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Chauncey Billups: Joe Dumars apologized to me

Jul 17, 2013, 5:25 PM EDT

Chauncey Billups, Joe Dumars

Chauncey Billups and Joe Dumars had a falling out after the latter traded the former to the Nuggets in 2008.

Billups wanted to retire in Detroit, and though his hometown Nuggets weren’t a completely undesirable destination, he just signed a long-term extension with the Pistons.

But those ingredients alone don’t warrant bitterness. Players getting traded is part of the business. Billups, whose ambitions include becoming a general manager, should understand that.

So, it’s still not clear exactly what contributed to the rift, but Tom Friend of ESPN provides some clues:

Though he has been traded three times before, it still stings. At the team hotel, on Nov. 2, Dumars and the coaches are staying right down the hall from him, but no one invites him down for a goodbye chat. Then, on the morning of Nov. 3, before the shootaround, it becomes official: Chauncey to Denver.

He’s going home again, but he calls Piper and tells her it feels bittersweet. “I’ve been through some dark alleys with them dudes, man,” he tells her. “They’re my brothers.”

He begins packing at the team hotel, when there’s a knock on the door. It’s Hamilton and Prince, the trio together one last time. They embrace, cry, laugh and reminisce. They call Ben Wallace, a Cavalier now, and put him on speaker phone. Wallace tells them, “I told you how they are.”

For what it’s worth, Ben Wallace returned to the Pistons after that. Billups and Dumars reconciled at some point in 2012 or earlier, too. Their relationship further healed when Dumars signed Billups earlier this month.

Billups on Dumars, via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

“I just needed to hear him apologize for how it went down, to kind of stand on it, and he did that,” Billups said. “As a man, I can’t do anything but respect that.

“Because I had to know it was nothing personal, it was what he thought was a good business move. But we had a personal relationship. I forgave Joe for all of that and we moved forward. I’m great.”

This is a side of Dumars that Pistons fans haven’t really seen. As the Pistons have struggled through five straight losing seasons, Dumars has mostly remained in the shadows.

That might be the best course of action for someone who wants to avoid the spotlight – and Dumars, who built the 2004 championship team, certainly doesn’t owe any fans an apology – but Dumars’ approach also leaves fans feeling disconnected. A little forthrightness with the public could go a long way in repairing the Pistons’ reputation in an area where people have limited disposable income and other options how to spend it, just as it helped repair Dumars’ relationship with Billups.

Dumars has made mistakes, with Billups and with building a winning team. Billups appreciated Dumars admitting that, and fans would, too.

Of course, more than anything else, fans would appreciate a winner. Maybe Billups’ arrival will help the Pistons become one, and then nobody would mind Dumars remaining behind the scenes.

  1. thekingdave - Jul 17, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    That trade almost single handedly sent the Pistons into no man’s land and the Nuggets to the 2009 WCF

  2. barnesaintnoble - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    I really don’t like Joe Dumars at the helm anymore, he’s been pretty terrible for the most part. The 2004 championship was amazing, but I really put a lot of that on Larry Brown and the luck of Rasheed Wallace being available right before the playoffs. In retrospect, I’m sure Dumars would like us to believe he knew exactly was he was doing with Chauncey, Rip, Big Ben, Prince and Rasheed, but he really just got lucky when the group of journeyman he put together had such great chemistry. We would have seen him win with another group by now if he actually knew what he was doing back then.

    I can’t really be too mad though, Like you said, he’s been largely behind the scenes so Pistons’ fans have not really seen him. I saw him yesterday and just thought, “Damn Joe, looks like the years have been pretty hard on you. Glad to know you’re at least eating well.”

    • blueballzny - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      You make some ridiculous comments in your argument. They got lucky Rasheed Wallace was available? A group of journeymen? Dumars would have won again by now if he knew what he was doing? Just stop talking and enjoy your frontcourt.

  3. sgtdiver - Jul 17, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    so he got lucky winning an nba championship and putting together the best defensive team ever in the nba and its all his fault for losing. Go ahead an look up to see how many teams have won it all the past 10 years.

  4. lorddarkhelmet - Jul 17, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Yep he got lucky by getting Chauncey, Rip, Big Ben, Prince and Rasheed all on separate transactions. He ought to play the lotto. Ever consider that he is pretty darn good GM who made a few bad moves (as happens to every single GM ever). The idea behind trading Chauncey was sound, Chauncey was not playing nearly up to his normal level and the team clearly needed some serious changes to continue to compete. He saw the coming stretch four craze coming and signed Charlie V. I didn’t like the move, still don’t, but the rational was strong and few complained about the Ben Gordon signing. Who could have seen his career totally self destructing the way it has? We had Stuckey who looked like a star in the making. By the time he knew it wasn’t working he wasn’t allowed to make the moves he needed to because of the ownership situation.

  5. tigershark49 - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    I loved Joe D as a player, but not as a GM.

  6. weaselpuppy - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    Everyone complained about the Gordon signing given he wasn’t going to start and was making $12m a yr. Horrible move. CV was is and will be the biggest lazy turd in recent NBA history. No discernible skill beyond hitting 3′s despite a lot of natural talent. Terrible move. Defending those 2 moves is a sign of a transfixed fanboy. Dumars has been above average, but awful in his FA/trades the last 4 years, while awesome the 4 + before that. Draft has been good to him in that he had Monroe and Drummond drop to him at 6-9 in the draft….GS taking Udoh directly in front of Monroe? Laughable at the time, ludicrous now. Knight in front of Kemba Walker or KlayThompson at the time was defensible..now, notsomuch. Walker though ona good team is a backup and Thompson would have been overkill with BG forcing his 3s, and Knight came off a title run as the PG, so I’m OK with that. GSW and the Raps taking Barnes and T Ross over Drummond? Terrible, will look even worse. Tayshaun was a nice get at 18, Rodney White at 9 notsomuch in a deep draft, but Memo in the 2nd was a coup.

    Joe D is IMO playing for his life this year…we’ll see how Pope over Burke plays out, but if they can trade a at no time was he ever going to be a star Stuckey and Knight for a real PG, then the team could win 45-48 games with Smith, Pope, Billups and the PG plus more minutes for Drummond ( Lawrence frank is an idiot) in a weak East. Still think Singler can be a nice bench 3p guy that can pass….

  7. dezglobal - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Darko… That name will haunt Joe Dumars forever..

    D A R K O!

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