As those following Pistons 101 on Twitter already know, the Detroit Pistons have decided not bring Lawrence Frank back as their head coach next season. Yesterday Yahoo! Sports reported that Frank had told team owner Tom Gores that if the organization wasn't planning on picking up the fourth-year team option on his contract, then the team should fire him before his third year begins. Whether or not Gores thought on that ultimatum, the firing makes Frank the eighth coach to be fired by the Pistons since Joe Dumars became general manager before the 2000-01 season. Frank served only two years of his guaranteed three-year, four-year team option contract.
While it's hard to argue that Frank's combined 54-94 record with the Pistons wasn't worthy of a firing, it had been established from Frank's first day on the job that the Pistons were in the process of a lengthy rebuild. Today, the team is still in the rebuilding mode, but ownership felt as though Frank didn't do enough to continue his role in the process.
That's fine, but why is Joe Dumars
allowed to stay?
No one will argue that Joe Dumars
has enjoyed success as a GM, the 2004 NBA
Championship and six straight Eastern Conference Finals trips are evidence enough. Still, his successes are further and further in the rear view mirror, and frustrations rise when one realizes that much of the reason for the team's less-than-mediocre status can be directly tied to bad trades, signings and draft picks enacted by Dumars.
The possibility that Dumars had his "hands tied" by the Davidson-Gores ownership changeover when he signed Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon and Chris Wilcox helps Dumars’ cause, but it doesn't excuse his blame completely.
In the past week there's been a lot of talk about "accountability" from Gores and Frank to the media. Gores was quoted with messages about everyone, including himself, being to blame for the season. Frank took responsibility for the team's record, while pointing out that everyone in the organization needed to look in the mirror as well. There was nothing from Dumars. In fact, Dumars didn't make himself available to the press until today when he released a statement on behalf of the Pistons announcing that Frank would not be returning.
By Gores having Dumars release the team's statement on behalf of the organization, all speculation over whether Dumars will be fired can now end. Dumars has been given a second chance, and will be pulling the strings this offseason when the Pistons will have to decide how to spend $25 million in free agency, who to choose in the lottery, and who to hire as the next head coach.
Remember, Gores, not Dumars, hired Frank. Dumars will likely be in charge of the coaching search this time around, therefore returning full power to Dumars. Frank was held accountable, and he lost his job. Dumars holds blame as well. Where are the repercussions from Gores for the blame that Dumars deserves? After all, Dumars made this roster.
When Gores took over the team, Dumars was correctly kept on as GM to right the missteps that sent the "Goin' to Work" days in the toilet. There was also the belief that Gores kept Dumars on because the first-time owner didn't have any other viable candidates in mind. Gores didn't have a plan.
Today, with Frank being the only one put to the knife, one of the strongest arguments for why Dumars is keeping his job has to do with there still being no plan. Gores still doesn't know who he'd hire if he asked Dumars to turn in the Blackberry and keys to the GM's suite. If there's a reason for why Gores has decided to keep Dumars on, then the owner needs to explain that to his fan base.
With all the talk about "accountability" in the last week, Gores needs to be held accountable for his decisions. If keeping Dumars is the plan, then hold a press conference and explain the plan. That is, if there even is one.
, Detroit Pistons
, Joe Dumars
, Lawrence Frank
, Tom Gores