The ongoing rumor at the end of the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons run was that Thomas had been promised a role in the organization. Thomas was supposed to keep the agreement quiet until the proper time.
Telling the press about the arrangement ruined his relationship with Pistons owner Bill Davidson. At least that’s how I remember it playing out.
Is it time now to let bygones be bygones?
That was a very, very long time ago.
I know that people are going to grumble about how much Thomas sucked in New York as a GM and how he ruined the already pathetic Knicks team.
But in Detroit, Thomas is still held in very high regard. He established a demanding standard of success that the Pistons organization continues to rely on to this day.
The Palace of Auburn Hills is indeed the house that Thomas built. His jersey hangs from the rafters and a street outside the Palace is named after him as well.
The unfortunate passing of Mr. Davidson should remind us that life is always too short.
Initially Bill Davidson had it right. He was a first-class owner. Thomas played a huge part in building his organization into what it is. Mr. D understood that.
He was apparently prepared to make Thomas a "Piston for life" after his playing career. That was a classy thing to do.
Is what transpired that made him change his mind still relevant today?
Rest his soul. I don’t guess Mr. D is mad about it at the moment, huh?
The presence of Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, and Rick Mahorn is nice to have around the Palace. Those guys are fixtures in the Pistons organization, constant reminders of the standard that exist in Detroit basketball.
Thomas was an important figure in the metro Detroit community.
I, for one, think it would be nice (and fitting) to see the leader of the Bad Boy crew back home, affiliated with the Pistons in some capacity.
He gave us Pistons fans a lot to cheer about in that very Palace and fathered the tradition that brought a basketball powerhouse in Detroit.
Thomas could be a special assistant to basketball operations or even a head scout. It would seem the team could come up with a role to offer Thomas. It doesn’t have to be anything too major.
The Pistons organization is almost run like a family. Mr. Davidson’s passing is a sad loss. Sometimes when families lose members it encourages them to come together.
Maybe it's time the organization considers reuniting with its most famous son.
You know, that’s probably the most comforting thing about having family; the fact that you can always come back home.