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Samuelsen: Anybody But Isiah For The Pistons

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DETROIT - 1984:  Isiah Thomas #11 of the Detroit Pistons has a laugh on the bench during a 1984 NBA game at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

DETROIT – 1984: Isiah Thomas #11 of the Detroit Pistons has a laugh on the bench during a 1984 NBA game at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

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By: Jamie Samuelsen
@jamiesamuelsen

There seems to be a belief among Pistons fans that the team is automatically better off now that Joe Dumars is gone; that anyone would be better than him to run this franchise right now.

I think that’s a little unfair to Joe. The last few years were rough. But there was a time when he was considered to be one of the best executives in the sport. And if you think that anyone would be better than Dumars, that list of anyones better not include Isiah Thomas.

Thomas would be a disaster.

There was already a report last month that Thomas and Pistons owner Tom Gores dined together in Los Angeles. The Pistons claimed that they were simply planning the Bad Boys 25th Anniversary reunion held last month at the Palace. Are you buying that? Gores is an absentee owner who has yet to show any pulse about this team or its improvement. And we’re expected to believe he became some sort of glorified party planner for the celebration? Were he and Isiah discussing the guest list? Perhaps what wine selection to serve at the reunion party? Did they spend 20 minutes debating whether or not Fennis Dembo should get an invite? Please. Both Gores and Thomas have people for those tasks. And those people probably have people who probably have people.
If Thomas and Gores dined together, the topic of conversation was not the 1989 Pistons, it was the 2014 Pistons. Thomas would love to get back into basketball and Gores seems like the type of owner who loves names.
The question then becomes whether Thomas would be the right choice for the job. And the answer is a definitive no. His drafting record is strong, bringing the likes of Tracy McGrady, Marcus Camby, Damon Stoudamire and David Lee into the league. His trade record and signing record is atrocious. I won’t run down the litany of cap-busting moves he made as the GM of the New York Knicks, but you’re welcome to click on this link to see just how he fared. The trade I like in particular is where he moved the picks that turned into Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge in exchange for an overweight Eddy Curry, an over-the-hill Antonio Davis and a draft pick. That’s some hoops acumen on display right there.
There’s also the fact that he and the Knicks were found liable for sexual harassment involving former employee Anucha Browne-Sanders that ended in a reported $11.5-million settlement paid out by Knicks ownership.

So if Thomas was introduced as the Pistons GM, Gores could announce his record, his playoff series wins (zero) and his lawsuit money and why he’s the perfect fit to turn the Pistons into winners. All things considered, I’d prefer Dumars. And it’s not even close.

And ask yourself this question – if Thomas were such a hot commodity, would any of the other 29 NBA teams even give him a sniff? Not a chance. The Pistons shouldn’t be any different even though his greatest basketball moments occurred in a Pistons jersey.

The Pistons need something to fire up this franchise and this fan base. The thought of the greatest player in team history returning to the fold is intriguing at face value. But a closer look makes you realize that this would be nothing more than a publicity stunt at the start, and an absolute mess by the end. Let Thomas remain a hero in the one NBA city in America where he’s beloved. Let’s remember his days as a warrior and a winner and not let him sully that image with an undeserved run taking over the team that needs so much more than a living legend in charge.

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