The Detroit Pistons are at a crucial time in their rebuilding era. With new ownership and a new coach in Lawrence Frank they are faced with the opportunity to turn the direction of this franchise around. It is something that the players have been holding their breath for and something that the fans of Detroit have undoubtedly wished upon a shooting star for as well.
Being a Pistons’ fan has become almost as hard as being a Detroit Lions’ fan was and if you are a resident of Detroit or any surrounding area, you understand how hefty that plight stood.
Pistons’ general managers have been getting the sharpest edge of the sword by all accounts because their decision-making has not necessarily redeemed their roster.
The over-signings have been embarrassing and the audacious, sometimes perceived as uneducated and perplexing, recruitment of a lineup consisting of guards equaling the population of a small island may not have helped any in the redemption of the franchise. However, this is a time in which new owner Tom Gores wants to make his mark in the city and reestablish a brand that has been seemingly desecrated from the inside out.
You think desecrated is too strong of a word? Here is what we know about last season from rumors, “sources”, reports and media innuendos:
1. Coach John Kuester benches Pistons’ vet Richard Hamilton.
2. Team stages a revolt against the head coach.
3. Detroit Pistons go 30-52 overall.
4. Charlie Villanueva attempts to knock Cleveland F-C Ryan Hollins head off during one of the last games of the season.
5. Ben Wallace continues to contemplate retirement.
6. Tracy McGrady likely to leave Pistons after single season.
7. Ben Gordon entirely not happy with his time in Detroit franchise.
So? After going through everything that has and is happening with the Detroit Pistons, I may use a word like buried alive to describe the events that have transpired behind and beyond the Pistons’ locker room in the last year or so. But, it is okay. With a few key wins here and there and at least a 10-15 game improvement the town crier will run through downtown Detroit screaming, “Change is a-coming!”
Improvement only comes with difference. Whether it is the difference in the morale of the squad or an overhaul of faces and personalities, something has got to give in this organization. Here are a few of the reported offseason transactions that may take place along with a few predictions as to what direction the Pistons will be guided in during the free agency season.
A. Re-signing Rodney Stuckey
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Stuckey will be released by the Pistons. The young guard is one of the two that I feel will remain with the franchise after this season is up. The other guard is rookie Brandon Knight who I believe will be far from a disappointment.
Stuckey’s collapse last year frightened a lot of people, but a follow-up determined that his ongoing health and involvement with the team is not a cause of immediate and dire concern. Stuckey is a combo guard that can facilitate as well as shoot and his characteristics pair up well with Brandon Knight, who is also a sound scorer and offensive creator for his teammates.
Stuckey can still develop under a new system. His passing and court vision can greatly improve, but how much of a chance has he had to be molded into a better point guard? He played behind Billups, he was in Detroit during a pitiful Allen Iverson era and he has most recently been outshined by a rebellious roster and an infective head coach.
Rodney Stuckey may not be a poised franchise player, but he is definitely the Piston’s best option to breed and reap the benefits.
B. Shopping Ben Gordon
Ben Gordon is not happy here so by all means relieve him of his deteriorating role in the franchise.
Since the Pistons have announced that they are not using the amnesty clause on anyone this season, a grave mistake in more than one circle of opinion, send Gordon packing in a more traditional matter. Make him someone else’s responsibility, namely someone who will give back a more mature and stable fraction of veteran leadership in his place.
There was an article that I read a short while ago that listed Chicago as a possible destination for Gordon in a possible trade for Luol Deng. This is by far one of the worst options possible for the Chicago Bulls and I highly doubt that they would accept a trade offer of this nature.
In order for Detroit to find another home for the perimeter scorer who is lackluster in defense, the Pistons must locate a team who is in need of such a role player and not someone who would likely need a player to inject into their starting lineup. A team like the Atlanta Hawks who may be losing their off-the-bench perimeter scorer in Jamal Crawford would be aiming in a better direction.
Of course an $11.6 million contract is standing in the way of many possibilities, but Gordon is more a liability in Detroit than an asset.
C. Signing Brandon Knight & Vernon Macklin
D. Recruiting Glen “Big Baby” Davis
The Detroit Pistons are interested in Glen Davis and Davis is interested in the Detroit Pistons, or so it has been rumored and reported. It would be a match made in heaven, well in a way.
Davis would bring size and defense to Detroit which, as already stated, is something that the Pistons really need some of right now. It will be somewhat of a battle of financial resources and future playoff appearance promises between both Detroit and Boston, who is also attempting to reach out and retain Davis’ services for the 2011 season.
Danny Ainge reached out to the big man as soon as possible to make his case as well as some of Davis’ former teammates and that is well-received by Davis’ camp.
However, the Celtics may not be able to give him the money that he wants while they appear to be bringing back Jeff Green. One crucial upside that the Boston Celtics have over the Detroit Pistons is that they are well-prepared to make a deep playoff run right now.
The Pistons still have some growing and adjusting to do before they are ready to compete with the deepening Eastern Conference. Detroit could have a chance at making a sweeter deal for Davis by pushing a more stable role in the future of the team along with more money and shifts in the roster.