Joe Dumars parted ways with the lowly Sacramento Kings, where he was most recently chief strategy officer, leaving when he was unable to secure a contract extension amid an attempted power grab.
The move was odd, as Dumars is a proven team constructor and championship-winning executive. And the Kings have recently shown signs of life, despite being perennial doormats for the past two decades. The franchise currently leads the NBA in consecutive years without making the playoffs (16). The next closest franchise is the Charlotte Hornets with six, and with the Melo Ball leading the ship and a new coach coming in, the future is bright for that team.
FS1 sports reporter and radio host Rob Parker says the Sacramento move was typical of a franchise that just can’t get it right.
“That’s why the Kings are the Kings,” Parker, who covered Dumars as a player with the Pistons and as an executive who led the 2004 Pistons to an NBA championship, told The Shadow League. “Imagine having Joe Dumars under your roof, letting him get away, and then he lands a bigger job with the league. The Kings should have never let Joe leave.”
Dumars, a Hall of Famer, recovered well from his Sac-Town fallout. The NBA immediately swooped in and named Dumars executive vice president and head of basketball operations for the NBA, according to league communications.
The NBA announced today that Joe Dumars, a Hall of Fame player, distinguished team executive and NBA champion with more than 30 years of experience in the league, has been appointed Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations.
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 2, 2022
Dumars begins his new role today and will report to Byron Spruell, president of League Operations.
“My life has centered on the NBA for nearly 40 years, which makes the opportunity to serve the entire league incredibly exciting and rewarding,” Dumars said in a written statement last week. “I’m looking forward to using my skills and experience to collaborate with all 30 teams on ways to shape the future direction of the league and help the game continue to evolve.”
In his new role Dumars will manage all basketball operations for the NBA. This will include the development of playing rules and interpretations, conduct and discipline, and policies and procedures relating to the operation of the basketball games.
He will communicate with and to the players, coaches, team executives, officials, and other key stakeholders to maintain the highest level of play and competition. Dumars will also be responsible for the overall talent strategy for Basketball Operations and reinforce a culture of inclusivity and innovation.
“Joe’s extensive track record of accomplishment as an NBA player and team executive and the leadership and expertise that he has demonstrated in various roles make him a natural fit to drive efforts to further enhance the game,” said Spruell. “As a respected longtime member of the NBA family, Joe has developed strong relationships across the league that will set the foundation for success in his new position.”
Parker continued to criticize the move by highlighting Dumars’ accomplishments as an executive.
“He built the last real team in the NBA — the 2004 Pistons,” Parker said. “Go look it up. He beat Shaq and Kobe with no stars. His résumé speaks for itself.”
Before he elevated to one of the game’s elite executive minds, Dumars played 14 seasons for the Detroit Pistons where he won back-to back NBA championships and was named Finals MVP in 1989. He was a six-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA selection and five-time All-Defensive selection.
After is playing career Dumars began work as a front office executive.
He became the Pistons’ president of basketball operations prior to the start of the 2000–01 season. He was voted the league’s Executive of the Year for the 2002–03 season and built the team that won the 2004 NBA championship.
Dumars became the first Black executive to lead a team to an NBA championship. During the 2005–06 season, the Pistons had its best regular season record in franchise history (64–18). The Pistons made it to the Eastern Conference Finals six straight years (2003–2008) under Dumars’ guidance.
Parker went on to chronicle the shrewd draft picks and trades Dumars made while constructing the second Pistons mini-dynasty.
“He drafted Tayshuan Prince, traded for Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton… Michael Jordan didn’t want RIP (in Washington). Then he made the trade to get Rasheed Wallace. Instead of letting Grant Hill walk, he got Ben Wallace, in trade for Hill. His talent and experience will serve the league well as it could have served the Kings.”
In 2019 Dumars was named special adviser to the general manager of the Kings. He eventually forced then-general manager Vlade Divac to resign. This was where Dumars attempted to grab power, and it was all very apparent.
Taking this position with the league will allow Dumars to showcase his skills as a business operator should he want to return to an NBA team’s front office.
In addition, any of the changes that improve overall game play will be attributed to Dumars. That type of success will also make him an attractive candidate for any future open front office positions.