Not to run this topic into the ground (I think we did that long ago), but I thought this bit from TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott was worth highlighting:
Rip Hamilton was famously disgruntled in Detroit, but with whom? This video suggests Joe Dumars is the leading candidate. I’ll offer an informed theory as to why: Look at the amazing lengths Dumars went to reorient that team around Rodney Stuckey. It simply hasn’t worked, and the price was the breakup of a powerhouse.
This, to me, seems exactly right. It wasn’t just that Dumars broke up a contending team — notably, shipping out Hamilton’s close friend, Chauncey Billups. Hamilton’s not a dumb guy. I’m sure he and the others knew that the end of their run was coming as fans/media increasingly grew critical of the playoff flameouts and the heat on the organization to break things up became more pointed each offseason.
It was that Dumars essentially inserted a raw, untested Stuckey as the team’s savior/future cornerstone into a veteran locker room well known to be filled with strong personalities who won a championship. I think that understandably caused veterans to bristle, but more notably, I think it was an incredibly unfair and difficult position to put Stuckey in. Stuckey, based on where he was picked, has been an unequivocal success as a NBA player, yet because of those early expectations, his modest successes are not enough to satisfy the enormous pressure placed on him.