Pistons Owner Tom Gores: “We Will Make Changes”

After the Pistons inched closer to making the wrong kind of history by losing to the depleted Jazz on Thursday night, Pistons owner Tom Gores spoke to select media to address Detroit’s current 25-game skid.

I think [the fans] deserve an answer,” Gores said in a Q&A with The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III and others.

While the Pistons weren’t expected to be a contender this season, they were hoping to take steps toward being a more competitive team. Clubs such as the Magic and Thunder have catapulted themselves into playoff contention this year behind young cores, and while the Pistons were definitely a tier below those two, the goal was to at least vie for a play-in spot following four straight seasons with 23 or fewer wins.

Detroit hired Monty Williams, who oversaw Phoenix’s transformation into a contender from a rebuilding team, and got former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham back from injury. The Pistons also have multiple promising young players, including Jalen Duren, Ausar Thompson and Jaden Ivey. Despite making what seemed like decent moves on paper, they never addressed their three-point shooting and are the worst team in the league in that regard. Now, rather than taking a leap forward, they’ve regressed and are at the lowest point of their rebuild.

However, Gores still believes in the future of the team and sees the Pistons as having the flexibility to improve moving forward.

So, as much as this vision feels blurry, to me, it’s the same vision I had at the beginning of the season about a bright future,” Gores said. “… We have an incredible set of young players. We’ve built ourselves to be flexible and nimble, so we’re not stuck in this problem. We have a problem. We’ve lost way too many games. We’re not stuck in it, though. We’re nimble. We can bounce from this. We have a tremendous amount of cap space.

Despite his optimistic outlook on the franchise’s overall health, Gores insisted that changes are imminent.

We require change,” Gores said. “We’re not doing well. As far as where we were going in getting this set of players and flexibility, I think the work is still there. We have to assess what’s not working. I’m down to Monty and I talking about rotations. I don’t normally do that. Monty is so good and knows what’s he doing, he’s open to even talking about it. We do have to change something. I can’t tell you what it exactly is. … We’re on it already. We will make changes. We will make them. We don’t know exactly what they’ll be yet.

While he was unwilling to commit to specific changes, Gores said they’ll have to be made “in the near future.” He also went on to say that a successful season would be getting wins and keeping the health of the young core in tact. However, Gores was clear he wants changes to extend to the roster as well.

I expect [general manager] Troy [Weaver] to find ways to change the makeup of our team and find ways to be more successful,” Gores said. “I do expect him to find ways, and he knows that. If we do nothing to improve ourselves, I’m going to be disappointed. That’s nothing new to Troy. He knows that.

Gores ended the interview by shutting down outside perceptions that there are voices moving in different directions within the organization, as well as they idea that he’d sell the team, as fans chanted on Thursday.

They can say what they want, but that’s ridiculous,” Gores said. “Other than winning — and we should win more games — we do a lot in the community. Players, the organization, we do a lot in the community. If you put aside winning, we’ve made a very big difference in the community. That means a lot to me. I understand that’s only going to mean a lot to people if we win, but the underworking of what’s happening and with our community, over all these years, is there. We’re doing multibillion-dollar things outside of (basketball). I understand the fans being upset, but it’s a ridiculous thought.

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