Joe Dumars is sticking around

Pistons GM steps down, but stays with franchise

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - It should come as no surprise.

No, not that Joe Dumars stepped down as general manager of the Pistons, but that he's sticking around with the franchise.

Dumars, who was GM for 14 years and with the organization for 29 years, has his fingerprints all over.

In fact, Dumars is the only person attached to all three of the team's NBA championships. He won two as a player and the other one in 2014 as the architect, building that team from scratch.
Say what you want about Dumars, but he got the job done here in Motown. He won here.

Dumars is happy with the new arrangement, make no mistake about it.

Before the season, Dumars talked to this columnist about this entire plan, one in which he would give up the GM duties and stay with the team in an overseer-type position.

Of course, Joe D. - who added Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to the roster - had high hopes that this year's team would make the playoffs, not lose 50 games.

Nonetheless, Dumars was never going to be shown the door, thrown out like a bum who was terrible and never accomplished anything.

There was a lot of that chatter on sports-talk radio over the last few months. But it was unwarranted, unfair.

Some even compared Dumars' tenure to Alan Trammell's three-year disaster with the Tigers. For the record, Tram lost an American League-record 119 games in 2003.

Sorry, the two aren't even close.

It's hard to build a championship team and win it all, especially in the NBA. Dumars did it.

That's why Dumars survived the ownership change and was kept by new owner Tom Gores three seasons ago.

That's not to say that the calls for Joe D.'s head weren't natural and come with the gig, especially when your team wasn't winning as expected.

Plus, Dumars had been in a job a long time. You don't get to keep these kind of jobs for life. It's not like being the Pope.

ans only care about what have you done lately. And the lately wasn't nearly as amazing as the beginning was.

Still, under Dumars' watch, the Pistons went to six straight Eastern Conference finals (2003-2008). They went to the NBA Finals two years in a row, winning it in 2004 and losing in seven games in 2005.

Most NBA teams would die to have been in the mix that often, better yet, actually win a championship.

It's so hard to win a title in the Association. Just ask Knicks fans, who haven't won since 1973. Or fans in Cleveland, Phoenix and Sacramento. None of those teams have ever won.

Dumars has to be proud with what he did in bringing Detroit another title. It's still the ultimate goal, the bottom line. And it wasn't easy. When Joe D. took over, the Pistons were down and out. Remember, Grant Hill left for free agency when Dumars took over.

Dumars didn't fret. He simply went to work. The team Dumars built of mostly misfits beat the Los Angeles Lakers, who had four potential Hall of Famers on their roster, was some feat.
You will probably never see a "real" team win another title without a single superstar.

Dumars, a major factor in all three championships the Pistons have won, is the only African American GM in the NBA who has won a title as both a player and an GM.

That honor didn't mean Joe D. should get to keep his job forever.

It's just that many others have lasted longer in such a job with no championship results. Enter Donnie Walsh. He was a GM for more than 20 years with both the Indiana Pacers and Knicks. He never won a title.

There are a lot of Donnie Walshes working in the NBA. It's hard to win in that league, especially if you don't have one or two of the top five players in the league.

Not an excuse, a fact.

Somehow, Dumars did. It's something not to forget.

Don't feel bad for Dumars, though. Most would love to have accomplished what he has both on and off the court.

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