After a disappointing season in which the Detroit Pistons failed to make the playoffs in a very weak Eastern Conference, the team announced today that Joe Dumars will step aside as President of Basketball Operations, effective immediately. The team already has launched a search for a replacement.
Dumars, a standout guard for the Pistons in his playing days, will continue his relationship with the franchise as an advisor to the organization and its ownership team. He was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2003, and NBA Executive of the Decade in 2009 by The Sporting News.
“Joe Dumars is a great champion who has meant so much to this franchise and this community,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “We are turning the page with great respect for what he has accomplished not only as a player and a front office executive, but as a person who has represented this team and the NBA with extraordinary dignity.”
Despite missing the playoffs for four straight years, the Pistons had high expectations going into this season after Dumars signed athletic free agent forward Josh Smith, drafted shooter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the team's lottery pick, and traded for talented point guard Brandon Jennings. Those three, along with the impressive interior tandem of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, were expected to have the Pistons in contention for a playoff spot.
Unfortunately, young teams in the NBA historically do not win, and the Pistons (29-52) seemingly had much to learn. It did not help that the Phoenix Suns, another inexperienced team, began racking up wins in a much tougher Western Conference.
“It’s time to turn the page on a wonderful chapter and begin writing a new one,” Dumars said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people throughout the last 29 years as both a player and executive, and I’m proud of our accomplishments. Tom Gores and ownership is committed to winning and they will continue to move the franchise forward.”
During the transition, Director of Basketball Operations Ken Catanella and Assistant General Manager George David will continue preparing for the upcoming NBA Draft and free agency signing period, reporting to ownership executives Phil Norment and Bob Wentworth. Mr. Norment said the organization has developed a preliminary list of candidates that includes “the best executives in the business,” but he declined to place a specific timetable on selecting a replacement.
Drafted with the 18th selection in the first round of the 1985 NBA Draft, Dumars has spent 29 years with the Detroit Pistons organization, 14 years as a player (1985-1999) and 15 years as a member of the front office (1999-2014). The six-time NBA All-Star was named Most Valuable Player of the 1989 NBA Finals and was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2006.
Over the last 14 years as the club’s top basketball executive, Dumars guided the organization to a 595-536 (.527) regular-season record, 73 playoff wins, six Eastern Conference Finals appearances (2003-08), six Central Division titles, two Eastern Conference Championships (2004, 2005), two NBA Finals appearances, and the 2004 NBA Championship.
During an eight-year period from 2001-2009, the club won an NBA Championship (2004), compiled 423 regular-season victories, 73 playoff wins and made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals (2003-2008), the most since the Los Angeles Lakers went to six straight from 1984 to 1989.
Dumars might have extended the Pistons' successful run even longer had he not whiffed by drafting Darko Milicic with the second overall pick in 2003. Dumars instead could have chosen future All-Stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, or Dwyane Wade.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services