By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Could the Detroit Pistons soon be replacing one championship-winning former Piston with another in the team’s front office? According to the New York Daily News, it is a possibility.
The Daily News writes that embattled general manager Joe Dumars could lose his job after the season and that owner Tom Gores is considering Isiah Thomas as the man to replace Dumars.
Thomas and Dumars won two championships together with Detroit in 1989 and 1990. As executives, both have experienced less success, at least in recent years.
Dumars did well with the Pistons upon his arrival, building a team that won a championship in 2004, an achievement that followed the selection of Dumars as the 2003 Executive of the Year. A few years into the start of his tenure, the Pistons advanced to the six straight Eastern Conference Finals, starting with the 2002-2003 season.
In recent years, though, Dumars has faltered. Amid other puzzling draft picks, the former NBA star will always be remembered for his much-publicized draft blunder of taking Darko Milicic in 2003 instead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh or Dwayne Wade.
Moreover, the Pistons have missed the playoffs four straight years, and an expensive off-season makeover in 2013 has only yielded more issues. Detroit fired first-year coach Maurice Cheeks after just 50 games this season. Cheeks is the eighth coach Dumars has fired since he began the job more than 13 years ago.
A 12-time All-Star and Hall of Fame inductee, Thomas has not done too well in the front office either. The New York Knicks hired Thomas as their general manager in December 2003. Starting in June 2006, Thomas continued in that role and became the team’s head coach as well. The Knicks lost in the first round of the playoffs in Thomas’ first year with the team, and they failed to reach the postseason each of the next four seasons, often in spite of a sky-high payroll. His time in New York ended badly, with the Knicks losing 59 games, tied a franchise worst. (The team also lost 59 games two seasons earlier.)
Thomas’ tenure in New York was also marred by coach-player drama, particularly with Stephon Marbury. Thomas also embarrassed the organization and cost it $11.6 million because he was found to have sexually harassed former team executive Anucha Browne Sanders.
Thomas owned the Continental Basketball Association, then the NBA’s official developmental league, for which he paid $10 million in August 1999. Less than two years later, the league declared bankruptcy and folded, with team managers of that league blaming Thomas for the venture’s failure.
As coach of a perennial playoff team in the Indiana Pacers from 2000 to 2003, Thomas went 131-115, and the team made the playoffs each season but lost in the first round every time. Most recently, Thomas coached at Florida International University, which fired him in 2012. He went 26–65 at the school over three seasons.