The Pistons look dreadful this season, losing most of their games by 20 points. Other than promising young players Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko and rookie Brandon Knight, the roster contains no assets and needs a complete makeover. In order to do that, Pistons owner Tom Gores needs to fire President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars and start over with a new front office staff.
It's not an easy decision. Dumars has meant so much to this organization, winning two NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990 as a Hall-of-Fame guard before going on to construct the team that raised another banner in 2004.
Since then, however, Dumars has made a number of questionable moves to the roster, especially when it comes to utilizing cap space in free agency. In the summer of 2008, he fired coach Flip Saunders, hired former player and assistant coach Michael Curry and declared there were "no sacred cows", giving the impression that the team was ready to begin rebuilding and moving away from the Goin' To Work era.
As the rest of the summer went by, the roster remained unchanged. Then, right before the season started, veteran guard Richard Hamilton was given a contract extension. Days later, Dumars traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson and his expiring contract. The deal proved to be disastrous that season, but it created a significant amount of cap space for the summer of 2009.
Besides drafting Monroe, Jerebko and Knight, Dumars has failed to put together a roster that can either win or build solely around its youth. This past offseason, the Pistons had a chance to create enough cap space to once again be able to pursue a big man to insert alongslide Monroe and Jerebko in the frontcourt. Instead, they opted to not use their amnesty clause and re-signed Prince and Stuckey, creating yet another logjam on the perimeter.
Detroit's downfall as a franchise isn't completely on Dumars. These players are also at fault. Most individual players have not come close to meeting expectations, and those who have had the opportunity to showcase their talent have failed. Likewise, Gores could have overruled the decisions to bring players back and instead elect to create cap space and truly endorse change.
The Pistons cannot continue to market this product. Fans will not support it. The losing will continue, and the only way to change that is going to be by changing the roster. Unfortunately, that means making internal changes to the front office.
Steve St-Pierre covers the Pistons for In Play! Magazine. Check it out online at inplaymagazine.com.