The Pistons have officially announced via press release that Joe Dumars “will step aside” from his job as president of basketball operations, effective immediately. That suggests that Dumars tendered his resignation, as he’d reportedly planned to do, though reports Sunday indicated the team had told Dumars they wouldn’t renew his contract, which was set to expire in the offseason. In any case, the move ends Dumars’ nearly 14-year tenure atop the Pistons basketball operations department. He’ll remain with the team as an adviser, as expected. Director of basketball operations Ken Catanella and assistant GM George David will assume the responsibilities that had been Dumars’ while the club searches for a formal replacement.
“Joe Dumars is a great champion who has meant so much to this franchise and this community,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in the team’s statement. “We are turning the page with great respect for what he has accomplished not only as a player and a front office executive, but as a person who has represented this team and the NBA with extraordinary dignity.”
The 50-year-old Dumars was the longest-tenured executive in charge of day-to-day basketball operations in the league, with the possible exception of Pat Riley, who’s split much of his more than 18 years with the Heat between the front office and coaching. Dumars became president of basketball operations in Detroit in June of 2000, and he’s been with the Pistons in some capacity since 1985, when he began his Hall of Fame playing career with the club. His time as an executive included the 2004 championship and six straight conference finals appearances, but also the drafting of Darko Milicic at No. 2 overall in 2003 and an ongoing string of five non-playoff seasons.
“It’s time to turn the page on a wonderful chapter and begin writing a new one,” Dumars said as part of the press release. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people throughout the last 29 years as both a player and executive, and I’m proud of our accomplishments. Tom Gores and ownership is committed to winning and they will continue to move the franchise forward.”
Dumars will reportedly have the ability to seek GM jobs with other NBA clubs, and he figures to be much sought after. A report earlier today indicated he already has a gig lined up with another team. The Pistons have already begun their search process for a new head of basketball operations as well as a new coach, since John Loyer is filling in only on an interim basis for Maurice Cheeks, whom the team fired in February.
Gores has appointed a pair of executives with Platinum Equity, his investment firm, to oversee the club’s searches. Those execs, Phil Norment and Bob Wentworth, will also supervise Catanella and David, and Norment, in the team release, says the club has developed a preliminary list of candidates to replace Dumars.