Amin Elhassan of ESPN named five NBA general managers on the hot seat, and Joe Dumars is the first name listed:
As the designer of the Pistons teams that won an NBA title in 2004 and lost in the Finals in seven games in 2005, Dumars has long been considered one of the elite executives in the league, and Detroit was once a model for cap management and shrewd personnel decisions. But things began to unravel when Dumars opted to trade Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson‘s expiring deal, a move that created cap flexibility in 2009. However, rather than wait for the following offseason’s talent-laden free-agency class, Dumars decided to grossly overpay Ben Gordon(five years, $58 million) and Charlie Villanueva (five years, $37.7 million). Eventually, Dumars was forced to attach a first-rounder with limited protection just to jettison Gordon’s contract. Villanueva remains on the books for $8.6 million this season.
Detroit hasn’t finished .500 since the 2007-08 season, and is on its fourth coach since then. Although Dumars struck gold in the draft with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Pistons have lacked any sort of roster cohesion or team identity. This past offseason, he signed Josh Smith for four years, $56 million and Brandon Jennings for three years, $24 million, despite both being odd fits to the roster. This continued mismanagement of cap resources puts the onus on the team to start paying dividends, or else a change is in store.
There is wiggle room, of course, but I would be surprised if the Pistons miss the playoffs and Dumars keeps his job/the Pistons make the playoffs and Dumars loses his job. I don’t even think injuries would work as an excuse. Dumars needs a playoff berth, because that would come with sold tickets, and that’s what Tom Gores’ needs.
By the way, a former Pistons front office member made Elhassan’s list of those ready to be a general manager:
Scott Perry | Orlando Magic | VP of Basketball Operations
Another former Dumars lieutenant, Perry also spent a season hitting the reset button with the then-Seattle Supersonics under Sam Presti and brings the added benefit of coaching experience.