With a current record of 8-19, the Detroit Pistons aren't giving their fans much hope. The prospects of a playoff bid are virtually non-existent, leaving a possible trade as the only exciting development that could still take place during the season.
Keeping that in mind, general manager Joe Dumars said that he understood the fans' frustration and disappointment during the team's pre-game show on 97.1 Tuesday night. Host Matt Dery then asked Dumars if any sort of deals might be in the works. Joe D's response?
Two conversations I had with teams today, and they say, "You know what? Uh, that might work for us, but, you know, got to go and talk to the owner, got to go and talk to my head coach, and I’ll get back to you. So, you know, am I close? I hope so. I hope so.
However, when talking to Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois, Dumars confessed that he overstated the possibilities that a trade was close.
Langlois: Let me ask you some background stuff here. Um, I saw with Matt Dery, you said you were, you had some conversations, is there any players I should be…
Dumars: I talked to Matt after. I said, "Matt, you’ve got everybody asking me like, ‘You’ve got something imminent?’ " What he asked me, you know, I’m, like, "Yeah, I’m talking, Matt, but you know, but am I close? I don’t know. Teams say, ‘Hey, you know, we kind of like that, you know.’ "
Langlois: So there’s nothing?
Dumars: No, there’s nothing.
Apparently, that conversation was supposed to be off the record. (Or "on background," as Langlois established.) Dumars' admission came after the interview was officially over. But the recording was still going, and the entire audio was originally posted on the Pistons' website. Oops.
The clip has since been taken down. But saying that the Pistons are close to a trade while the microphone is live, only to then admit there's nothing in the works when it's supposedly no longer recording makes Dumars appear kind of foolish. Or at the very least, disingenuous.
Of course, anything can happen between now and the trade deadline. A team might suddenly decide it needs Richard Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince, and Dumars can make a deal. But to toy with a reporter (and the fans) like that doesn't look good.
Maybe Dumars can claim that he was trying an old Sparky Anderson tactic. Legendary baseball writer Hal McCoy once caught Anderson giving different answers to the same question, to which Sparky said, "Hey, you can't give everybody the same story."