March 28, 2014 at 1:24 am

Terry Foster

Isiah Thomas just a Pistons fan - for now

Detroit— It was the photo op made in heaven.

Pistons owner Tom Gores stood in a huddle of legends on the second floor of the Westin Hotel.

There was Isiah Thomas, Jalen Rose and Dave Bing swapping stories with Gores as if they were old fraternity brothers.

But it was two people in that group who are front and center — Gores and Thomas.

Everywhere here goes, everybody wants to know if Thomas is interested in running the Pistons, a job held by his former teammate Joe Dumars.

Thomas smartly dodged the question before and during an event Thursday honoring the Bad Boys.

“When you cut me open, I bleed Piston blue,” Thomas said. “I love the Pistons and I can say categorically that you won’t find a person that loves or cares about the Pistons more than I do.”

Gores, to his credit, stayed the course when asked about a timetable to find a new coach and decide on his general manager.

“Right now we are celebrating an amazing night,” he said. “And at the end of the season, like we always do, we will re-evaluate. But tonight is really about this team and the credit they deserve.”

Dumars still the guy

This isn’t any job.

This is the Pistons. The red, white and blue basketball that is tattooed on Thomas’ heart.

For now, Dumars is the guy. It would be classless and tasteless to say anything now.

Dumars and Thomas grew from basketball players to basketball executives.

“Our goals were always the same,” Thomas said. “We wanted to save the world.

“We were all extremely close, and we spent a lot of time on the road together. We all grew together. We grew as friends. ... It was really special.”

What hasn’t been special is this Pistons season, a far cry from the team — the 1989 champion Pistons — that will be celebrated at tonight’s game against the Heat.

The 2014 Pistons will miss the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

“I am not tin the position to critique the team,” Thomas said.

“I still sit as a fan waiting like other fans to see the team do well, play well and win.”

Respect is due

If — maybe when — Dumars walks out the door, there is a certain amount of respect he deserves.

Fans should start by not booing him when he is honored tonight. Dumars has been loyal to the franchise.

He’s been part of all three Pistons championships, something no other person can say. And if there is a way, Gores should let Dumars walk away on his terms after this season, if that’s what’s best for all sides.

When Dumars was on top of the world, Thomas often sat in the stands, happy for his teammate and friend, and the team he once played for.

Now, the question is, will Thomas return for the job he thought he would get 20 years ago?
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Pistons legend Isiah Thomas, left, greets former NBA commissioner David Stern during a reception at the Book Cadillac Hotel on Thursday in Detroit. / Clarence Tabb Jr / Detroit News
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