.
            And please you have to be kidding when you are trying to compare Eric Maynor’s point guard skills to Chauncey Billups as if you could plug Maynor in and get Billups’ type production.  The pistons are currently developing a player named Knight that will be better than Maynor.  I think that shows how suspect your NBA observations are frankie.

          • Mar 9, 20128:42 pm
            by frankie d

            unhhh…who said anything about comparing chauncey to maynor?
            i sure didn’t.  
            i said he had point guard skills and that detroit had not had a guard with those kind of skills since chauncey.
            absolutely nothing about comparing the two players.
            and who said anything about starting maynor for 82 games?
            i sure didn’t.
            maynor is a nice young point guard who works well as a change of pace to westbrook in OKC’s offense.  when westbrook gets a little to focused on his shot, maynor would come in and run the offense and settle everyone down.  every team that goes anywhere in the playoffs has to have that kind of guard.
            can he start for a team for 82 games?
            who knows.  but that is not what i ever claimed.
            he’s a nice young point guard that OKC picked up for nothing because their GM was smart enough to keep salary cap space so that when utah needed a trading partner, he was there.
            those trades happen every year, and the smart GMs keep space available, if they can, in order to facillitate exactly that kind of trade.
            and would i rather have eric maynor, young point guard, first round draft choice, instead of CV?
            the answer to that question is so obvious, i’m sure you can answer it.

          • Mar 9, 20129:38 pm
            by frankie d

            hindsight on my part?  hardly.  
            i hated the two signings when they were just rumors.
            that was easy.  his own team didn’t want him.  they let an almost seven foot guy with 3 point range walk for a relatively modest contract.  that was all you needed to know about CV.
            he’d been traded for a little guy – tj ford, which hardly ever happens, trading a big guy for a little guy, especially one with a bad neck –  and then his own team cut him loose.  he’d put up some good numbers for a few months in a contract year, but everything else was a huge red flag.
            my position on his signing was that they would be trying to ditch him as soon as they signed him to a contract.
            when i read the chicago papers and they were printing rumors of detroit signing him, i thought they were joking.
            signing BG when they already had rip and had just signed him to an expensive extension… it was crazy.
            the only way it would have made sense was if joe d had a trade ready to go, getting rid of rip, the moment the ink was dry on BG’s signing.  otherwise, signing BG was just as dumb as signing CV.  
            also, chicago had only offered gordon about 5-8 million dollars less, and they’d pulled their offer off the table, which is one reason BG was pissed at them.
            no, the two signings were just absolutely stupid and i said that from the beginning.
            (and there are posters who post here from another forum who know that is exactly what i was writing over there, at the time of the signings.  so no, this is not hindsight.  i’ve said this all along.)
            what should they have done?
            easy.  basically maintain the status quo.
            hold on to the money.
            hold onto amir.
            hold onto afflalo.
            go forward with a lot of cap flexibility, and go after the better free agents who were coming out the next year.  
            and in the meantime, anytime a team needed a third team to do a deal, where a team needed to absorb a big contract, detroit would have been there, stealing young players for nothing.
            that is what i wanted them to do.
            that would have been the smart thing to have done.
            obviously, joe d took another path.
            and it is obvious which course would have been smarter.

  • Mar 8, 201212:34 pm
    by Daye and Knight


    Peter Emerick from bleacher report suggested we trade Ben Gordon and Jonas Jerebko to Sacramento for Cousins and John Salmons..I tried it out on the trade machine and it works financially


    That would be great if we could pull that one off but why in the world would Sacramento pull the trigger on this trade?

    • Mar 8, 201212:54 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Wow, that’s a horrible trade for Sacramento.

      Not only are they not trading Cousins, he’s also been a beast since Westphal was fired. And what would they do with Gordon? They already have Thornton making big money at SG, Jimmer backing him up, Evans possibly in need of switching to SG because his PG skills are shaky, Isaiah Thomas who is actually a 5-foot-7 shooting guard in a PGs body and a wing in Francisco Garcia signed for another year. They are getting hosed in that trade.

  • Mar 8, 20122:08 pm
    by t mitchell


    With a up and coming 6’11 small forward on the roster, and team in the rebuilding process. Why re-sign Prince. Now you are pushing Daye futher back on the roster. Plus Mr Frank, as a coach, I do not understand that one, you should bring out the best in a player, and work with the worse to improve him. Not bench him. Remember we are rebuilding, not destroying players . Go with your youth Daye, Knight and Stuckey build around them with Monroe, a scoring power forward would work wonders… Time to move forward and not stand stall …

    • Mar 8, 20123:06 pm
      by Max


      The Daye may already be past.

    • Mar 8, 20123:18 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      What makes you think Daye is the promising young SF on the roster? Honestly, I consider Jerebko a much more viable long-term answer at SF than Daye. Because he’s versatile enough to play the four too, he hasn’t been used exclusively as a SF this season, but if Villanueva comes back, it’s possible Jerebko gets more of a look at the three.

      • Mar 8, 20123:26 pm
        by Max


        I think Jerebko should play more SF because of Monroe’s abilities and the very likely addition of a starting big man who is more complimentary for Monroe at some point.  If Jerebko wants to start and ever earn the big bucks for this team, he needs to focus on the skills of a three.

  • Mar 8, 20122:53 pm
    by Youssif


    Q. Was there a period when you did get caught up in the negativity?
    A. Yeah, when things first started going bad. We had this incredible run, and then we hit a tough patch and you get wrapped up in it, like, oh God, this is the end of the world. No, it’s not the end of the world. It means you just got to work hard, but not let the negativity consume you.

    Let’s hypothesize the negativity he’s referring to happened as a fall-out from the Iverson situation. Does that explain the CV and BG signings? In other words, did the negativity affect him to the point that he didn’t want to face much more by not doing anything with the cap room flexibility he had?
    Also, given that he traded his best player at one point for cap room flexibility, I’m willing to be that he would be willing to do in a heartbeat for either BG or CV — that’s how I’m interpreting his quote in the PP blog post.
    I wish Woj asked about his adoption of saber metric statistical analysis in personnel decisions — is it just ancillary input offered by a stats geek sitting in the broom closet or is Dumars weighing it heavily? When you look at where Houston is at right now, it’s tough to argue against it… especially when you’re in a league where most stars seem to think the only places worth living are beach paradises or New York. I really hope Dumars is adopting statistical analysis as a primary way of making personnel decisions…

  • Mar 8, 20123:00 pm
    by Youssif


    Two guesses on moves he regrets:
    1. Trading Billups for Iverson (ultimately led to BG, CV fiasco)
    2. Trading Afflalo for a 2nd rounder (has to be the worst decision he’s made, in hindsight)
    Leaving Darko off because he ultimately was used to bring in Stuckey and Carmelo is looking like a major Ewing-theory guy right now on the Knicks. Not defending the move, but considering that Sheed may not have been brought in if we had Melo and championships are so hard to come by, that we won that same year has to discount the severity of it.

  • Mar 8, 20123:08 pm
    by Max


    I’m surprised he guessed that Larry Brown would be named as his best move.

    • Mar 8, 20123:19 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Dumars reportedly never wanted to get rid of Brown. I can see why he’d consider that one of his best moves — it was gutsy to fire a successful coach and bring in such a strong personality in Brown to take over.

  • Mar 8, 20123:13 pm
    by Daye and Knight


    Josh Smith just requested a trade, wish we actually had something to offer. Maybe we can showcase Daye tonight and if he plays well trade him and Gordon for Josh Smith? I’m sure Atlanta misses Crawford, Gordon isn’t too far behind as far as production and maybe he’ll thrive in a new system. Daye could use a fresh start and is a young piece with some upside given his length and the ability to stretch out defenses.

    Sadly, this is all unrealistic but who knows, they might bite if we throw in a second round pick?

    • Mar 8, 20123:21 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I would love Josh Smith. It would probably take a package built around Knight, Stuckey or Monroe to get him though.

      • Mar 8, 20123:30 pm
        by Max


        I’d love him too and think he’d be worth the first round pick.  Crazy story.   They don’t have much time to trade him so maybe he could be stolen.   Monroe should be off the table though,

        • Mar 8, 20123:38 pm
          by Daye and Knight


          Yea I think it would ultimately come down to the three Patrick just mentioned. But in an ideal world where we had Knight, Stuckey, Prince, Smith and Monroe as our starting five things would definitely look up and if a draft pick wasn’t involved (1st rounder) we would instantly be an up and coming team and fun to watch. Unfortunately, one of the reasons Smith wants out is because he wants a better shot at winning a title, another mentioned reason is he’s upset Atlanta didn’t try hard enough to make a case he should have been an All Star

  • Mar 8, 20123:33 pm
    by Max


    Ben Gordon works in the trade machine.  Ben Gordon and the pick for Josh Smith would be a homerun.

    • Mar 8, 20123:44 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Can’t see Atlanta taking on Gordon when they are paying Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams a boatload.

      My guess, if they move Smith, is they will try make whoever takes Smith also take Williams.

      • Mar 8, 20123:52 pm
        by Daye and Knight


        I would take Williams if it meant getting Smith in the trade. He’s still relatively young and while he doesn’t have that high of a ceiling he might be serviceable. I don’t know how it would work in the trade machine if you add Williams in the mix, maybe throw in Jonas or Max?

        • Mar 8, 20123:55 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          I would too, but I think Atlanta would be looking for big expiring contract(s) in return, which Detroit doesn’t have to offer.

          • Mar 8, 20124:08 pm
            by Max

            Wouldn’t they be looking for picks too though?   Also, there has been some rumor of Joe Johnson trade happening so they might not be set at shooting guard.

          • Mar 8, 20124:29 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Yeah, I’m sure they’d want picks and/or prospects too.

            I don’t doubt that they’d consider trading Johnson, I just doubt they’ll find any takers based on what he’s still owed. I think the amnesty provision was built for Joe Johnson’s contract.

          • Mar 8, 20124:41 pm
            by Daye and Knight

            The warriors are interested in Johnson, but they already have Ellis so unless they swapped guards (which I don’t see happening) Johnson is staying put.

  • Mar 8, 20123:37 pm
    by MrCarter


    I think we can all agree that the two “mulligens” he was talking about was 1) drafting Darko, and 2) trading Chauncey

  • Mar 8, 20124:48 pm
    by Lorenzo


    Good interview, from what’s discernible I like Joe’s mindset. And funny how the “mulligans” have drawn such interest; just to add a bit to that discussion…..no way does he consider trading Chauncey one of his two mistakes, clearly later in the interview he states that he had to shake up the team sooner or later, I think he was O.K. with rolling the dice on Chauncey….and in my humble opinion I still dob’t blame him for that one. I have to think the Rodney White and Darko pick have to be one of the two he would like back (though he reasonably salvaged both those picks via trades)….that being said their certainly are some other candidates for the moniker.

    • Mar 8, 20126:22 pm
      by Laser


      Well, first off, no doubt the Chauncey trade is a mulligan Joe would take. He traded a once and future All-Star for cap space. When has a current All-Star EVER been the subject of a salary dump?? Probably never. Least of all on a reasonable contract. It’s not like he was making max money, in which case you probably still don’t dump an All-Star for nothing.

      So yeah, smart money says Chauncey is one of those mulligans.

      That said, I don’t think it’s reasonable to play Monday morning quarterback on the Darko draft, since basically any GM takes him with Lebron off the board. It’s ridiculous to look back and pretend like Darko was such a predictable outcome. Chauncey was much more predictable.

      Now, in truth, the only thing that’s actually CRIPPLED the team is the free agent frenzy of 2009 that left us unable to compete for a solid half-decade. Joe could have done some real good with the cap space the Chauncey trade; he just blew it. Picking Darko just kept us from getting a superstar; we were still contenders for the foreseeable future, we were able to trade him for the pick that became Stuckey. These weren’t catastrophes, just missed opportunities. And there were remedies for them.

      Signing Gordon and Villanueva to those unmovable contracts sealed the team’s fate for half a decade. I don’t know if Joe would be so cheeky as to be hinting that these two were the mulligans he wanted, but they were certainly the most foreseeably bad, instantly regrettable and concretely damaging moves he’s made since he got here.

      • Mar 8, 20128:00 pm
        by gmehl


        Yes, yes and yes. Everything Laser said is spot on.

        • Mar 8, 20128:12 pm
          by gmehl


          I would also like to add that I still hold out hope that Joe will correct his last 3-4 years of shitty GM work whereas I think Laser gave up on that a long time ago. Other than that my patience is wearing thin like I am sure most piston fans are. If Joe hadn’t of built a championship team once before then dare I say he would of been fired long ago so I am by no means giving him a free pass but rather just hope that because he has built a winner before that he can do it again. I think he just needs the right guys around him that hopefully Gores has now done. Be gentle Laser!

          • Mar 9, 201212:22 pm
            by Laser

            I like you so I’ll be gentle. I simply vehemently disagree with the notion that what Joe did a decade ago (a perfect blend of shrewd moves and blind luck) means anything as to what he’ll do going forward. I mean, his recent track history includes shattering the team to smithereens and doing jack shit about it but make excuses and sit on his fat ass for three years running.

            I just don’t understand how we’re still so high from a near-decade old championship that we pay NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER to this man’s precipitous and ongoing fall from grace. I fucking hate the guy. In a world without consequences, I’d visit physical violence on him.

            Even wiping the slate clean in terms of his track record, he is not the man to rebuild the team because: (1) he’s singularly responsible for the team’s downfall and deeply entrenched in this mess, and actively undoing the last few years’ damage can’t be done without underlining some of Joe’s more prominent mistakes, and Joe’s too stubborn and proud and stupid to man up and do that;(2) because of people like you, he’s got no pressure whatsoever on him to do his job, because faith and empty wishes and unanswered prayers trump action and results when it comes to this man. I had a third reason, but I can’t think of it. The bottom line is that Joe can’t and won’t get the job done.

      • Mar 8, 20128:26 pm
        by Lorenzo


        Nah, I still feel your wrong on Chauncey being the “mulligan”, I think its an unfair oversimplification to down right wrong to represent the deal as an all-star traded for a simple “salary dump.” The Pistons received an all-star in return (Iverson represented and started the game that year I believe)  and future salary flexibility if indeed the talented (and volatile) star didn’t shake up the team as intended. It was a gamble, but considering that squad with Chauncey had reached its peak and wasn’t going to win a title, it was quite a brilliant gamble. Essentially it was you win big with this guy (Iverson) or you get salary cap space if it doesn’t work out. What I won’t argue with is the poor use of the cap space, I wasn’t particularly happy with the Charlie or Gordon signing in the summer…and that’s fair argument if you want to debate those for the ones Joe D regrets. So yeah smart money says it’s very likely not the Chauncey trade.

        • Mar 8, 20129:59 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          I agree with you. I’m sure he’d take a mulligan on what he used the money for, but the trade itself wasn’t just a salary dump. Iverson was still an All-Star and offensively had a good season just prior to the trade. He had the added bonus of being a large expiring deal, but I think they assumed that Iverson could still play and that he would be energized (as he said he was in his introductory presser) by the opportunity to play for what was at the time still considered a contending team in the East. They obviously miscalculated just how rapidly Iverson was declining and just how badly he wanted to contribute to a contending team, but the trade was an All-Star for an All-Star. I certainly wouldn’t argue that Iverson was better than Billups at the time, but if you’re honest with yourself and look back at what the most prevalent opinions of Iverson were at the time, I don’t think you would’ve found many people outside the advanced stat community who said Detroit lost that trade from a talent perspective, especially since McDyess re-signed with them too.

          • Mar 9, 201210:29 pm
            by frankie d

            hey, i’m not in the advanced stat community, though i do keep tabs on lots of their work.
            but i did see lots of nugget BB the year before iverson got traded.  (living in the suburbs, league pass, easy job, a girlfriend with insomnia.)
            it was clear that he’d taken a huge step back, that he’d lost something important.  he just wasn’t exploding the way he used to explode and he was basically getting by on veteran tricks that let him get his shots off.
            also, he was not getting to the line the way he used to get to the line.  he spent a lot of time crying to refs.  there was a rumor that the refs had, collectively, decided to punish him for something that had happened.  
            whatever the reason, it was clear that something had happened and he just was not being given the superstar benefit of the doubt anymore.
            without that, and without his explosion, he was a shell of himself.
            i seriously wonder just how many of his games joe d saw before he traded for him.  if he’d seen as many games as i’d seen- probably 20 to 25 – no way he trades for him.   he was nowhere near the same player.

          • Mar 9, 201211:13 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Fair enough. The advanced stat community and advanced stat secret admirer Frankie D saw it coming.

            Just to note, Iverson got to the line 10 times per game his final season in Denver. He also shot 45 percent that year. I’m not arguing he was still in his prime or anything, but he was still clearly producing around an All-Star level. I refuse to buy the hindsight that the trade was made strictly to be a salary dump. It wasn’t and all of the evidence available at the time suggests it wasn’t. Time, obviously, has judged it harshly and proven it to be an uneven trade. At the time though? It was far from lopsided.

          • Mar 10, 20122:17 pm
            by frankie d

            i don’t think it was a straight salary dump.  i actually think that joe d thought AI could provide that little spark to get the team back to the nba finals.  it was a latter day sheed-type trade: high risk/high reward. 
            that last year in denver is weird, because the numbers don’t show the clear decline in his play.
            as i said, i watched lots of nuggets ball that year.  i’d been a huge melo fan – ever since he won the ncaa title and the pistons spurned him.  and i’d been an AI fan since his high school troubles.  (i had a professional interest in his case, as i was doing that kind of law at the time he went through his trouble and i was dealing with many of the same issues that were present in his case.)  and the nuggets games came on at a weird time because they are one of the only teams, if not the only team, in mountain standard time.    so i watched as much nuggets basketball as possible.  and AI just wasn’t the same guy, no matter what the numbers indicated.  
            its like an animal is getting ready to die, when its been injured, and it is very manic at the end, running around furiously, until it just drops.  that is sort of what AI was like that last year in denver.
            he was using lots of vet tricks to get to the line, literally just throwing himself into a defender and walking to the line for his FTs.  using the threat of his drive to get that little mid-range fadeaway, rather than just going up and into and sometimes over guys to get his shot off.  lots of little things, but it was clear when you watched him that he was through as a big time player.   he’d lost that elite speed and quickness and athleticism.
            i’m sure denver knew it, could see it and that played into them wanting to get rid of him when they did.
            (i also wonder is his late night lifestyle was finally catching up to him.) 
            so, yea, i hated the deal from the moment it happened and told anyone i spoke to how much i hated it.
            i agreed with hollinger’s take at the time of the trade.http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=IversonTrade-Nuggets-081103
            hollinger was one of the few guys who got it right at the time the trade happened.  though even he did not realize how catastrophic it would be for detroit.

        • Mar 8, 201210:43 pm
          by gmehl


          @Lorenzo I am not sure but I am assuming Laser thinks that maybe it should of been Rip that got traded and not Chauncey. Rip might not of brought the same return as Chauncey but Afflalo would of then been kept and either him or Stuckey would of started in Rips place. Rip’s silly resigning when he had already signed Gordon set this team back the minute Rip signed on the dotted line. Yeah what Joe did with the money was dumb but if he kept Chauncey instead of Rip then I think the team never bottoms out the way it did. Looking at all the pros and cons of trading Chauncey doesn’t fare very well as it led to a domino effect of bad GM decisions to where Joe finds himself now.

          Trading Chauncey who was still productive for Iverson who was also productive but only on offense led to Iverson and Rip fighting over who should start which in-turn led to the locker room taking sides.
          Trading Afflalo for peanuts only to see him eventually blossom in Denver with Chauncey which in-turn could of been the pistons starting back court moving forward
          Signing Gordon to a deal that Chicago fans must get a laugh out of every time we visit the United Center. If you cast your mind back Chicago never offered him a new contract (i think…not 100% sure). This should of been a red flag to Joe.
          Signing Villanueva to a deal that I thought was fair at the time and would of been happy with if only Joe didn’t sign Gordon. He could of signed CV and saved the rest.
          Re-signing Hamilton which was and is still not understood by anyone. This move is what tied Joe’s hands and I am sure even he knows that and I am just hoping he learned a valuable lesson from it. When other GMs saw him do this they must of thought ‘checkmate’.
          Throwing Stuckey in the deep end as the starting PG which might look like it worked out now but you ask anyone that had to watch it unfold and they will kick you in the balls.

          Trading Rip and keeping Afflalo would and should of been what Joe did. Of coarse all this would be in hindsight but keeping Chauncey would of meant he wouldn’t of signed BG or CV. I think the annoying thing for me is that a starting lineup with Chauncey and Afflalo is totally in the Detroit Pistons mold. Both guys are above average defenders and throw in Stuckey to back up either and that would of been a 3 guard rotation that any piston fan would be proud to chant Deeeeeetroit Basketball too.
          IMHO I think Joe should of:

          Kept Chauncey
          Kept Afflalo
          Traded Rip
          Signed David Lee or at worse CV and kept the remaining cash

          This would of prevented a lot of pain and anger which has been directed to Joe and who knows we might of been attractive enough as a team to lure a free agent looking for a ring.

      • Mar 8, 201210:02 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        “When has a current All-Star EVER been the subject of a salary dump??”

        That’s just not historically accurate to call that trade a sheer salary dump. Yes, Iverson’s contract was expiring. But the trade was a current all-star for a current all-star who happened to be on a shorter contract. Detroit certainly wasn’t going to re-sign Iverson for the $20 million a year he was making, but if he came here, played well and fit in, it was conceivable that he would’ve got another contract from the Pistons. Worst case scenario when the deal was made, it didn’t work out and they had cap space. But they didn’t make that deal thinking, “OK … just get through these few months with Iverson then hit the free agent market.” They made it hoping that they’d found the superstar, iso-comfortable, shot-creating player everyone seemed to believe they’d lacked in the last two postseasons.

        • Mar 9, 201212:36 pm
          by neutes


          I agree with Laser – straight salary dump. Could have at least gotten a pick or something in the deal. The trade came with zero present or future benefit other than cap space. And Dumars was so grateful that Denver took his All-star PG off his hands that he sent them Afflalo as a thank you. What a nice guy.

          • Mar 9, 201212:40 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            I mean, you’re entitled to think that. It’s just not accurate though. A salary dump is trading Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown. Or Zach Randolph for Quentin Richardson. Or Baron Davis for Speedy Claxton and Dale Davis. At the time, Iverson was still an All-Star.

        • Mar 9, 201212:41 pm
          by Laser


          “Straight salary dump” might not be strictly accurate, but I think it’s clear enough that cap space and the flexibility to rebuild was the real motive here. Iverson was just a bonus, the exciting prospect that he’d give the team a different look and possibly mesh with them. But that was just a gamble. A freeroll. The goal was cap space and Carlos Boozer or David Lee or whoever. But to subtract a guy like Chauncey (team captain, floor leader, multiple All-Star, Finals MVP) on a long-term contract for a wild card on a huge expiring contract screams “salary dump.”

          I mean, shit, look how passionately Joe covets Tayshaun. He staunchly refused to trade the guy with many opportunities to do so, and extended him into career eternity on a rich contract. He pretty obviously intends on Tayshaun retiring as a Piston… but Chauncey he lets go for a loose cannon like Iverson? I think it’s fair to say that Iverson was just a roll of the dice, but the end game was cap space.

  • Mar 8, 20126:02 pm
    by Laser


    Yeah, there’s almost nothing of value in that interview. Sounds like a lot of excuses and self-justification and the same smug blather Joe spews like it’s his job. (Er, actually I suppose that IS his job, since it’s been since 2008 that he made any personnel decisions, and 2005 since he made a good one.)

    He sure talks a lot about how hard he works, but what’s he been doing all this time?

    For all the people who say he deserves a chance to fix this, THIS IS HIS CHANCE. DO SOMETHING, JOE! Anybody can sit in his chair and do nothing. He can prove he deserves his job by taking actions to turn the team around. It takes nothing at all to sit and wait for the bad contracts to go away on their own.

    Dude says he doesn’t want to make a move just to say he made it, but it’s about that time. This fanbase was restless two full years ago! It’s beyond ridiculous. I’m not advocating a bad or desperate move, but if there’s nothing AT ALL he can do that would even be considered lateral or neutral, everyone needs to face the fact that he’s useless.

    And as for the comment that he messed up by not using the amnesty clause, I’m in total agreeance. Ben Gordon should have been amnestied before the ink was dry on the new CBA. Productive or not, he never had a chance to come close to earning that contract, and it just has to go away. We should and could have kept Rip so that he could be traded this summer instead of sitting on the books next year for another $6.5 million. It wouldn’t have taken much cap space at all and we could have absorbed Marrese Speights or someone else.

    But the bottom line is that the plan to wait another year in a vain attempt to establish value for two of the most limited players on bloated long-term contracts was terrible from the start. It’s a lost cause, and BAD strategy. Better to suck it up and hold onto Rip until he’s an asset in the form of expiring money. Instead, we’ve stuck ourselves with three (3) liabilities instead of one asset and a liability. It’s a mess, and Joe needs to do something to show critical thinkers that Joe has a lick of reason to keep his job.

    • Mar 8, 20129:53 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      “Better to suck it up and hold onto Rip until he’s an asset in the form of expiring money.”

      They thought Hamilton was the main problem in the locker room. It’s clear even in this interview that the vague locker room situation that Dumars admits he waited too long to take care of was in reference to Hamilton. You and anyone else can feel free to rehash the “but it wasn’t Rip’s fault!” talking points all over again, I don’t care to get into that. But this is the bottom line: organization felt Hamilton’s off-court attitude was poisonous; organization decided it would be best to pay him to go away; he goes away and the environment has much less drama this season.

      Teams make decisions to cut ties with players they believe are undermining what they are trying to build all the time. Yes, Hamilton was close to the point where the money wasted on his contract would’ve regained a minimal trade value potentially. The team felt it was better off that future possible reward wasn’t worth waiting around with a dude who A. didn’t want to play here anymore and B. had no problem making things miserable for those around him just to potentially maybe possibly have an expiring contract to deal. Pistons freed playing time for others, ditched a locker room lawyer and let a division rival pay Hamilton to alternate between missing games and shooting long 2-pointers for the next three years. All in all, that’s not that bad a deal.

      • Mar 9, 20121:53 pm
        by Laser


        “They thought Hamilton was the main problem in the locker room.”

        I don’t buy it. For one thing, the main problem in the locker room (and on the court, in the parking lot of the Palace, you name it) is Joe Dumars. He’s singularly responsible for everything bad that’s happened to this team in the last 4 years.

        Rip was a scapegoat. He may have been the most outspoken about how rotten this organization had become, but he wasn’t the problem. He was just reacting. For that matter, half the team bocyotted that practice, and these people are all autonomous adults. You say the team has had less turmoil, but there’s been more changes than just subtracting Rip. Tracy and Wilcox are gone. There’s a QUALIFIED HEAD COACH calling the shots. Sheesh.

        There are a great many reasons Rip was the goat here. Sure, he made a stink. Moving Rip was the only chance in hell of getting reasonable production out of Joe’s free agent prize, Ben Gordon. Also, Joe obviously had almost no options when it came to tweaking the roster, and moving Rip notionally saves Joe more face than getting rid of some of his other mistakes. So yeah, not buying it.

        Better to give Rip the option to behave or stay home. The team made an investment in him, and it was a bad decision to pay him such a large portion of the money we owed him to keep him as a liability on the books for the next two years. Gores saved a few million, but at the cost of an asset in Rip’s partially guaranteed expiring contract.

        • Mar 9, 20122:02 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          I don’t care about any of that stuff. It’s stupid and pointless.

          What is clear is the front office, namely Dumars, believed that Hamilton was too big of a problem in the locker room to keep. Because Hamilton played bad and was injury prone for three straight years, he had no trade value right now. So, as the decision maker, he made the decision to get rid of a player who was clearly unhappy and who clearly contributed to maybe the worst locker room in the league last year.

          At the end of the day, Dumars has more information behind the scenes to make that decision than anyone. So you can think it’s wrong and Hamilton is totally a standup guy and not a baby and still an All-Star caliber player. I’d still probably trust that Dumars is better equipped to evaluate just how disruptive Hamilton was behind the scenes last year than you or I or anyone else on the outside.

    • Mar 8, 201210:26 pm
      by Max


      You’d be a horrible GM, Laser, because patience and discipline are the most important qualities a GM can have.   There is a fair chance that no teams will make any deals at the deadline and one or three trades is the norm for these kind of things.   Does that mean the leagues GMs are incompetent or that they find it very difficult to find deals which they find advantageous?  There is no rush at this point.  What’s the goal of a midseason trade right now?   To make next year’s playoffs?   If so, why not make a deal after the draft when the shape of the team is easier to see?
      BTW: If only Spreights and Maynor were on the Pistons they’d be champions. Not.  They might not win one more game with those additions.

      • Mar 8, 201210:46 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Laser is obviously impatient and you’re right that activity at the deadline could be minimal simply because the lockout has made it so many teams have no idea if they’re buyers or sellers at this point.

        But I also don’t think it’s fair to mock things like picking up players like Maynor, Speights, Mullens, etc. for peanuts. Maynor played an important role on a team that came close to making the finals last year and Speights kept Memphis in the playoff picture as a fill-in for Zach Randolph. It’s true, none of those guys are franchise building blocks, but they are solid, young and cheap. The Pistons absolutely would benefit from being in a position where they could add a small salary in a trade from a team looking to get under the luxury tax or get a bit of cap room. The Pistons need assets, and trades like the ones those players were acquired in are an easy way to get them.

        • Mar 9, 201210:06 pm
          by Max


          Getting those players were all good moves but talking about them in the context of the Pistons is nitpicking.

          • Mar 9, 201211:08 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Well, I’m not talking about those specific players. I’m just saying that having cap room to be able to make deals to absorb contracts like that is a valuable thing in and of itself. Those very simple deals were easy to make and they all impacted their respective teams. I’m not going to cry myself to sleep because the Pistons missed out on Maynor or Mullens, but if they had the ability to make deals like that, it would be another tool they could use to add assets. Having a modest sum of money just in case something comes up is better than having a large sum of your money tied up in two players with negative trade value right now (V/Gordon) and one who isn’t even on the roster (Hamilton).

          • Mar 10, 201212:11 am
            by Max

            I agree, but Gordon, Charlie V and RIP’s contract are on the books and those deals were all consummated years ago so it’s irritating when people whine about cap space.   Most teams are over the cap.

      • Mar 8, 201211:05 pm
        by gmehl


        I love Joe and all but he didn’t show much patience when he rushed into sign BG and CV.

        • Mar 9, 20121:54 pm
          by Laser


          There’s nothing I can say about Max that wouldn’t be edited for personal attack.

          • Mar 9, 201210:07 pm
            by Max

            You edit?

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