SUNDAY, 7:03pm: A co-owner of the Pistons denied the report in an email to David Mayo of MLive.com. “He is not a candidate for any job with the Pistons,” Mark Barnhill wrote. Barnhill acknowledged that he, principal owner Tom Gores, and Thomas recently had dinner, but he says that it was only to discuss an event to celebrate the Bad Boys era Pistons.
“If people are gonna manufacture rumors every time we are seen in the same room as someone, it’s gonna be a long few weeks as we head into the Bad Boys reunion and beyond,” Barnhill wrote.
SATURDAY, 4:41pm: League sources say that Pistons owner Tom Gores is seriously thinking of making a major front office shakeup after this season and bringing in former Knicks GM Isiah Thomas to run the team, reports Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. Current boss Joe Dumars has taken a lot of heat over the years due to his penchant for firing coaches and his sometimes questionable draft selections, and one league source says Detroit is definitely looking to bring in Thomas once Dumars’ contract expires at the conclusion of the season.
Thomas was in control of the Knicks from 2003 until 2008. His tenure as boss in the Big Apple isn’t generally revered as a very successful one, and his unpopularity with New York fans is well known. In exchange for Eddy Curry, Thomas traded two draft picks to the Bulls that would eventually wind up being LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah. Thomas was involved in the sexual harassment lawsuit that ended up costing the Knicks $11.6MM, to which Lawrence attributes his eventual firing.
If Detroit is to bring in Thomas, Lawrence notes that his ties with likely-to-be-fired Knicks coach Mike Woodson might result in yet another coaching change for the Pistons. Thomas and Woodson were teammates in college and still talk regularly about basketball matters, Lawrence says. Woodson would have to lose his gig in New York, but that certainly isn’t out of the question.
The Pistons looked like a potential playoff team this season after a busy summer landed them a new point guard in Brandon Jennings and an upgraded frontcourt with the addition of Josh Smith. While Detroit still has a shot to sneak into the postseason, not many would argue that the 2013/2014 campaign hasn’t been a disappointing one, so much so that it led to the firing of Maurice Cheeks midway through the year. Ownership could see replacing Dumars as the shakeup Detroit needs to turn into a winning team.