I told you this was coming. Joe Dumars coming back to Louisiana, where he was born (Shreveport), went to high school (Natchitoches Central), and college (McNeese State) was on the horizon as the New Orleans Pelicans floundered. Dumars spent nearly his entire life after college in Detroit. First as a player collecting two championships in 1989 and 1990 with the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons. Dumars retired from the Pistons as a player in 1999 and his number four was retired by the team in March 2000.
His relationship with the Pistons hardly ended there. Soon after retiring his jersey the Pistons hired him as President of Basketball Operations before the 2000-01 season. He took over a franchise who had fired Alvin Gentry during the season (foreshadowing!) and was terribly mediocre at best. In his first year the team missed the playoffs, going 30-52. The next seven years the Pistons would win no less than 50 games, reach the Eastern Conference Finals six times, reach the NBA Finals twice, and bring home an improbable championship in 2004 over the Los Angeles Lakers. It was the best of times.
His final six years in charge saw just one playoff appearance in 2009, the eighth consecutive trip but with a much less inspiring 39-43 record and a quick exit in the first round at the hands of nemesis LeBron James. Five more seasons afterward would see four different head coaches and wild misses in free agency chasing Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, and Josh Smith. That Smith contract is so bad the Pistons will be paying him until 2020 to not play for them.
There were some serious successes however in the NBA Draft, as I outlined in March. With the Pelicans about to try to reload maybe a man with talent evaluating collegiate talent wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, I have conflicted feelings.
Might the Pelicans be looking to hope Dumars can give them a run like those 2001-2008 Pistons had after getting rid of Alvin Gentry?
Dumars coming back home?
Here those projected rumors flower according to Ken Berger from CBS Sports.
Saints GM Mickey Loomis has taken on a greater personnel role above GM Dell Demps, but rival execs understand that move is only temporary. "Mickey is a football guy, not a basketball guy," one exec said. And at the D-League Showcase, the buzz was getting louder that it's only a matter of time before former Pistons executive Joe Dumars -- who has a close relationship with Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson -- returns to his native Louisiana to assume control.
So here we go folks.