DUMARS RETURNS FOR NO. 13

Joe Dumars will be back for his 13th season with the Pistons.

They announced Wednesday that Dumars, a free-agent guard, had signed a contract for one season that Dumars said was for $3 million.

His return was no surprise. “Since being drafted by the Pistons in 1985, I have never considered playing anywhere else,” Dumars said.

He had sought a two-year contract, but the Pistons wanted to take it a year at a time. The team’s initial offer supposedly was around $2.5 million. Dumars made $5 million against the salary cap last season.

“Me and Mr. Davidson did this thing together,” Dumars said late Wednesday, referring to owner William Davidson.

“You can make a truckload of money and be the most unhappy guy in the world if you’re playing on a losing team and not surrounded by the best players. I know, because a couple of years ago that was my story from start to finish.

“So when Mr. Davidson asked me to help out the team with the salary cap, I decided I would.”

Dumars said he hadn’t considered testing the open market. “My family is here, I’ve been here 12 years, this is my team.”

As for future years, Dumars said there were no arrangements for anything beyond this season. “When you’re my age (34), there are so many ups and downs in a season, you have to take it one year at a time.”

Pistons president Tom Wilson said: “Joe is a foundation to this organization, and having him end his career here is important to all of us.”

Dumars and Rick Mahorn are the only remaining Pistons from the 1989-90 NBA champions. When he starts his 13th season, Dumars will tie Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer as the longest-tenured Pistons.

Thomas is the Pistons’ all-time leader in games with 979. Dumars, at 908, can surpass Thomas this season. Dumars averaged 14.7 points last season and was fourth in the league in three-point shooting (.432).

CURRY SIGNS WITH BUCKS: Pistons reserve guard Michael Curry, whom coach Doug Collins often called one of the hardest workers on the team, agreed to a two-year guaranteed contract with Milwaukee — in part because he thought the Bucks wanted him more than the Pistons did.

Forward Otis Thorpe also is expected to depart in the next week, heading to Vancouver for a second-round draft pick. The Pistons basically will be giving him away because of his differences with Collins and his $5.6-million salary next season.

The Pistons offered Curry a two-year deal, but it was so incentive-laden that it would have been difficult for Curry to make the $550,000 he did last season, especially with Aaron McKie competing for minutes.

“We’re not getting into anything negative here, but this decision was more than just money,” said Guy Zucker, Curry’s agent. “It was more of a matter that Detroit’s offer reflected very little appreciation for what he did.”

Curry said: “This is very difficult for me and my family because we had bought a home here. I think I surprised a lot of people by leaving, but I think maybe I felt I was more important than what they thought.”

Zucker was armed with evidence that Curry was an integral part of the team’s defense.

When he played 10 or more minutes, the Pistons were 43-18; gave up an average of 87.9 points; and had percentages of 43.8 on field-goal defense and 35.6 from three-point range.

When he played less than 10 minutes, the Pistons were 11-10 and opponents averaged 92.5 points, shot 46.4 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from three-point land.

Curry came to the Pistons from the CBA during the 1995-96 season.

“There is no animosity at all; it’s just that with Aaron McKie, Mike’s minutes and goals would have been less attainable this year,” Zucker said.

COLEMAN UPDATE: Derrick Coleman is still working out with strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander, hoping to become a Piston soon. Coleman was at the practice facility Wednesday. The 76ers power forward is looking for a way out of Philadelphia, and the Pistons are among those interested.

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