Well, barring a miracle, Detroit will miss the postseason for the fifth straight season.
Is Dumars’ job still safe?
Whether there is a front-office overhaul or not, Gores said it not a decision that will be allowed to fester.
“Yeah, after the season, we’re going to address it right away,” he said. “We have to. We have to let the season play out, then we’ve got to get it done.”
The last time Gores said he’d make a decision quickly after the season, he fired Lawrence Frank.
At this point, it would be shocking to see Dumars return. His contract expires after season, and he’s really stumbled these last several years. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were disastrous signings in 2009, and Dumars sent what could be a prime lottery pick to the Bobcats to escape Gordon’s deal one year early. He used the resulting cap space on Josh Smith, who might require a lottery sweetener of his own attached to any trade that sends him out.
Gores also addressed Maurice Cheeks’ firing, making this the first time he or Dumars has spoken publicly about it.
“I feel it was the right thing to do and I feel good about it,” Gores said in his first public comments on the firing, save for a press release. “This is a very young team, a very young team. So we have to put them in a position grow as much as possible, and I felt like they were not in a position to grow as much as possible. So I feel good about it.”
Gores said interim coach John Loyer is “doing a great job,” even if that hasn’t been reflected in the standings.
“The team is better than their record,” Gores said. “They just are. They’re better than their record. So I wouldn’t say they didn’t respond. I would say that they’re just doing their best right now. I believe in these guys. I believe in this team.”
Gores seemingly went over Dumars to fire Cheeks, further indicating Dumars is on his way out. That Gores still stands by the firing so resolutely shows he’s not exactly re-thinking his plan in order to give Dumars more control.
In so many ways, the writing is on the wall.
To give Gores credit, it was good for the franchise he addressed the Cheeks firing – even if the circumstances were eye-roll-inducing. Gores never should have gone this long without speaking to the media about Cheeks, and it shouldn’t have take a game a month-and-a-half later in Los Angeles, where Gores lives and the Pistons played the Clippers Saturday, for it to happen.
But the Pistons are honoring the 25th anniversary of their first championship when they play the Heat on Friday. It would have been poor taste to distract from those festivities to address Cheeks (and even poorer taste to keep ignoring it). By getting it out of the way, Gores can put the attention back on members of that 1988-89 team and those celebrating them Friday.
Though that might backfire.
I suspect Dumars – and, if he’s introduced to the crowd, Gores – will be be booed heartily by Detroit fans.