Gores Should Make Fans Feel Good About Pistons' Future

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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Pistons? fans should feel good about the future of their team for two reasons.

The biggest is new owner Tom Gores, who held a news conference on Thursday following NBA approval of the sale of the team from Karen Davidson.

Gores, 46, is all you want in an owner. He?s rich, young, energetic, into sports and has been a winner in his professional career. There?s little doubt that Gores wants to return the Pistons to a championship-caliber franchise.

"We need to go back to core values," Gores said to the media at The Palace. "It?s hard work, you go to practice and the winning will come."

For sure, there will be changes in Auburn Hills after back-to-back non-playoff seasons, one thing that won?t change is the man that will be in charge.

As reported on ClickOnDetroit.com two months ago, Gores announced Thursday that Pistons president Joe Dumars will keep his gig.

It says a lot about Dumars to survive an ownership change. But it also says even more about Gores, a billionaire California investor. He?s not going to make changes for the sake of making changes. He believes in Dumars?s ability.

"We?re going to lean on him pretty heavy," Gores said. "He knows basketball and we?re going to push Joe. "He knows that. Our job is to challenge Joe."

Dumars, who has been team president since the 2000-2001 season and won an NBA championship in 2004, is expected to be able to make moves after basically having his hands tied the last year and a half since the team was put up for sale.

In 2002-2003, Dumars, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006, was named Executive of the Year. Most executives never survive when a new owner takes over. It just makes sense for a new owner to bring in his own people.

In fact, there had been a lot of speculation that Dumars, who turned 48 in May, would get the axed. But Gores never considered it. He understands Dumars? valve to the franchise.

After all, Dumars, the 1989 Finals MVP, has spent his entire professional career with the Pistons. First, he was a star guard for 14 seasons. Since his retirement in 1999, Dumars has been in the Pistons? front office.

The Pistons have won three championships in their history and Dumars? name is attached to all of them. Only three players in NBA history have ever won a championship as a player and from the front office.

Gores, a Michigan native from the Flint area, sounded like he both knows what it takes to put a winner together and is smart enough to hire people who can make the moves about things he doesn?t know. Gores, no stranger to the success the Pistons had the last decade, knows Dumars? worth and what he?s capable of doing. For sure, the last three seasons have been frustrating, but those in the NBA would have snapped up Dumars quickly if he had become available. He?s been able to build a winning team without breaking the bank with the payroll. All owners want someone who can pull that off.

It?s kind of funny that some are painting the Pistons? current state as impossible to fix. It was what most said in 2000 when Dumars took over the helm.

The Palace was empty, there was a bad mix of players on the roster. Worse, Grant Hill bolted for free agency. Dumars didn?t panic. Instead, he did one of the best jobs in turning a franchise around in pro sports, not just the NBA.

Better yet, the team he assembled won a championship without a star player and without a bloated payroll. When the Pistons won, they were in the middle of the pack in salary, not at the top. And the Los Angeles Lakers, the team the Pistons beat in five games in 2004 NBA Finals, had four potential Hall of Famers on their roster.

The Pistons, of course, have a lot of work to get back there.

But if his first move is any indication, Gores is off to a good start as new owner.

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