Bernie Smilovitz confirmed with an NBA source Sunday night, Joe Dumars will no longer serve as president of basketball operations for the Pistons.
Dumars will stay on with the team as an advisor. That exact position has yet to be determined.
Dumars was named the 2003 executive of the year, and the Pistons won the title the following season, adding the 2004 crown to the two they won when Dumars was a player. But Detroit hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009, and the retooled Pistons flopped badly this season.
Detroit has one of the game’s top young big men in Andre Drummond, but he’s one of the franchise’s few bright spots at the moment.
The Pistons now must hire a new general manager, and in the meantime, ownership executives Phil Norment and Bob Wentworth are expected to supervise preparations for the draft and free agency.
Detroit signed Josh Smith and traded for Brandon Jennings last offseason in what seemed like a return to relevance, but the new-look roster lacked cohesion at times. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February, and the Pistons are 29-52 with one game remaining.
“I think overall we have a quality team as is,” forward Kyle Singler said. “I don’t know necessarily the formula to win, but we just weren’t able to get into a groove earlier on in the year to gain confidence and know that we’re a playoff team.”
Now owner Tom Gores will try to find someone else to pull the team out of its doldrums.
Dumars began running the Pistons in 2000, and he made one shrewd move after another at first, acquiring Ben Wallace in a trade for Grant Hill and sending Jerry Stackhouse to Washington for Richard Hamilton.
He brought Rasheed Wallace to Detroit in another trade and signed Chauncey Billups as a free agent. Even a draft-day blunder in 2003 — picking Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony with the No. 2 pick — seemed like an aberration when the Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals the following year.
That title, however, is well in the past. The Pistons have played in front of sparse crowds in recent years, struggling to stay relevant in Detroit while the Tigers have drawn fans in droves to their downtown ballpark.
In 2008, Dumars traded Billups in a deal that brought Allen Iverson to the Pistons. That move didn’t work out, and neither did the decision to sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to big contracts during the 2009 offseason.
Once Gores took over after the 2010-11 season, the Pistons were undeniably in a rebuilding mode. Last offseason, Dumars had another chance to show he could guide the franchise back to contention. Instead, the Pistons have been one of the league’s most disappointing teams in 2013-14.