Keating's Corner: Making up is hard to do for Pistons

March 1, 2011

Honestly, was it really that hard?

Where's Dr. Phil when you need him?

Finally -- and just in time for that long-awaited showdown with umm, Milwaukee -- the Pistons tell us they are getting along now. The glacial ice has thawed between John Kuester and Rip Hamilton. They actually fist-bumped and made up. Hamilton is expected to be active and just might play tonight.

This team wasn't good enough to be a contender this year, but what every team is selling every season is hope: "Brighter days ahead ... building a foundation ... we're putting the pieces in place."

It's how you sell tickets. It's how you keep a fan base energized.

This Pistons season has been only occasionally about basketball, though.

The real victim of the squabble with the Pistons this year was an NBA season. A fan base. And, perhaps, Hamilton's reputation.

Not far from where I live there were grand plans for a $2 billion residential/retail complex that were scuttled by the tanking of the economy and the builder's overzealous nature. The problem is that the scuttling happened after most of the buildings were in mid-construction and huge parking garages had already been erected.

The solution now, according to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, is "a couple hundred million dollars to knock it down and take it away."

Ultimately, that's where the Pistons are headed. A complete overhaul will be required. Heavy equipment will be involved.

No one who is outside the building knows for sure who said what to whom to cause so many frayed edges to the players in this melodrama. There is no dispute that there were truly hurt feelings.

But aren't we big kids here? This is a multimillion dollar enterprise we're talking about, and isn't part of being in professional sports acting, ya know, professionally?

Joe Dumars is an icon in this town -- as classy a player and a person as we've been lucky enough to call our own. But this mess is on his watch, and while the uncertainty of an ownership change gives him a bit of a pass on some aspects of the slippage of this franchise, handling personnel issues is not about money.

It's about feel. It's about respect. It's about accountability.

Harder decisions should have been made sooner to prevent the morass that the season has become.

Perhaps they have been now. But the horses are gone and laughing as we're closing the barn doors.

With 21 games left in the season, today Kuester announced that starting jobs are up for grabs and that the rotation will be determined by practice and shoot-around participation.

Pardon me, but isn't that what training camp is for?

The next training camp can't come soon enough.

We'll be surprised if there aren't a whole bunch of new campers there.