Uncertainty of Tom Gores era trumps apathy of Karen Davidson era


Accountability, flexibility and reliability are back at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Hopefully, positive results will soon follow.

Today’s news of Tom Gores buying the Pistons from Karen Davidson lifts a giant weight off the organization’s shoulders. Finally, the Pistons came move forward.

I – and I’m sure many of the other Detroit fans still following the team – had been bracing for another summer of silence, a July and August paralyzed by the ongoing sale. As far as the many fans who stopped paying attention, I figured they’d check back in come fall, see a nearly identical roster and wonder what the hell happened.

But all of a sudden, there’s hope Detroit will reshape its incredibly flawed roster this summer – and that’s just the start.

The Pistons will have a new owner, almost assuredly a new coach and possibly even a new general manager.

If Joe Dumars remains the team’s general manager – and I hope he does – the excuses are over. He can’t hide behind the ownership situation anymore, even if he didn’t ever do it explicitly before.

But I caution everyone to grade him from this point. One of his greatest strengths has been cutting his losses quickly. I don’t know what Dumars could have gotten for Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Jason Maxiell last summer, but I’m fairly confident he can get less now.

Before Davidson put the team up for sale, Dumars dived into a pit of quicksand by signing questionable players to lucrative contracts. When the team was for sale, he could do nothing but slowly sink. Now that he has a chance to pull himself out, give him a chance to do so without holding the sinking against him. The dive in? Absolutely his fault. But the sinking? Probably not his fault. Remember the difference.

Here’s the fun part of all this: from now on, we’re going to evaluate Dumars based on basketball. You remember that sport at the center of all this, right? I know it’s been a long time since basketball dominated the discussion here.

From Dumars to upper-deck season-ticket holders, this winding process has upset basically everyone associated with the Pistons. The players couldn’t dump a coach they can’t stand. John Kuester couldn’t get a decent roster to work with. Fans had to watch the whole mess unfold. Nobody has enjoyed this.

Nothing has been solved, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The future is still very much uncertain. We have barely the slightest idea what type of owner Gores will become. But we know what type of owner Karen Davidson was, and the unknown is definitely preferable.

Tom Gores will become just the fourth owner in the Pistons’ 69-year history. Just eight current NBA players were even alive someone outside the Davidson family owned the team.

This sale takes the Pistons into their next era. It’s new, and it will be scary. But that’s for another day. For now, it’s just exciting and uplifting and full of potential.

Even when it turns scary as the reality of having a first-time owner sets in, that sure beats the apathy of the last two years.

I don’t know what’s next for the Pistons, but I’m ready for it, and I have been for a long time.