Isiah Thomas will be back in Auburn Hills at the end of the month to help the Pistons commemorate the 25th anniversary of their first championship team. And we’re hearing that he could be in line to return to the team, a few months after the weekend festivities, for a permanent gig. League sources say that Pistons owner Tom Gores is seriously thinking of making what has been a long-overdue, front-office shakeup after the season, with Thomas recently emerging as a top candidate to take over the role of the team’s top basketball executive from his former backcourt mate, Joe Dumars.

Dumars has been on borrowed time for a while, partly because of his penchant for firing coaches — eight since 2000 — and partly because of his drafting of Darko Milicic in 2003. He could have selected any one of Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh with the No. 2 pick, after Cleveland drafted LeBron James. The Milicic pick is on his permanent record, as are the four straight lottery seasons in which his team has not won as many as 30 games. His tenure is expected to end when his contract runs out this spring.

“Gores is definitely looking at Isiah to replace Joe,” one league source said.

But would he hire him? Thomas, of course, needs no introduction to legions of Knicks fans. They wanted him gone long before Garden chairman Jim Dolan finally ended one of the worst eras in team history. In fact, Thomaas might still be here if he wasn’t at the center of the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment scandal. It was a public-relations nightmare that cost the Garden $11.6 million when the former team executive won her court case. It also gave the league the leverage to twist Dolan’s arm, leading to Thomas’ ouster as team president and the hiring of Donnie Walsh in April of 2008.

Although he’s been persona non grata in the NBA since his days at the Garden, Thomas is still Mr. Piston, and Gores, who operates out of Los Angeles and is finishing his third season as owner, is a lot like Dolan. What he knows about pro basketball you can probably fit in a thimble, and he loves his stars. That goes for current ones (Josh Smith, who is said to have a direct pipeline to Gores) and former ones (there’s none bigger in the Motor City than Thomas, who led the Pistons to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990).