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Adrian Wojnarowski: Two teams tried to hire Joe Dumars prior to sale of team to Tom Gores, but he wouldn’t meet with them

Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski has a good read on Detroit Pistons President Joe Dumars, particularly Dumars talking about the impact the losses of his brothers had on him. Dumars has talked a bit about it locally before, but this is the first time I’ve seen a national guy write about it.

But from a news perspective, this tidbit was interesting:

In the end, there’s a connection that Dumars has had to Detroit and the Pistons that transcends everything. Two league ownership sources told Yahoo! Sports that they tried to hire Dumars away during the ownership unrest between the Davidson and Gores eras, and he wouldn’t meet with them. He grew up as a young player in Detroit, raised his family there and sent his two children off to the University of Michigan.

Honestly, say what you will about Dumars’ decisions over the last few seasons (and trust me, plenty of people have and will continue to weigh in with opinions that are all over the place on those). But that type of loyalty is pretty unprecedented.

Think about it this way — the team was for sale, so who knows what type of ownership would come in and who they’d want to retain. The team was under-performing. The team had invested a lot of money in some bad contracts (granted, that was Dumars fault, but still … he could’ve walked away). He obviously had opportunities to leave that behind and start fresh elsewhere. Regardless of what you think of the basketball moves he’s made, that’s worthy of respect that he didn’t take the opportunity to bail. Plenty of people in his shoes would’ve done just that.


  • Oct 15, 20124:16 pm
    by Joe Dumars


    I think the Nets was one of those teams trying to get Dumars away from the Pistons. I remember there being a report that Dumars was interviewing for the position, then it turned out he wasn’t.

  • Oct 15, 20124:28 pm
    by frankie d


    dumars is pretty much a straight up guy.
    admirable, even, in lots of ways.  he was my favorite bad boy.  imho, the best player on those teams, even while zeke was the clear leader.  
    he turned a moribund pistons’ franchise around the last decade as its GM.  but after the ’04 title year, he’s made a lot of bad decisions.    
    he gets credit for the good decisions, but he has to take responsibility for the bad decisions, also.  
    and on balance, his decisions a bit before and since trading billups have been exceedingly bad.
    i’d always thought he deserved the chance to correct the mess he’s made since trading billups.  it looks like he is geting that chance.  however, based on the totality of his decisions – drafting, trades, coaching hires, various other moves – it doesn’t look as though he is doing a very good job.  
    i guess he might field a competitive team in 2 years, and he will deserve credit for that.  but considering how good the team was, the fact that it had to go through 5-6 years of bad basketball – which was a direct result of his bad decisions – to become decent again is a very harsh judgment 
    and a clear verdict on how lousy a GM he’s been over the last 7 years or so. 

    • Oct 15, 20124:37 pm
      by labatts


      Well said.  I think the best move he has recently made is trading away a draft pick. 
      He turned into my favorite as well.  Funny thing, one of the reasons I like him so much is because he played with those awful mid 90s teams — more loyalty I suppose.  Here he is doing it again, but the tables have turned a little bit.

      • Oct 15, 20126:46 pm
        by Nate


        Another cool thing about that (imo) is that he traded a shooting guard for a small forward, and then Charlotte drafted MKG. I wonder if didn’t make that trade if Charlotte might not have drafted MKG, instead taking Beal (or robinson) and then Washington maybe taking Robinson (causing the kings to trade their pick with Houston like they were planning on if Robinson wasn’t there). There’s a chance that we might not have gotten Drummond without that trade.

        • Oct 15, 201210:19 pm
          by gmehl


          Very good insight on that one Nate. I would assume your right about the domino effect that it would of had but you’d think the Bobcats are that awful that they were taking the best player available no matter what.

        • Oct 16, 20129:58 am
          by Tom Y.


          It’s a nice idea but I doubt having an aging, often injured SF would have made them change their mind about who their guy should be at the top of the lottery. When you get a chance like that, you pick a guy who you think will be best for your team long term.

    • Oct 15, 20124:42 pm
      by bball4224


      5-6 years of bad basketball? There are only three in a row without being in the playoffs. Almost every other team in the league would love to be as successful as long as we were.
      We were so good for so long that every1 seems to forgot the cycle that teams go through, we just had a prolonged winning part of the cycle.

      • Oct 15, 20125:44 pm
        by labatts


        Here is the team’s win % the last 4 years:  .379, .366, .329, .476.  Making the playoffs win you lose more than you win does not seem like a success to me.  So, maybe split the difference and you two aren’t too far off.  
        “Almost every other team in the league would love to be as successful”  No offense, but I beg to differ.

        • Oct 15, 201210:47 pm
          by gmehl


          Maybe not in reference to the last 4 years but ANY team would’ve loved to have had our prolonged success prior to that. When you factor in Detroit not being a great FA destination Joe did a great job for a good number of years there. Some teams would be happy just making the playoffs while some would be happy just winning a playoff series. We made the playoffs for 8 straight seasons, won a championship and were unlucky not to win another (damn you Rasheed).

    • Oct 15, 201210:19 pm
      by DasMark


      Most GM’s don’t have their job long enough to have a history with a single team like Dumars has. He’s difficult to judge against opposing GM’s, as there are few teams of parody. 

      He’s been the GM of a mid-market, now a small-market team for over a decade where he’s never attracted an allstar player, built a championship team, that was just minutes away from winning back to back titles. And had maintained success for the better part of a decade.

      The only two other teams that can claim a better run over the last ten years than Detroit is San Antonio and the LA Lakers. That’s it.

      Not that I’m trying to bring out the yellow tape and protect and justify Joe D’s decisions, because a lot of them have been bad, but I think he’s done more good than bad in his tenure.

      I don’t think any other GM has found as many solid players in the second round as he has. Which really is a talent. Prince was a phenomenal late first round pick, and Maxiell was solid as well, being drafted at the bottom of the first round. His lottery picks over the last three years were no-brainers, anyone would have made the same call on Monroe@8, Knight@7 and Drummond@9. 

      Another thing that people tend to overlook is that Joe’s moves were frozen while the team was up for sale. That left him sitting on his hands while Villanueva and Gordon’s trade value plummeted.  

      • Oct 16, 20122:52 pm
        by revken


        I agree Dumars has done more good than bad, though like a lot of jobs being a GM is about “what have you done for me lately.”  I think the contrast between the string of good moves and then a string of bad moves is a big part of the issue.  Hopefully he’s on a winning streak now. 

        I disagree that Monroe, Knight and Drummond were all “no-brainers.”  Monroe looks like he should have been the top pick right now, but there were plenty of doubters in 2010.  If he had been the sure pick, he would have gone sooner.  Several teams ahead of us worked him out, and then passed on him.  We didn’t work him out, so Dumars had to decide to go with a guy he arguably knew less about.  I give him credit for making a good choice.  The jury is still out on Knight, and surely is for Drummond (though the early returns look good).  Both of those guys could still turn out to be disappointments, so I wouldn’t say either one was the sure choice.  Drummond especially was a gamble, because he was widely viewed as having high bust potential.  Henson would have been a safer pick.  Joe went for the guy with higher upside (and downside), and if Drummond becomes a star he’ll look like a genius – and the guys who passed on him will look dumb.  

  • Oct 15, 20125:04 pm
    by danny


    Except for the lakers and spurs no team has had more success than us.  people seem to forget that every year and bash him.  yes dumars made mistakes in signing cv and bg move on.  we picked who i wanted in the draft the last 3 yrs and now we are about to look nice.

    • Oct 16, 201210:04 am
      by Tom Y.


      He did also give away Afflalo for nothing and resigned Tayshaun Prince to a long, expensive deal, making it very difficult to give big minutes to young, talented players at SF. He got it wrong with Daye and tried to force Stuckey into a PG role he wasn’t suited for. And there’s some more.

      I’m not saying he’s terrible, if you look at his overall record I’d still give him a mostly positive grade, but lets not forget there have been quite a number of mistakes, including some that are still crippling the team (Daye and CV taking up roster spots, Tay taking up rotation space). 

      • Oct 16, 201210:53 am
        by danny


        yes yes we are aware that he has made some mistakes, what gm has not?  Yes he did give tay a long contract and for some of you that is a negative thing.  I love tay I love how he handles himself and he is a great leader for these young fellas.   Who else would he draft if he didnt pick daye?  Lawson, Holiday, and Gibson were all still on board.  Dumars went with someone that has a potential.  Daye would be a nice player if he played for golden state or other teams.  His style just doesnt match ours. 

        • Oct 16, 201211:54 am
          by Tom Y.


          You made it sound like CV and BG were his only mistakes, so I pointed out there were more.

          I’m not even going to start debating whether signing Tay was a good basketball idea, but to say he’s been a great leader? From all that we’ve heard, he’s been less than a leader than everybody else. Maggette, who has had no history with the Pistons until they traded for his expiring contract, is already much more of a veteran leader, teaching the young guys and especially Drummond. Stuckey encouraged guys to practice all summer, Monroe has led through example, even Knight, who’s just entering his second year, has been pushing guys to practice hard. You don’t think if Tay was also doing this stuff that Langlois would write something about it? He’s gone out of his way to praise guys who were leading and being positive. It just seems like there was nothing of the sort to write about Tay.

          Tay was the only guy who wasn’t with the team in the summer, he’s the guy who said that he came back to start (implying he won’t take well to the coach’s decision if he wants to bring him off the bench). To me it sounds like he feels he’s doing everyone a big favor that he agreed to re-sign.

          I don’t actually hate the guy, he used to be one of my favorite Pistons, but I don’t like his attitude the last couple of years, and I don’t like the contract he got. Which is Joe’s fault and not his, but if he decided to stay, he should at least be more positive and cooperative about it. 

  • Oct 15, 20125:04 pm
    by frankie d


    imho, just because a team makes the playoffs, that does not mean that they are playing good basketball.  
    the michael curry/AI team was a pretty lousy BB team. 
    it was 39-43, a huge dropoff from what it had been.  20 wins worse.  i think that year qualifies as a year of bad basketball.
    will this team play exciting, good basketball?  i sure hope so.
    i’m not holding my breath, though. 

  • Oct 15, 20125:16 pm
    by Day and Knight


    Dumars has a few seasons to get it together. No ones perfect and ya he made mistakes but lets see what happens with the pieces we have now. On a side note, Frank starting Max over Drummond when the season starts…now that’s a problem

  • Oct 15, 20125:59 pm
    by City of Klompton


    Dumars has made a few missteps the past few years, but honestly, who else would you rather have in his position right now?

    If anybody can name three GET-ABLE guys that they would rather replace Dumars with.  (Get-able meaning guys we could actually hire.  Not a Presti or Riley who aren’t going to leave their currently amazing situation, or some other guy who is in the midst of busting his team through a ceiling.  Also, rule out guys who are going to cost us a ton of money.  Also, rule out guys who simply wouldn’t come here even if the money was right.)  I would be infinitely surprised.  Dumars has drafted pretty well, salvaged (most) of his mistakes well, and won a championship. 

    I’ll take Dumars over any available replacements right now without a hesitation.

  • Oct 15, 20126:33 pm
    by DreDrum


    I thought Dumars time was over in Detroit, he made too many mistakes trying to rebuild on the fly – and not through the draft – if you rebuild through free agency you have to sign the right guys, Charlie, Bengo, Wilcox(remember thats the guy Dumars went after, trading Afflalo for the right to pay Chris Wilcox)…summer 09 was just brutal, it set back the rebuild at least 2-3 years.
    Gores challenged Dumars to do a better job, i like that, Dumars was in charge alone maybe too long, ever since Hammond left he didnt have anyone to discuss his moves i think.
    Anyway, hiring Frank, drafting Monroe, Knight, Drummond, this franchise is definitly going in the right direction, but next years free agency is gonna be huge again, need to add the right guys for the right price, no more Charlie & Bengos – i am afraid dumars could blow this again.

    • Oct 16, 201212:19 am
      by rick77


      Check Milwaukee out before calling Hammond the engine that made things tick.

  • Oct 15, 20126:59 pm
    by Desolation Row


    There’s not enough loyalty in professional sports. What does that say about us when a significant percentage of fans are calling for the (proverbial) head of one of the most loyal figures in our local (and even national) sports history? 

    He’s brought us a championship. In Detroit. Look around the NBA and think about that. Guys aren’t clawing to play in the D, but somehow he built a contender that lasted the better part of the last decade. If anyone has earned loyalty and patience from a local fanbase, it is Joe Dumars. 

  • Oct 15, 20128:17 pm
    by Mark


    I stuck by Dumars for most of the ownership fiasco, but towards the end I got fed up and had turned on him. After this off-season though, its become clear to me that all/any bad moves made during the past 3 yrs were because of the ownership situation and not solely Joe’s fault. 

    Its basically night/day when you compare the moves before the ownership situation, during it, and afterwards. The moves before were all good for the most part, the moves during all bad for the most part, and the moves after all good again. So its very telling what was really going on. He’s a great GM and we are lucky to have him.

  • Oct 15, 20129:38 pm
    by RyanK


    I’m glad Joe stayed.  He’s done some great things for the team as a player and as a GM.  He’s made a lot of mistakes as a GM, but he alway corrected them quickly until Gordon and CV happened.  He said he couldn’t fix the situation because of Karen Davidson…  I always thought that was uncharacteristic of Joe to say something like that…he threw her under the bus badly.  Even if it was true, that’s the wife of the man who did a lot for him over the years…kind of classless to trash her like that.
    I lost my positive feel for the upcoming season with Knight throwing away one possession after another the Saturday night.  If it wasn’t an off night, we are totally screwed.  He should have been bench after the first 4-5 TOs.

    • Oct 16, 201212:22 am
      by rick77


      Can you link that. Would really like to see the article where threw Karen Davidson under the bus. It’s my opinion he did not do that and thats your own opinion. If you have a link please link it for me so I know whether I am wrong or not with my assertion.

      • Oct 16, 201211:37 am
        by RyanK


        There were several articles written about it.  This is the only one I can find that references what was said: http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2011/6/26/2245152/joe-dumars-on-the-coaching-search-operating-without-handcuffs-working
        Reflecting back, Joe has made little comments talking about how great it is to work with Gores and insinuating the opposite was true working with Karen Davidson.  This quote says a lot: “Trust me, he was, because some of the stuff that he talked about, ‘Do what you need to do and I’m here to do whatever I have to do to support you.’ When you’re running a team and you have an owner sitting here saying that, you have no idea how much that helps — especially after the last couple of years.”
        There was one particular video interview Joe gave that said he working under those conditions were terrible.  That he received no support.  It was just the words, it was the body language… 

  • Oct 16, 201211:33 am
    by ShawnJ


    Not all of Joe D’s decisions were as bad as they appeared.  If I remember correctly, after free agency he had a deal on the table to trade Rip for Carlos Boozer but was unable to because of the selling of the team. 

    Consider this, Joe has a formula.  He always tries to obtain the best player where the market is in his favor.  He does occasionally over pay for these players but we are a mid market team without the free agency draw.  It would appear he was trying to do the same thing with Ben Gordan, Charlie Villanueva and Carlos Boozer (with Rodney Stuckey) that he had done before with Rip and Chauncey.  At the time that looked like an interesting team on paper that would eventually need tweeking but could possibly have made some noise. 

    If Dumars had the opportunity to see his plans through, who knows what the team would have looked like.  So, what I am essentially saying is that Joe is a really good GM with a plan who learns from his mistakes (think Minnesota).  As others have said.  We are lucky to have him.  And when you take his mistakes in their proper context it is easy to understand why those decisions were made. 

    Honestly, who thinks that Afflalo is a future hall of famer?  At the time he needed a power forward for the season.  Yes, that knucklhead has moved on but we are in pretty good shape right now.  We also have a potential replacement for Afflalo.  So, I can’t understand why people want Dumars fired.  Not all change is good.

    • Oct 16, 20122:24 pm
      by Keith


      You talk about Joe dealing when the market is in his favor would be the exact opposite of the plan you are talking about. Even on the day Gordon was signed, most Piston fans knew he wasn’t a star or worth the money we were throwing out. Chicago let him walk for nothing rather than pay him the exact salary we offered. Villanueva played well in a contract year and Dumars completely fell for it.
      I have heard nothing about a Rip-Boozer swap other than some Piston fans wanted it to happen on message boards. But even if the trade was made, how does that make any difference? Boozer is massively overpaid, a terrible defender, and has regularly been a net negative in Utah. He also plays the exact same position as CV, with neither having the size or skill to play SF or C. So instead of the previous Stuckey-Gordon-Prince-CV debacle we had, you want one that’s even more capped out and underachieving? Fun note, Boozer hasn’t been any good in Chicago. The defense gets significantly worse when he plays, and the offense barely changes at all when he sits.
      There should be no defending the domino of catastrophes that Joe paraded after the championship window closed. He traded Chauncey for AI – even we accept he wanted the cap space more than the player, it doesn’t change that he traded our ONLY PG and BEST player for the mere chance of getting something new. He compounded the Chauncey mistake by extending Rip, a good player that doesn’t function well without a PG. Then you further compound things significantly overpaying for players that no other team was bidding on (in the range we signed them), and who had never been very good to begin with.
      That all said, Joe’s loyalty is still touching. I think he should be demoted or have another co-GM in town working with him, but he’s still a great person. It IS his fault that we’ve fallen as far as we have, but it was also his genius that got us our last title. He seems to know how to draft well enough (minus Darko), but it’s very difficult to say he knows how to fit pieces together or create a culture of development. I would rather move him over to head scout, or draft specialist, and put the team and culture building in the hands of someone else. It was asked before if there are any great candidates available. The problem with that train of thought is that it presume you need a big name, someone who has been there before. Recycling bad coaches and front office personnel is what continues the trend of bad decision making throughout the league. OKC hired Presti, a young unknown to that point, and he has been amazing. We don’t need to try to steal Ric Bucher, we just need to find another ambitious young basketball mind that isn’t a retread.

      • Oct 17, 201212:43 am
        by City of Klompton


        But can you name that young diamond in the rough?  For every Sam Presti there are many Scott Layden’s, Billy King’s, and (gulp) David Kahn’s…

        Do you really want to take the chance on that when you already have a guy who can draft and has already assembled one championship team from a complete mess before?

      • Oct 18, 20123:45 pm
        by ShawnJ


        “You talk about Joe dealing when the market is in his favor would be the exact opposite of the plan you are talking about. Even on the day Gordon was signed, most Piston fans knew he wasn’t a star or worth the money we were throwing out. Chicago let him walk for nothing rather than pay him the exact salary we offered. Villanueva played well in a contract year and Dumars completely fell for it.”

        I didn’t want to respond to this but I realize I didn’t explain what I meant by the statement: “market in his favor”, very well.  So, here goes:

        Instead of bidding for the best players services and paying a premium because everyone is attempting to acquire this player.  Joe goes for players that appear to be reaching their prime and show the possibility for improvement.  Thus, playing less for this player because the demand is less and the perceived value of this player is less.  This is what I meant by the market being in his favor.  If everything works out like it did for Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton then he fields a pretty good team without going over the cap.  This is simple economics. 

        This failed with CV and Ben Gordan but his full plan never materialized.  So we will never know how that would have worked out because individually the players are fair to good but together as a team they could be better than they are individually. 

        We also have to remember the options that were available at the time.  That wasn’t exactly a strong free agent class.  And if Joe would have waited too long he might not have been able to move players and receive cap flexibility because their value would have declined over time.  Joe did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.  This is all you can ask from your GM.  It’s too easy to look back and say that this worked and that didn’t and then critisize the person making those decision when, if you honestly think about it, there is not much you could have done differently.

  • Oct 17, 20125:24 pm
    by apa8ren9


    Glad to see some Dumars love for once.  Maybe thats too much – some Dumars appreciation.  Ive been a Joe D defender and there have been mistakes along the way and he has been rightfully criticized.  
    I used to be a big critic of the Pistons after the Bad Boys era and they way they did business but once I understood why they did it, every decision they made, made sense.  I didnt always agree but I understood why. I can remember two times recently when leadership was pivital for the Pistons.   Once when Tom”Im smarter than everyone else” Wilson ran the Pistons and D. Collins lost Allan Houston.  What happened?  We lowballed Houston then followed it up with a panic trade.  The “Teal” era was then lost.
    The second was right after Joe took over and Grant Hill left.  What happened? Joe D righted the ship. And won a Championship and we had a 6 yr ride at the top.  This all happened on his watch. If Im going down (basketball wise).  Im going down with Dumars.  He’s provided me with good basketball for the entire time he has been associated with the Pistons.

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