By: Terry Foster
I went to the final Pistons game at the Palace Monday night and received brother man hugs from Jerry Stackhouse, Isiah Thomas and Earl Cureton.
I did not get a brother man hug from Joe Dumars because he was nowhere to be found on a special night for an organization he helped put on the road map twice. The Pistons reached out to Dumars repeatedly, but he said he is busy traveling and could not make it.
I do not believe there is a Pistons divorce with Dumars although it might seem that way. He might feel uncomfortable being around some of the players he built a championship team around. But there should be no hard feelings. Business is business. This is the man who was architect of the 2004 NBA title team and acted as Robin to Thomas on the 1989 and 1990 title teams.
There were hard feelings among players toward Dumars, who had to make hard decisions when he allowed that team to disappear into a cloud of dust. Those players believe they could have won another title or two if they were allowed to stay together.
I say Dumars didn’t act soon enough in trying to make the Pistons younger and better.
Ben Wallace wanted too much money so the Pistons allowed the Chicago Bulls to sign him to a big contract. Dumars wanted to rebrand the Pistons and get younger so he traded Chauncey Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson in order to sign free agent busts Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.
That in turn ticked off Rip Hamilton and other players.
Every move did not work, but he made them in order to transition the Pistons into a new product. It is something every team must do — but you become the villain when it’s your job to rebrand a team. You especially become the bad guy when the game plan does not work.
Here is something Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups should know about Dumars. He knew they were getting older, but he wanted to make sure his guys either got paid by the Pistons or by somebody else. They all enjoy healthy life styles in part because Dumars worked back channels to make it happen and in part because of the success they had as Pistons players.
Dumars should have been there on the final night. He is the only man left that is linked to both championship teams. Even the elusive Dennis Rodman showed up and he feels uncomfortable coming to events like this.
The official word is Dumars was traveling. If this were important to him he could have dropped other plans to be here.
Let’s get to issue two. Why was the Red Wings farewell to Joe Louis Arena so extensive while the Palace so long was kind of lame?
The Pistons have too many celebrations. The Pistons have already had a Best of Seven series this season in which former players gave speeches and told long tales. But the Pistons probably should have had Thomas, Wallace or Billups say a few words before sending the team downtown.
The Red Wings also had a much longer time to prepare for a sendoff. One guy told me the Red Wings have been preparing for their move to a new arena for 10 years. The Pistons only a few weeks.
We should also remember who Tom Wilson works for. He is the former CEO of the Pistons and has served in a similar capacity for the Red Wings since 2010. He is all about theater and innovation and demands his staff to think of bigger and brighter.
It is no coincidence that the Red Wings sendoff was much more spectacular with Wilson than the Pistons without him.
This town also celebrates grit (the JLA) more than upper crust (The Palace).