Isiah Thomas is very well known in the Midwest. If you are from Illinois, you know that he claims Chicago as his hometown. If you are from Indiana, you know Bob Knight called him “Pee Wee” when he played for the Hoosiers. For the Michiganders, Thomas is the heart and soul of the Bad Boy Pistons. Memories of #11 gutting out a rolled ankle in the NBA Finals are still fresh.
Also fresh in the mind of many is Thomas’ disastrous tenure with the New York Knicks. Nothing really went right for Thomas, from trades to free agent signings. Fans remember the terrible pairing of Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph, not to mention Jared Jeffries. Other signings like Jerome James never panned out.
The basketball side of things wasn’t the only blemish during his time in New York. Thomas was also part of a lawsuit that would settle out of court. This came only a few years later after a limo incident with Stephen Marbury, who was brought to New York by Thomas. Good PR for the Knicks was few and far between.
Since then, Thomas tried his hand at college coaching. He went to Florida International University in 2010, staying there for three seasons. He never won more than eleven games as a coach before being fired. Following the firing, Thomas signed a contract to return to broadcasting for NBA Tv.
And now this. Joe Dumars has stepped down, and the Detroit Pistons have an executive position open. Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News quote one league source as saying “Gores is definitely looking at Isiah to replace Joe.” This is enough to make any fan do a double-take. This could be one of the worst moves the Pistons could make.
The first reason has nothing to do with basketball, it has to do with sentiments. The Pistons’ faithful just watched one former legend fall from grace. Pistons’ fans were openly demanding Joe Dumars be fired, and rightfully so. Dumars had gone down hill since the Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups swap, but he was still an integral part of the Bad Boys and Pistons’ lore. Seeing the franchise that once loved him turn on him was a tough thing to watch.
The Pistons don’t need to do that with Thomas. The man has already had a bad past decade or so, and former icons shouldn’t be diminished with the franchises they once gave so much to. The odds of a redemption story are slim, and the chances things go wrong overwhelm the hope for Thomas to turn it around.
The rest are all basketball reasons. Thomas is infamous on the internet for his general manager career, and articles like “The Top 10 Worst Moves by New York Knicks GM Isiah Thomas” do exist. Bill Simmons once made Thomas the star of his “Atrocious GM Summit,” a fictional panel where GMs discussed their worst trades.
Thomas oversaw a Knicks outfit that was constantly over the salary cap. This might be alright if the team was consistently contending for championships, but the Knicks only made the Playoffs once during Thomas’ tenure. It isn’t exactly a shining resume.
The Detroit Pistons should stay away from putting Isiah Thomas in charge of their basketball operations. If they want to have him involved, they should throw him a “consulting” position like the one that was just handed to Dumars.
It is time for some fresh blood in the organization. It will take someone other than a former Bad Boy to build the new Bad Boys of Detroit.