Zeke is not Motown-bound

By Rob Parker, ClickOnDetroit.com Sports Columnist, @RobParkerLocal4
Published On: Mar 03 2014 04:09:46 PM EST
Updated On: Mar 03 2014 04:14:04 PM EST
Isiah Thomas

AP

DETROIT -

It sounded sexy and got a lot of play.

After all, whenever you can report that one former Detroit Pistons legend could be replacing another former Pistons legend, there will be headlines all over NBA America.

Just one thing: it's not true.

Pistons owner Tom Gores, through a spokesman, shot down the report in the New York Daily News. The report said that Isiah Thomas was the leading candidate to replace Joe Dumars as the Pistons' president and general manager.

But the owner's spokesman said it was "absolutely false" that the team was wooing Zeke to be the team's next GM.

The spokesman added in firm details about Thomas, "He's not a candidate for any job with the Pistons."

The speculation, however, was only natural. Dumars, in the gig since 2000, is in the final year of his contract and his team is currently faltering. Plus, Thomas has run a few teams, although not with a lot of success, including the New York Knicks.

Lastly, Gores and Thomas had lunch in L.A. a few weeks ago.

Apparently, however, the chow-wow was to talk about the Bad Boys reunion scheduled for later this month in Motown, celebrating the franchise's first two championships.

Without question, the Pistons - who have won three championships in their history - have fallen on hard times after an incredible near-decade long run that led to a championship in 2004.
But the team hasn't made the playoffs since 2010. And many expected them to make it this year, some even predicting them to finish as the sixth-seed in the Eastern Conference.
After a promising start -- with new additions Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings -- and big wins on the road in Miami and Indiana early in the season, the Pistons have fallen flat.

In fact, going into their game Monday night against the New York Knicks at The Palace, the Pistons had lost four in a row and seven of their last eight. Hence, if the Pistons don't rally and make it to the postseason, there's a good chance that front-office moves will be made.

Let's face it. Gores got rid of coach Mo Cheeks after just 50 games. Obviously, that was an ownership panic move, not one made by the GM. It sends a message that Gores might be ready to fire Dumars and go in a new direction. Dumars survived the ownership change and was kept by Gores three seasons ago.

The calls for Joe D.'s head are only natural and come with the gig, especially when your team isn't winning as expected. Plus, Dumars has been in the job a long time. Fans only care about what have you done lately. And the lately isn't nearly as amazing as the beginning was.

Under Dumars' watch, the Pistons went to six straight Eastern Conference finals (2003-2008). They went to the NBA Finals two years in a row, winning it in 2004 and losing in seven games in 2005. Most NBA teams would die to have been in the mix that often, better yet, actually win a championship.

It's so hard to win a title in the Association. Just ask Knicks fans, who haven't won since 1973. Or fans in Cleveland, Phoenix and Sacramento. None of those teams have ever won.

No matter what happens, Dumars got it done. It's still the ultimate goal, the bottom line. It can't be taken away from him. The team he built of mostly misfits beat the Los Angeles Lakers, who had four potential Hall of Famers on their roster. It was some feat.

You will probably never see a "real" team win another title without a single superstar.

Dumars, a major factor in all three championships the Pistons have won, is the only African American GM in the NBA who has won a title as both a player and a GM. That honor doesn't mean Joe D. gets to keep his job forever. That only happens if you're the Pope.

It's just that many others have lasted longer in such a job with no championship results. Enter Donnie Walsh. He was a GM for more than 20 years with both the Indiana Pacers and Knicks. He's never won a title.

There are a lot of Donnie Walshes working in the NBA. It's hard to win in that league, especially if you don't have one or two of the top five players in the league.

Not an excuse, a fact.

Somehow, Dumars did. It's something not to forget, no matter what happens at the end of the season.

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