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News » Pistons will retool without Mr. D

Pistons will retool without Mr. D

Pistons will retool without Mr. D
AUBURN HILLS -- This will be a summer of change for Joe Dumars, the Detroit Pistons' president of Basketball operations.

Not only will he look to retool an aging, underachieving roster, he will do it for the first time without team owner Bill Davidson, who died last month.

Control of the team now is in the hands of Davidson's wife, Karen.

Despite the change at the top, team president Tom Wilson reiterated this week that he did not anticipate there would be much of a difference in the way Dumars did business this summer compared to past offseasons.

"Before Mr. D passed, he sort of set it up and explained to her (Karen) that we have people at Guardian (Industries) and the Pistons and The Palace who have been there a long time," Wilson said. "Monitor it, observe it and learn it over a period of time, but trust the people that I have put in place. I don't think there will be anything dramatic or radically different, not for a long time."

Detroit's salary-cap position also should help the transition period go smoothly.

The Pistons have about $38 million in guaranteed contracts for next season, with a salary cap expected to be about $57 million. That means Detroit will have about $19 million to spend on free agents or to help facilitate possible trades.

"So Joe will have roughly $60 million to spend, give or take, and how he chooses to spend it I'm sure they'll be comfortable with," Wilson said. "It really comes down to, 'Here's the room you have. Just tell me what you're going to do with it.' "

Dumars had a similar relationship with Davidson, although it blossomed to the point where Davidson felt comfortable enough with Dumars to make deals without necessarily telling him in advance.

"When someone entrusts you with something like this to this degree ... you walk out of here, that's a whole lot of freedom to have," Dumars said shortly after Davidson's death. "But it's also a lot of responsibility as well -- to do it the right way. You don't want to disappoint a person who tells you that. If you're a responsible person, you take that seriously and you do not want to let that person down."

Spending wisely will be vital to Detroit rebounding from one of the worst seasons in recent memory.

"When we've been struggling before, it's usually because we didn't have any talent," Wilson said. "This year, everything just went bad. We could never right ourselves."

The Nov. 3 trade of Chauncey Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson played a major role in the team's struggles. But Iverson's $21 million salary coming off the books this summer also gives Detroit the kind of salary cap flexibility to acquire an impact player at a time when most teams are over the cap or looking to trim payroll.

With the right moves, the Pistons could be back among the elite teams in the East as early as next season, which would help erase the disappointment of the 2008-2009 season, one of the worst under Dumars' watch.

"I know Joe is frustrated by it, and I know Joe is going to make some dramatic changes," Wilson said. "You have to look at this and put it in the rear view mirror as quickly as possible and move forward."

Billups honored

Former Pistons guard Chauncey Billups is the latest recipient of the Joe Dumars trophy, which is given to the winner of the NBA's Sportsmanship Award. Billups received 82 first-place votes for the award, which is voted upon by NBA players, and had a total of 2,478 points.

Detroit forward Antonio McDyess finished third in the voting behind Billups and Boston's Ray Allen.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: April 30, 2009


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