It’s been a long run for team president Joe Dumars, but league sources say that Dumars’ reign will soon be coming to a close. Dumars is so entrenched and such an iconic figure from his playing days, we’ll believe it when we see it. But it sure sounds as if he’s on his way out, along with Lawrence Frank, who is finishing his second season as coach.
I’m posting this because it’s out there, not because I necessarily believe it. Even Lawrence hedges his bets by noting, despite his sources saying Joe Dumars and Lawrence Frank are out, he’s not certain.
A few of my New York-based friends were split on whether to trust this report, and I have mixed feelings as well.
Lawrence was plugged in during the Pistons coaching search, independently reported the Pistons hired Frank and broke news Frank hired Dee Brown as an assistant coach. He also had a source who knew Tom Gores’ thinking even before Gores bought the Pistons:
After Bill Davidson died in March, 2009, it was assumed that Karen Davidson would sell the team and the other entities. Because of the dire economic circumstances facing metropolitan Detroit, the four entities were expected to bring in at most $350 million. Another area businessman, Tom Gores, has been mentioned as a potential buyer, but he "was not even close to making a bid," said the league official.
Lawrence has been an NBA columnist for the Daily News since 1995, so his time in New York overlapped with Dave Checketts, who served as president of Madison Square Garden from 1994 to 2001. Checketts, if you don’t remember, was brought in by Gores as a consultant when he bought the team.
So, it’s certainly plausible Lawrence has sources who know Gores’ thinking.
It’s also certainly plausible Gores will fire Dumars and Frank.
Dumars has been on the job longer than any current general manager, save Sacramento’s Geoff Petrie and Utah’s Kevin O’Connor. Drafting Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond has given the Pistons a brighter future, and while Dumars deserves credit for those picks, he was certainly aided by teams ahead of Detroit foolishly passing on those two. Regardless of whether you believe Dumars should stay (as I do), it’s easy to build a compelling case he’s run his course.
Frank is a much simpler case, as coaches are more disposable. The Pistons have lost badly during his tenure, and unlike Dumars, Frank doesn’t have as strong a track record to fall back on.
If this is the end for both, the only surprise will be that Mitch Lawrence (sort of) broke the story.