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Breaking Pistons news and analysis of developments within the team and around the NBA.

Friday, July 18, 2008


The pool of possible Pistons free agents dried up a little more this week. James Posey took a four-year offer from New Orleans, while Carlos Delfino signed with a Russian team.
According to Delfino, the Pistons were the only NBA team that made him an offer during free agency. Delfino couldn't pass up the handsome 3-year contract he was offered to play overseas.
The Pistons have their full mid-level exception and might still sign a low-level free agent, but it appears they won't be using all of it. Looking at the list of remaining free agents, they might as well stick with what they've got at most positions.
It's clear that Michael Curry loves Arron Afflalo's game and will play him more than Flip Saunders did. Amir Johnson will also get more opportunities and Cheikh Samb will get to do more than hang around the Development League. Walter Sharpe has been inconsistent in summer-league play, which was to be expected. The Pistons can't go into camp with Sharpe as their No. 2 small forward and have to get another one via a trade or free agency.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Denver made an eye-opening move Monday night, giving away All-Star center Marcus Camby to the Clippers for a second-round pick that it might never receive.
Could this mean the Nuggets are on the verge of making a big trade, say shipping Carmelo Anthony to the Pistons? It doesn't look that way.
This was simply a move to appease an owner who didn't want to pay the league's dollar-for-dollar luxury tax. The Nuggets were hamstrung by a number of bad contracts. No one wanted to pick up an overpaid player like Kenyon Martin or Nene. Camby had value and the Clippers were a natural fit after they lost Elton Brand and fell under the salary cap, which allowed them to acquire Camby.
The most striking thing about this move: What kind of message does this send to the rest of the Nuggets? If you're Carmelo or Iverson, you know management is more worried about the bottom line than winning.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I'll skip the Nero comparisons - Joe Dumars doesn't play the fiddle and he's wise to wait and see what develops in the trade market - but there's a lot of smoke emanating from the Eastern Conference. In order for the Pistons to reach the conference finals for a whopping seventh consecutive time next season, they'll have to put out a lot of fires.
Virtually every team in the conference has made a significant improvement during this offseason. No question, lottery winners Chicago (Derrick Rose) and Miami (Michael Beasley) are more formidable after getting the two prized possessions of an otherwise weak draft.
Others have helped themselves through trades or free agency. Toronto looks a lot scarier with Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Bosh joining forces upfront, easily the best power forward/center combo in the conference. Ex-Pistons executive John Hammond solved Milwaukee's small forward problem by acquiring one of the best - Richard Jefferson.
Philadelphia stunned the basketball world by pilfering Elton Brand, giving the Sixers a much-needed scorer. Orlando upgraded its shooting guard spot by signing Golden State free agent Mickael Pietrus. Washington owner Abe Pollin overpaid Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison to keep them in D.C. but the Wizards should be a perennial playoff team with Arenas, Jamison and Caron Butler.
Coaching changes have also changed the landscape. The Knicks' roster is a complete mess but Mike D'Antoni will turn them around once he gets enough players who can work within his system. And even though I've bashed Larry Brown many times for his antics, he's undeniably a huge upgrade over Sam Vincent in Charlotte.
Oh, have I mentioned that Boston is the defending NBA champion?
Yes, the Pistons will find it much tougher to remain one of the conference's top two teams, whether or not Dumars makes that long-awaited big trade.

Monday, July 7, 2008


More than a month has gone by since Joe Dumars proclaimed there were no sacred cows on his team - a statement he later amended to exclude Rodney Stuckey.
All of the top players who lost their sacred cow status are still members of the Pistons organization.
What's going on? It's a lot more difficult to make a significant trade than the average fan would think.
Everyone wants to be the team to pull off this year's version of the Kevin Garnett deal and put itself over the top. But auctions for long-term superstars with most of their skills intact don't happen very often.
The Boston-Minnesota trade brought together the perfect trading partners. The Timberwolves had decided to finally cut ties with Garnett. They wanted to rebuild around younger players and improve their salary-cap situation. The Celtics had the young players and expiring contracts they desired. Throw in the Kevin McHale-Danny Ainge connection and you had just the right mix to bring both parties together.
The Pistons are looking for a dominating post player and/or prolific scorer to shake up their core. They basically have proven veterans to offer in return, along with Rasheed Wallace's expiring contract. The only intriguing young player that might interest a trading partner is Amir Johnson.
A package like that only makes sense for a team that has struggled to make the playoffs or can't get out of the early rounds. That significantly reduces the list of potential trading partners.
A few weeks ago, I tossed out the names of Amare Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, Elton Brand, Emeka Okafor and LaMarcus Aldridge as the players most likely to come to Detroit in a major deal.
That list has probably been reduced to four. Brand opted out of his contract and became an unrestricted free agent. Okafor is a restricted free agent.
If the Pistons want them, they'd have to work out a sign-and-trade with the Clippers or Bobcats, respectively. Giving Brand or Okafor gobs of money means they better be franchise players who can carry you to championships. I don't think either fits that bill.
That leaves Stoudemire, McGrady, Nowitzki and Aldridge. Phoenix seems to be in a go-for-it and cost-cutting mode at the same time, plus it has ex-Pistons assistant Terry Porter as its new head coach. That's why I don't feel a Stoudemire deal is out of the question.
Houston and Dallas haven't gotten out of the first round lately. One of those franchises could decide at some point this summer to retool its roster around some guys who have been to the conference finals year after year. And Portland needs a veteran presence (Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince) to balance out its impressive young core of players.
So, don't despair Pistons fans. There's still almost three months until training camp and plenty of time for Dumars to pull the trigger.