Longtime Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars is expected to resign from his position prior to July 1, according to multiple reports. Dumars’ contract expires July 1, but his resignation will allow the Pistons to find a replacement and begin to rebuild their roster earlier in the offseason. Dumars experienced quite a bit of success early in the 2000s with the Pistons, including winning the 2004 NBA Championship. However, his failures in recent seasons have proven that it is in the Pistons’ best interest to go in a new direction.
Dumars has left the Pistons in a very difficult position with his decisions over the last few seasons. In 2012 the team traded Ben Gordon and future first rounder to the Charlotte Bobcats for Corey Maggette, and the Pistons may end up losing that pick this season. The pick is top 8 protected, and Detroit is currently projected to have the eight pick. If they do end up keeping this year’s selection, they will lose it either next year when it’s only top 1 protected, or in 2016 when it is unprotected.
Dumars used the cap space created in that trade to make the incredibly ill advised decisions to sign Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to large contracts (Jennings was a sign and trade who cost the team Brandon Knight). The cap space spent on those two players could end up costing the Pistons Greg Monroe this offseason, and it cripples their flexibility going forward. The one thing Dumars did right was land Andre Drummond, but Detroit does not have the flexibility needed to build around him.
All this makes it clear that it is time for Dumars and the Pistons to part ways, and Detroit needs to make the right hire to run their front office. Any prospective GM they bring in will have to find a way to start cleaning up their cap situation, ideally by trading Smith. Unfortunately, that will be very difficult to do, and they may be forced to allow Monroe to leave and try playing Smith at power forward next season. Either way, the front line of Smith, Monroe and Drummond clearly will not work.
Of course, adding young talent will be difficult without a first round pick in one of the next couple drafts and with only limited cap space. This will be the fifth straight season Detroit misses the playoffs, but they are lucky to be in the extremely weak Eastern Conference and could be a playoff team as early as next season. However, they are very far away from returning to championship contention. Whoever takes over this team is fighting an uphill battle, but the job will still be appealing due to the presence of Drummond. At least Dumars left one parting gift to the organization that he has run into the ground over the last few seasons.