Given all the upheaval at the Palace lately -- what with so many long-time employees leaving, being fired or getting sued -- nothing should come as a surprise these days, but I will admit that today's report by Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record that Joe Dumars interviewed with the Nets over the weekend caught me off guard
Iannazzone reports the Nets interviewed both Dumars and Hornets GM Jeff Bower, two executives for teams with extremely uncertain ownership situations. Dumars issued a denial of the report via email to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, but it makes you wonder if it's simply a matter of semantics -- maybe he didn't "interview," per se, but did he have a friendly phone conversation?
At this point we just don't know, although Ellis was able to confirm New Jersey's interest in Dumars through his own sources, which makes you think if there hasn't been contact yet, it's just a matter of time until it happens.
That's a scary thought, because objectively speaking, the Nets' job looks extremely enticing -- especially in terms of having a billionaire owner who's eager to make a splash in the New York market in anticipation of the Brooklyn move, has already promised to buy a championship within five years and has enough cap space to get a head start on that goal this summer. Despite the disaster that was last year, this is a young team with a very, very bright future.
And the Pistons? Well, they have a reluctant owner who never wanted to own a team in the first place and a muddled roster with as many declining (and expensive) veterans as encouraging bright spots. Remaining with the Pistons is hardly a dead-end situation, but realistically speaking, it also can't match the excitement of an immediate turnaround in a major market. (And let's face it -- if Mikhail Prokhorov is trying to lure Dumars away, he's not going to low-ball him on a contract. General managers with a championship on their resume don't grow on trees.)
Stay tuned -- until the Nets settle on a GM, fans in Detroit shouldn't take anything for granted.
UPDATE: The Pistons issued a press release with the following statement from Dumars: “In response to today’s media reports regarding the New Jersey Nets, I can say that I do not have any interest in a basketball operations position with the Nets. My priority is to continue leading the Pistons’ basketball operations efforts and putting together a team that is ready to compete and get back on track next season.”
So that's that.