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Phil Jackson blames Joe Dumars for Pistons hiring Maurice Cheeks

Phil Jackson, in a Q&A with Sam Amick of USA Today:

Q: With that in mind, the natural question is what does that mean going forward? That was a unique situation, but do you see opportunity elsewhere that you like?

A: There are a few (opportunities), but I shouldn’t name them. It wouldn’t be right to talk about it, name anything. But yeah, there are some. There are winners and losers in the NBA, and a lot of people are trying to reclaim their position or change their culture or whatever. So yeah, there is. I’ve had conversations. Some of them are feelers. "Are you interested?" type of thing. I did go out to Detroit last year and sit with (Pistons President) Joe (Dumars). I guess we weren’t successful, but I really encouraged (Pistons owner) Tom Gores that the general manager has to be able to pick his coach so they can win it together. And Joe wanted Maurice, so it didn’t work out, unfortunately for Maurice. I developed a relationship with the owner, who lives in LA. We have conversations.

Q: So is that still an ongoing relationship?

A: I’m just like an adviser, an unpaid adviser. So far, my advice hasn’t been too great (laughs).

Q: Well at least they’re not wasting their money on you…

A: Tom is a generous guy, but I really don’t want to make him feel like it’s more than it is. It’s a professional kind of opinion that I have. But I like their chances as they go forward. They had some curious free agent (selections) but I like their young guys. (Andre) Drummond is good.

Phil Jackson, advising in the Pistons’ last coaching search, didn’t get his apparent choice of Brian Shaw. But it’s interesting Jackson, if you take him at his word, told Tom Gores it was important Joe Dumars get to pick his own coach.

Obviously, that coach, Maurice Cheeks, failed in Detroit – and if Jackson’s re-telling of events is accurate, Dumars deserves blame for hiring Cheeks. Jackson also deserves credit for understanding how a functional franchise runs best, even if his own place at the table undermined the Pistons’ cohesiveness.

It sounds like Jackson is still filling his role as unpaid advisor. I wonder how Jackson will will fit in Gores’ plans this offseason.

Jackson is unproven as a general manager, though I’d strongly consider taking a chance on him in that role. But first I’d push for him to also coach for a couple years, groom his replacement and then slide into a solely front-office position.

48 Comments

  • Mar 3, 20145:00 pm
    by Windy

    Reply

    It also sounds like Jackson doesnt like the pickups of jennings and Smith, not hard to believe…you would think that if your going to ask for Jacksons advice on a coach you might want to bend his ear when dumping 80 million dollars on two awful shooters 

    • Mar 3, 20145:27 pm
      by Brady Fredericksen

      Reply

      You’re giving Jackson the benefit of the doubt. He never said anything about personnel — just Cheeks. Hell, he could have been the one that informed Gores of Josh Smith’s existence because I have a hard time believing that Gores had been a long-time admirer of him, haha.

      • Mar 3, 20145:36 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        “They had some curious free agent (selections) but I like their young guys. (Andre) Drummond is good.”
         
        That was the end of that interview snippet. I don’t know that he’s saying he doesn’t like Smith or Jennings, but that seems like a reasonable reading of that answer.

        • Mar 3, 20145:44 pm
          by Brady Fredericksen

          Reply

          true, but either way, you can clump every acquisition — Smith, Jennings, Billups and Datome — in the same bucket of garbage from this season.

      • Mar 3, 20147:05 pm
        by joe dumars

        Reply

        Joe has been trying to Smith in a Pistons uniform for years.

  • Mar 3, 20145:07 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Ok after reading the last 3 stories if I had to take a guess it seems to me that Gores wants Jackson as his next GM with Chauncey as his right hand man. All the pieces are there for Phil if he wants to take the reins but the thing is he more than likely could have a choice of almost any GM role that was to become vacant.
     
    Would i want Phil as our next GM? Yes i would but only if his heart was 100% in it which I doubt that it would be. The other thing that would annoy me would be that he would almost always certainly ALWAYS be linked to some kind of rumour linking him to the Lakers or Knicks which is something a franchise doesn’t need (rumours about your GM).
     
    The last thing I want to touch on is Jackson washing his hands of all the blame of the hiring of Cheeks. Do I believe that this was all Dumars?? No I don’t and I must admit that I think that Phil has let Joe put the noose on his own neck fully well knowing the end game which is where we are now. I mean why else would Jackson be saying what he is now.
     
     
    Finally I really don’t think Jackson has any intention on joining the Pistons in any capacity and that he is just using us to get to where he really wants to be and that is a majority control of the Knicks or Lakers. That’s right we are just the ugly girl (hood rat) from the club that Phil is taking home to get an empty.

    • Mar 3, 20145:57 pm
      by labatts

      Reply

      I hope you are wrong, because I would love to have him here… but I think you are right =/

    • Mar 3, 20145:59 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Also when I said that all the pieces are there for Jackson I meant Drummond and cap space. He could dangle Monroe and and cut the fat of Jennings and Smith.

      • Mar 3, 20146:14 pm
        by Ken

        Reply

        I agree. I think Phil could find a team to take Smith/Jennings. 
         
         

    • Mar 3, 20146:10 pm
      by Ken

      Reply

      I hadn’t thought about Chauncey’s possible involvement, but I could see something like that happening with Phil/Chauncey.
       
      There was an interview on the radio earlier today where Chris Mannix of SI said he thinks Phil would take the job here as President, if offered, but he doesn’t think Phil wants an everyday GM position.
       
      That’s where Chauncey could come in. He would have no problem living here and working at the Palace on a daily basis, while Phil could operate out of LA, but do all the major work like recruiting FAs, trade talks with other front office’s over the phone, etc, collaborating with Chauncey on roster decisions and building the team.
       
      I could see those two working well together, actually. Chauncey’s a no-ego type of a guy and both understand what it take to win championships.
       
      Phil as President, Chauncey as GM….Sign me up!
       
       

  • Mar 3, 20146:14 pm
    by Hardy

    Reply

    I will first and foremost give Phil Jackson his respect as one of the greatest coaches who has coached in the game, BUT he has never in his career put together a team NEVER. When he has gotten most of his teams there were only a few minor moves that were made by West, Reisendorf and Kupchak that made his coaching look like he was a genius. Anybody that is a fan (Piston) has to remember all the @#itty remarks he always made about the Pistons past and current. As a fan (Piston) I would never want Jackson as my GM, but as a business minded Gores I would salivate all over the idea of Jackson coming to Auburn Hills.  As we all know Jackson is good at posturing in the media but is Gores willing to bite?

    • Mar 3, 20146:23 pm
      by Ken

      Reply

      Get over it, dude.
       
      The Lakers hated Phil too in the 80s/90s. Then they saw an opportunity where he could help their franchise, and he won them 5 championships. I’d say them getting over their hate for Phil turned out to be a wise choice.
       
      With the state this team is in right now, if Phil is willing to come and help, no fan in their right mind should be turning it down over some BS from 20 years ago.
       
      We aren’t in a position too be picky here. When all-time greats come calling, we need to accept their call. True he doesn’t have experience building a team himself, but neither do any of these young assistant GM candidates who we would likely be hiring instead, if not Phil. I know he’s a heck of a lot more qualified to get an opportunity than they are, that’s for sure.
       
      There’s no proven, experienced GMs to be had. They are all employed by other teams or too old. You either gamble on a nobody young assistant, or on the all-time winningest person in basketball history. I’ll take the latter 10 times out of 10

      • Mar 3, 20146:45 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        So you take a guy because he’s a good coach but might not be a good GM every time over someone who is a good front office executive but might not be a good GM, despite the fact that the second guy has been doing a job more closely related to what a GM does. I’m not saying it’s a slam dunk that the young assistant would be the better hire, but I don’t think Phil should just automatically trump every candidate because he was successful in what amounts to a very different job. Phil’s coaching career makes him a strong candidate, but it dosn’t guarantee he is the best one and the team should be trying to get the best candidate for the job.

        • Mar 3, 20149:27 pm
          by JYD for Life

          Reply

          There are a few reasons he might be the best though: 
          - He wouldn’t hesitate to instill a winning culture from top to bottom 
          - He focuses on things like fundamentals as he mentions in that interview (he said something about his practices looking like they run drills 7th graders would) 
          - He would be a tremendous recruiting asset (look at what Riley did in Miami – Phil can have that type of impact wherever he ends up)
           
          Where he could struggle: 
          - Never having been the primary guy evaluating talent and making those decisions 
          - Has the potential to be an absentee leader (no interest in having him run the team from LA with Gores) 
          - Is he into it?  He’s up there in age. 
           
          Either way, I think if he’s at the top and making the final say, that’s probably where he’s best suited.  I don’t truly believe he wants to spend all hours of the day researching guys or looking at ways to build this thing back up.  If he’s brought in as a figurehead, I’d be ok with that.  Put a young, highly educated guy underneath him to manage and a guy (maybe like Chauncey) to evaluate talent with him.  
          Phil doesn’t seem afraid of collaboration and that’s why I think he had success as a coach.  That could translate well to a management role. 

          • Mar 3, 201410:30 pm
            by Max

            I’m with Hardy and would have an incredibly hard time stomaching a Jackson regime and especially after the shabby way Dumars is being treated by a lot of supposed Piston fans.  But why am I surprised by this latest heresy when the last week has featured a lot of Piston’s fans treating the franchises’ absolutest greats like unwanted trash?  At least there is now an obvious silver lining to Laimbeer never getting his shot to coach in Detroit since the fans would have turned on him too by now and he’d be public enemy #3 behind Dumars and Thomas.  Maybe Jackson will bring Pippen into the the fold and Piston fans can really revel in the let bygones be bygones gooey gobbledygook.   If they hire Jackson, I hope they go back to the teal cause they won’t be my Pistons anymore. 
            @Ken  You say “Get over it dude”.  You might as well ask me to get over my heart but you might not know cause you might not have one.   Why root for a team anyway if you have no sense of loyalty or history?  And the Lakers hated Jackson too?   That was nothing compared to rivalry of Pistons Bulls. Nothing.  

          • Mar 4, 201412:11 am
            by JYD for Life

            Max – what more do you need to see from Joe? 
            up until about the trade deadline, I was all for letting him figure things out.  When nothing happened, it became clear that Smith, Jennings and Cheeks were his doing.  
            While I’ve been on the record stating he needs time for the deals to shake out and there has to be a plan…well at this point, I’ve seen enough.  I’ve also watched enough Josh Smith in my life to know that he’s not the solution for most teams, specifically a team with a very impressionable young core.  
             
            I can walk through the logic of CV and BG and draft choices (which he’s done well with), but this plan, or lack thereof, has proven to be an unmitigated disaster.  
            Hes got a great eye for talent, but has failed as an executive to set a standard for conduct, process and I seriously question his ability to move this team forward.  
             
            You can love Zeke for what he did here, but the CBA, Toronto, NY, Central Florida (or wherever he was) give more than enough examples why he shouldn’t be managing anything.  Especially not our Pistons.  
            we can admire him for his accomplishments on the court, but it is in no way disrespectful to point out his shortcomings as an executive.  That doesn’t mean we don’t love hIm and certainly means we should not give him a job just because he was a great player.  
             
            Bill is an asshole.  there is a reason he hasn’t received a head coaching job Anywhere in the league and specifically with Detroit.   It has nothing to do with the level of respect anyone has for what he did as a player.  
             
             
             
             
             

        • Mar 4, 20146:34 am
          by JYD for Life

          Reply

          What about Grant Hill paired with a stat wonder boy from a good staff and Chauncey as the talent/recruiting side? 
          Incoherent thought, but it’s 5:30 am as I’m beginning my day.  
           

  • Mar 3, 20146:16 pm
    by Gordbrown

    Reply

    Just to be the Devil’s advocate, but its your interpretation that Cheeks failed. Yes he failed because Gores fired him, but that turned out to be a big fucking mistake. I’ve thought and continue to think that both Gores and this blog should check out the fallacy of “confirmation bias” And Gores should learn his lesson and not fuck things up so badly in the future. CF also Sunday’s Freep article.

    • Mar 3, 20146:24 pm
      by Gordbrown

      Reply

      Futher to this can anybody state that Loyer was giving Cheeks good advice that he was ignoring? There is no evidence that that was the case at all.

    • Mar 3, 20146:25 pm
      by Ken

      Reply

      The fallacy of confirmation bias? wtf are you talking about?

      • Mar 3, 20146:33 pm
        by Gordbrown

        Reply

        People often see what they expect to see, not what is actually there. Or perhaps it is a mistake to fire a coach when the team is on a hot streak. Or that the nadir of this year’s season under Cheeks was the peak of last season’s performance under Frank (the coach that Gores hired).

        • Mar 3, 20146:47 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          Through 50 games Cheeks won 21 games. Last year the team had won 18. Considering the team splurged on talent upgrades in Smith and Jennings, plus the fact that the competition is way worse, I’m not convinced that Cheeks actually had the team playing any better at all.

    • Mar 3, 20146:30 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      I thought Cheeks was a bad coach when he was hired, and I think he did a bad job. Just because I was predisposed to think Cheeks was going to do a bad job doesn’t make me wrong. He had the team performing worse than I projected while the conference was weaker than I expected. That’s bad coaching in my book. I also think you should look up “argument from fallacy.”

    • Mar 4, 201411:04 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      @gord:

      Cheeks was a bad hire, he did a predictably bad job and firing him was certainly weirdly timed but definitely the right call. Cheeks failed. Dumars failed. Gores failed. Not really sure what is left for us to parse out here.

  • Mar 3, 20147:17 pm
    by Sop

    Reply

    Jackson would never live in Michigan. Too much of a soft ass bitch. You have to be one badass muthafucka to choose to live with these winters when you can live anywhere else.

    • Mar 3, 20147:20 pm
      by joe dumars

      Reply

      He coached in Chicago. Living in Illinois isn’t exactly paradise during the winter time either.

    • Mar 3, 201410:37 pm
      by Gordbrown

      Reply

      Jackson grew up in Montana and North Dakota and went to College in North Dakota.

      • Mar 4, 20149:28 am
        by Patti #1

        Reply

        That was a long time ago and I think he’s pretty comfy these days in California, working out with his trainer and giving his opinion to whomever will listen over lunch.
         

    • Mar 4, 20146:42 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      More to the point, living in Michigan isn’t that hard. I moved there after living in the tropics for 15 years where people start putting on sweaters or jackets if the temperature falls to the low 80s. And the transition wasn’t particularly arduous.

    • Mar 4, 20148:35 am
      by Jeremy

      Reply

      More to the point, from the same article that Dan is quoting from:
      Q: So where are you spending most of your time these days?
      A: I spend it in L.A. I split my time, but I spend more of it in L.A. The winter’s a little bit daunting in Montana. I’m going up there this week though, this coming week. My youngest son is getting married in June, and he’s having a bachelor party up there. They’ve invited me to the bachelor party.
      Him wintering in L.A. is no different than senior citizens from Michigan migrating to Florida in the winter. Furthermore, if he were to accept any position here, he won’t be spending his entire time locked in the Palace. He’d have 41 road games he could get out of MI (the same number he would have with any team he accepted a position from ), 15 of which would be in cities that are well known to get snow during the NBA season (once again, approximately the same number he would have with any team he accepted a position from). Plus he would have scouting trips. Needless to say, I don’t think the weather is what he would be thinking about when making that decision.

  • Mar 3, 20148:05 pm
    by Holy Crow

    Reply

    Phil Jackson can take his back-stabbing act elsewhere, we already have a legendary GM who has a solid group of very young players and a sound plan going forward. This is just the kind of drama that has NEVER been practiced by the Piston organization, and I cannot remember any instance where Our Beloved Team went public with any criticism of any member of the NBA family. There is a sportsmanship award named after Joe Dumars, perhaps a poor sportsmanship award named after Phil Jackson is in order.

    • Mar 3, 201410:33 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      Holy Crow just restored my faith in Pistons’ fans.  Thank you.  You’re a champ! 

    • Mar 4, 20146:38 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      “we already have a legendary GM who has a solid group of very young players and a sound plan going forward”

      A group that loses three games for every two it wins is solid? And what is this plan going forward?

      If the Pistons are very lucky this offseason, they can get a lottery pick and sign one solid FA to replace Stuckey. Will that be enough to turn a .400 team into instant contenders? I highly doubt it. And they will need to be because they only have a two year window before Drummond is making max money.

      For the Pistons to become a force, Jennings and Smith and Monroe probably have to start playing really well. I don’t see that happening, but it’s on the outskirts of theoretical possibility. However, if Jennings does so, he’ll be getting a substantial raise in that 2016 offseason, too. With Smith, Monroe, and Drummond all making big money, I doubt the Pistons would be able/willing to pay Jennings a lot as well. Even if they do, then they’ll probably need to let Smith walk the following offseason.

      So this “solid group” going forward will basically be Monroe, Drummond, and Jennings plus maybe one other decent but unspectacular FA. Given what you’ve seen this year, do you really think that’s enough to contend?

      • Mar 4, 20149:39 am
        by Holy Crow

        Reply

        How did you teach your seeing-eye dog to type?

        • Mar 4, 201410:27 am
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          I get the feeling that is supposed to be an insult, but I can’t quite follow it. You’re trying to imply that I’m blind, but why? To suggest I haven’t seen any Pistons’ games and only have the radio to go on, maybe? I’m trying to decide whether you’re really bad at insulting or I’m really bad at being insulted…

          Anyway, once more, what is this “sound plan going forward”?

    • Mar 4, 201410:53 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      @Max and Holy Crow:

      You two are forming quite the clown army together. Can’t wait to see who else you enlist.

      I’m glad your faith in a regime that, once this season is complete, will have constructed the same number of losing teams (seven) as winning ones (seven) over the past 14 seasons, is so strong.

      The rest of us live in reality where results, and not “I really liked Joe Dumars when he was a player!,” should matter most in someone keeping their job.

      Now please tell me about that championship they won a decade ago. I know you’re DYING to remind everyone.

      • Mar 5, 20141:50 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Love how you mention a championship a mere ten years ago like you are spitting out bad milk.   You know the majority of NBA teams have never won a championship and a lot of the ones that have haven’t won in 40-60 years.   Most teams and fan bases would love to say they won ten years ago so yeah, since you brought it up, I do want to bring the title Dumars constructed.  

  • Mar 3, 201411:12 pm
    by James

    Reply

    Be very careful what you ask for in Phil Jackson as your GM. Hell, he couldn’t even come back as coach on a team where his lady is the daughter of the OWNER! Wonder why? I certainly don’t, they know him well enough to  NOT WANT HIM AROUND ANYMORE! NO THANKS PHIL, BEAT IT!!!

    • Mar 4, 201410:59 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Um … because the owner you’re referring to is dead and his idiot son is now running the team and didn’t want Phil because he didn’t want Phil to get credit for turning the Lakers around last season because he wanted the credit for himself? I feel like this was fairly well documented in media last year.

  • Mar 3, 201411:22 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    phil jackson is up for grabs.. so Gores.. get him!

  • Mar 4, 201412:07 am
    by Chris

    Reply

    Any candidate who’s won 11 NBA Championships in any capacity Im willing to give a shot.

    • Mar 4, 20149:18 am
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      I guess you are also someone who thinks that Erik Spoelstra is one of the current best coaches in the NBA right now too.  It’s one thing to win championships because you out coached other teams and another when you have the best players in the NBA on your team.
       
      Phil has never built a team or even coached up young players, he’s only managed egos of some of the greatest NBA players of all time.

      • Mar 4, 201410:58 am
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Spoelstra is one of the best coaches in the NBA. He won 43 games and stretched the Hawks to seven games in the first round as a rookie coach with Heat team that featured Dwyane Wade and a collection of stiffs like Jermaine O’Neal’s corpse, Michael Beasley as the team’s second option on offense and no point guard to speak of.

        Spo is a great coach and Phil Jackson was a great coach. Have they had the benefit of insane talent? Sure, that’s obviously the No. 1 factor in their success. But that doesn’t mean they’re not really good at what they do. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to manage some of the egos that those guys have dealt with over the years. 

        • Mar 4, 201411:53 am
          by JYD for Life

          Reply

          Also keep in mind that winners tend to gravitate to other winners.  
          Riley has that Godfather-esque quality about him that Phil certainly has as well…he would change the losing culture that has been developed over the past six years.  
           
          My only concen about Phil is how often he would be around Detroit with his family in Montana and wife in LA full time.   

      • Mar 4, 20144:40 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        @ MIKEYDE248. I don’t get how anyone could watch the Heat and not realize Spoelstra is a good coach. He has come up with a very unusual system to maximize the talents of his players. He is willingly giving up on the ability to rebound in order to free up Wade and James to free lance more than any other defenders in the league, and it works wonderfully. When the Heat turn up the intensity they are one of the best defenses in the league because of the havoc that Wade and James can create. Their offense also looks tailor made for James to do his thing, something the Cavs never even attempted to do. I’m a little less impressed by that since it shouldn’t be hard to come up with an offense that uses LeBron well, but they are a really intelligently designed offense that could be tweaked to work effectively even with lesser talents. I’d go with Pop as the best coach and Carlisle second, but I think I’d put Spoelstra in that third spot for best coaches in the league.

  • Mar 4, 20148:45 am
    by Jon from Ferndale

    Reply

    I think we’re building castles in the sky.  If Phil Jackson becomes Pistons GM, it’ll be a dream.  We’d be living the dream. 

  • Mar 4, 20147:24 pm
    by Chronik K.I.D.

    Reply

    Hopefully Phil Jackson comes over this way and runs the front office!

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