It has been apparent for some time that Joe Dumars is not long for the Detroit Pistons, but his exit might be coming sooner than expected. Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News reports that Dumars has told multiple NBA sources that he plans to resign from his post as president of basketball operations possibly within this week.
While many expected the team and Dumars would quietly part ways following the end of the season as his contract is in its final year, it seems that Dumars wants to go out on his own terms. With the team finally out of playoff contention and the Bad Boys celebration night in the rear-view mirror, it appears the time could be near.
The writing has been on the wall since owner Tom Gores fired Dumars' hand-picked head coach, Maurice Cheeks, just more than halfway into his first season at the helm, despite pleas from Dumars to give him more time. When Cheeks was dismissed, his lead assistant Maz Trakh also left the team and the reigns were passed to John Loyer, who has gone 7-20.
The signings of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings have been disastrous. There is no way to sugarcoat it. And it will be up to the next executive to pick up the pieces and clean up what has turned into a sizable, expensive mess. Still, there is a path forward led by budding superstar Andre Drummond, young big man Greg Monroe (whose future will be a new GM's first order of business), and quality pieces in Kyle Singler and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
There is no telling what Dumars' ultimate legacy as an executive will be with the Pistons, but I have a feeling these past few years will quickly be papered over an people will fondly recall the Hall of Fame player turned executive that brought another championship to the city, six straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances and building the Going to Work Pistons.
Rightly or wrongly, the past six years of bungled free agent signings and a large sense of inertia during a prolonged ownership change will be forgotten. Besides, you learn from your mistakes, you don't dwell on them. And as long as the organization can learn from what went wrong since the trade of Chauncey Billups then there is no reason not to be excited about the future of this franchise.
In four years, Pistons fans won't remember Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. They'll remember Ben Wallace holding up a championship trophy, Billups holding up a finals MVP and Andre Drummond as the superstar who fell to the ninth spot in the draft during those dark days of rebuilding.
It's a shame that it didn't work out for Dumars in Detroit. But he was a great player for this organization, a great man and mentor on and off the court, and if his ties from the Detroit Pistons are severed from here on out then he will be greatly missed.