Nets interview Dumars, Bower

January 18, 2010: Head Coach Jeff Bower of the New Orleans Hornets in action against the San Antonio Spurs during an NBA game in the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, LA. Tyler Kaufman/CSM.

The New Jersey Nets are considering Detroit GM Joe Dumars and New Orleans GM Jeff Bower to replace Rod Thorn.

Dumars won the 2002-03 NBA Executive of the Year Award. Under his watch, the Pistons went to six consecutive Eastern Conference finals, two NBA Finals and won the 2004 championship.

Bower helped transform the Hornets from an 18-win team in 2004-05, the year before he took over, to a franchise-best 56 victories three years later.

Notice the dates of Dumars and Bower’s successes. Detroit and New Orleans have struggled in recent years with these two guys at the helm.

Dumars did build a championship roster, but he is also the mastermind who passed on Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony to draft Darko Milicic and traded away Chauncey Billups in order to rebuild by overpaying Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva just last summer. The Pistons have gotten increasingly worse on his watch.

Bower did pluck budding prospects Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton out of the 2009 Draft, but he also made two miserable trades (for Peja Stojakovic and Emeka Okafor) that have totally handicapped the franchise financially, leading to rumors that Chris Paul would welcome a trade to ‘contender.’

Is this the best that the Nets can do? There is one name that jumps out as a great candidate for this job, and he’s looking for work: former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard.

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Is Joe Dumars overrated?

John Hollinger sure thinks so.

Let’s look ourselves in the mirror, fellow media members: We’ve all given the guy a free pass because of his amazing run to six straight conference finals and blithely ignored the fact that he’s screwed up a hundred ways from Tuesday since he decided to whack Flip Saunders after the 2008 conference finals.

Check out the résumé and find me a correct decision. Just one. Fire Saunders? Wrong. Hire Michael Curry? Wrong. Trade Chauncey Billups? Wrong. Extend Richard Hamilton? Wrong. Sign Kwame Brown? Wrong. Go after Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva? Wrong again.

In two years, the Pistons have gone from one of the best teams in basketball to among the worst. They stink, they’re capped out, and they don’t have much in the way of young talent; for all we know, in two years they’re going to be the Pittsburgh Pisces or the Seattle Grunge or something. If Isiah Thomas or Rob Babcock had done this, we’d have buried them alive by now, so it’s only fair for us to point out that regardless of his previous track record, Dumars is on a two-year losing streak of McHalian proportions.

No arguments here, though I don’t know that keeping Flip Saunders as your head coach is ever the right move.

Let’s not forget that it was Dumars who picked Darko Milicic #2 overall back in 2003. The next three picks? Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Ouch. Dumars got a pass on that pick because of the aforementioned six straight Conference Finals and the fact that the Pistons won the title in 2004. But the Billups trade and his performance in last summer’s free agency understandably has a lot of Piston fans scratching their heads.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Bill Simmons’ “Almost Famous” tribute, Pt. 2

In Part 2 of Bill Simmons’ “Almost Famous”-is-the-greatest-movie-of-the-decade spiel, he continues to take quotes from the movie and apply them to the 2009 NBA offseason. Here’s one about the Pistons…

47. Please don’t give him any more acid. Thank you.
To Joe Dumars. In the span of 14 months, he hired the wrong coach (Michael Curry), overpaid the wrong bench guys (Kwame Brown and Amir Johnson), traded the wrong star too early (Billups, who would have netted more than just an expiring cap figure near the deadline), extended the wrong star too early (Rip Hamilton), overrated the wrong young guy (Rodney Stuckey, who might not even be a point guard), threw away the wrong season (2008-09, when the East was more wide open than we thought), then made it up to Pistons fans by saying, “I just spent $94 million on two guys who will never make an All-Star team!” Shouldn’t you be worried when your top five guys (Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Hamilton, Stuckey and Prince) are all perimeter guys who don’t rebound, play inside or make other guys better?

I too think that the Pistons overpaid for Gordon and Villanueva, who are certainly good offensive players, but really seem to struggle on the other end of the court. Dumars had the rep for being one of the savviest general managers in the league, but with these signings all the Pistons’ cap space is gone and they don’t have an inside presence.

The funny thing is that Dumars was pretty much bidding against himself for Gordon’s services (the Bulls didn’t even bother to make an offer) and the best Villanueva could have hoped for was a mid-level deal (from Cleveland?). This is one of the more interesting rebuilding projects going.

Iverson would “retire” before coming off the bench again

It’s safe to say that the Chauncey Billups-for-Allen Iverson trade hasn’t worked out very well for the 2008-09 Detroit Pistons. The team is 36-39 and is just two games ahead of the 9th place Charlotte Bobcats. The two teams play on Sunday in Detroit, and if the Bobcats can pull out a win, they will be very much in the thick of a playoff spot, meaning that the Pistons could miss the postseason for the first time in…well…forever. (Meanwhile, Billups’ Nuggets are in second place in the West and have won nine of their last 10 games. And Chauncey gets to look at “Bouncing Bridget” every time the Nuggets play a home game.)

Iverson has been fighting a sore back and shin, and the Pistons have elected to use him off the bench for the last three games. During that span, he’s averaging 18.7 minutes, 7.7 points (on 36% shooting) and 2.7 assists. And he’s none too happy about his playing time.

Reporter: You made a comment the other day about how this is a temporary situation. What did you mean by that?

Iverson: I won’t do this again, in my career. I’ll retire before I do this again. I would leave the game before I do this. I can’t be effective like I know I can playing this way. It’s just that I’m not used to it. Just not something I’ve had to do. Like I said, it’s hard for me mentally and physically.

Reporter: So, on a positive note, what can you say about guys coming off the bench?

Iverson: Like I said. I take my hat off to the guys that can do it. And some guys get used to it. They’ve done it before. Like I said, I’ve been playing basketball since I was eight-years-old, and I never had to do it. At 33-years-old, to have to adjust to something like that it’s kind of tough. That’s something I’m dealing with as far as my rhythm, my timing and like I said, the mental part of that.

With the trade, Joe Dumars gave the team a ton of flexibility to rebuild over the next couple of years, but he really sunk these 2008-09 Pistons. With Billups on the roster, they’d be a top 4 team in the East, and with the injuries to Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Orlando’s Jameer Nelson, they’d have a legitimate shot at being the second-best team in the conference. Is that enough?

I don’t know — one injury to LeBron and suddenly the Pistons would be first in line to go the Finals. That seems like a good thing, right?

Only time will tell what kind of free agents Dumars will be able to attract over the next couple of summers. Then we’ll know if this Billups-for-AI swap was worth it.

Pistons’ struggles can be traced back to 2003

With the second pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select…

Darko Milicic.

This is the blackest mark on GM Joe Dumars’ otherwise solid record guiding the Pistons, but six years later, the Milicic pick is having a domino effect on the franchise. While Dumars did successfully dupe the Magic into trading a first round pick for Milicic in 2006 (which resulted in the selection of Rodney Stuckey in the 2007 draft) the Milicic pick still haunts this franchise. Just take a look at the next few selections in that 2003 draft…

Read the rest after the jump...

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