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The Pistons’ decision to not renew Dumars’ contract comes as no surprise. Since winning Executive of the Year in 2003 and the Pistons winning the championship in 2004, things have gone downhill in Detroit. In 2009, Dumars signed Ben Gordon to a five-year, $55 million contract and Charlie Villanueva to a five-year, $35 million contract. Both signings were a massive disappointment, and the Pistons have failed to make the playoffs since. In that time, the Pistons have employed several coaches, including John Kuester, Lawrence Frank, Maurice Cheeks (who was fired after 50 games this season) and current interim coach John Loyer.
Dumars remained in place, and got another shot at putting together a winning product this year. Dumars traded Brandon Knight for Brandon Jennings, and signed Josh Smith this past offseason. Combined with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Pistons were supposed to compete in the weak Eastern Conference for a playoff spot. Instead, the team floundered and is currently 29-51, which puts them in 11th place in the East.
Dumars will reportedly stay on as an adviser until he finds another position elsewhere.
This isn’t the first time Anthony has been linked to the Bulls. It was reported earlier this season that Bulls center Joakim Noah made a recruiting pitch to ‘Melo during this season’s All-Star weekend. This new report surfaces as the Knicks were recently eliminated from playoff contention, a scenario no one envisioned entering this season after the team went 54-28 last year and reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
It makes sense for Anthony to inquire about the Bulls situation, considering the coaching and roster makeup. The Bulls have the second-best defense in the league and are currently third in the Eastern Conference playoff race, in spite of losing superstar Derrick Rose to a knee injury early in the season and dealing away Luol Deng not long after. With a few roster moves, the Bulls can pursue Anthony as an unrestricted free agent this summer, putting him alongside Noah and Rose (assuming he is healthy) next season.
Earlier this season, ‘Melo said that the hiring of Phil Jackson will have an impact on his decision, but only time will tell what will happen in New York. Expect rumors such as this to pop up until he makes a final decision.
On January 25, 2012, the Timberwolves signed Kevin Love to a four-year contract with a player option to opt out after the third year, allowing Love to become an unrestricted free agent in 2015. The idea was to save the five-year designated player extension for young point guard Ricky Rubio. That idea looks to have backfired with Love, a top-10 player in the league, reportedly looking to sign with another team after next season, and Rubio showing little improvement since joining the Timberwolves in 2011.
The Timberwolves would be wise to sign Rubio at a contract well below what players like Stephen Curry and Ty Lawson received, as he has yet to develop a consistent jump shot and has struggled with his confidence all season. If both sides cannot come to an agreement, Rubio will have to hope that another team will make a significant free agent offer, putting the pressure on Minnesota to decide whether to match or not. However, this may be a risky route to take as the NBA is currently saturated with point guards as good, if not better than Rubio.
There are a lot of moving parts in Minnesota, including head coach Rick Adelman. Timberwolves president Flip Saunders is going to have a lot of decisions to make this upcoming offseason.
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