It's no secret that Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars is on thin ice. He may have built the team that won six consecutive conference titles between 2003 and 2008 (including the 2003-04 NBA champions), but he also assembled the listless, mismatched group that is in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Update: Monday, March 3 at 8:50 a.m. ET
A spokesman for Pistons ownership has issued a statement disputing the report, per David Mayo of MLive.com:
A spokesman for Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores called a report that the team is wooing Isiah Thomas as its next general manager "absolutely false.""He is not a candidate for any job with the Pistons," Mark Barnhill wrote about Thomas in an email to MLive.
Now, Pistons owner Tom Gores might be interested in replacing Dumars with his former backcourt partner from the days of the Bad Boys.
Is the NBA ready for a sequel to the long-running soap opera, "Isiah Thomas, General Manager?"
Per the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence, a source within the league said Gores is "definitely looking at Isiah to replace Joe."
Thomas is best known in Detroit as the phenomenal point guard who led the Pistons to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. But he is best known in New York—where he operated as GM of the New York Knicks from December 2003 to April 2008—as a sort of basketball boogeyman.
Thomas' reign of terror turned the once-proud Knicks organization into the laughingstock of the league. He did draft well on occasion—picking two-time All-Star David Lee late in the first round and Trevor Ariza in the second round—but he traded most of his picks before he could even use them.
The most glaring example was the October 2005 Eddy Curry trade. In order to acquire the rights to Curry, an out-of-shape defensive liability of a center, Thomas traded two first-round picks, which eventually turned into All-Stars Joakim Noah and LaMarcus Aldridge.
He even sent off Ariza, one of his draft-day triumphs, to Orlando for point guard Steve Francis, despite the fact that New York already employed Stephon Marbury at the same position.
But Thomas showed an uncanny knack for escaping the consequences of his terrible moves. In fact, Lawrence believes it was his off-the-court mistakes that finally led to his downfall:
...Thomaas (sic) might still be here if he wasn’t at the center of the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment scandal. It was a public-relations nightmare that cost the Garden $11.6 million when the former team executive won her court case. It also gave the league the leverage to twist Dolan’s arm, leading to Thomas’ ouster as team president and the hiring of Donnie Walsh in April of 2008.
Can Thomas actually wrangle the GM position away from Dumars in the offseason? It's not entirely out of the realm of possibility. He proved during his time with Dolan that he is incredibly adept at earning and keeping the trust of the owner, regardless of results or lawsuits.
One thing is certain: If Isiah Thomas is hired, the basketball world should pray for Pistons fans.
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