A couple of interesting hindsight notes were in Drew Sharp’s column this weekend regarding moves that Joe Dumars was close to making only to get overruled by the cost-conscious Karen Davidson.
One of those notes I’ve heard before: that Dumars had a deal in place that would’ve sent Rip Hamilton to Utah for Carlos Boozer:
Rip Hamilton wasn’t supposed to remain a Piston following the free-agent acquisitions of Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon two summers ago. It’s long believed he was ticketed to Utah in a trade that would have brought Carlos Boozer to Detroit.
But again, Davidson interceded. The deal stalled, leaving the Pistons with an abundance of shooting guards. Even worse, it created the perception that there was no organizational plan, only a willingness to throw anything against the wall in the hope that something might stick.
Now, I’m personally a much bigger fan of contract year Carlos Boozer than regular Carlos Boozer, but no one would argue against his being a major upgrade who likely would’ve had the Pistons in the playoffs the last two seasons if that deal had gone through.
The other note referenced hiring a coach to replace Michael Curry. That coach was apparently supposed to be Avery Johnson.
The Pistons thought they had a tentative deal with Avery Johnson two years ago, but Davidson nixed the deal because she was hesitant about paying a new coach perhaps as much as $4 million annually while still paying off Flip Saunders’ contract and Michael Curry’s parting gift after one season as coach.
Again, I’m not the hugest Avery Johnson fan, but had he been the coach and not Kuester, the organization probably would have at the very least avoided some of the publicly embarrassing displays of player-coach feuds the last two seasons.
There are sure to be people who question the decision to retain Dumars. But if the two above scenarios are correct, and Dumars not only planned to have Boozer and Johnson in the mix, but had agreed to deals to get both, that certainly changes the impression of the job he’s done the last two years some. Gores would be privy to that information, I’m sure, by talking to both Dumars and Davidson, and perhaps he believes that once the sale is approved by the league, Dumars will be able to immediately make a move or two that will improve the team’s prospects.