As Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline approaches, the Detroit Pistons face what is arguably their most important deadline since Joe Dumars worked magic long since disappeared, and acquired Rasheed Wallace in 2004. The Pistons sent out Bob Sura, Zeljko Rebracja, Lindsey Hunter, Chucky Atkins and two first round picks in order to bring in Rasheed Wallace and Mike James. While those picks turned into Josh Smith and Tony Allen, the Pistons would turn into NBA champions. This deal, as well as the assembly of mainstays Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace, has bought Joe Dumars over a decade of staying power in the Motor City; staying power which seems to just now be wearing thin. A once wily and resourceful Dumars has turned into a big spender, and still getting little in return.
This year’s deadline finds the Pistons with far more assets than they have had in the past few years. Armed with Charlie Villanueva’s expiring $8M contract, Rodney Stuckey’s bench scoring and expiring $8M contract, as well as a young paint presence in Greg Monroe, Joe Dumars finds himself with more tools at his disposal than he has had since he topped off the Pistons’ championship core. The questions that Pistons fans face are multi-faceted; will Dumars do anything at all? If he does, will he make a smart move that helps both now and in the future? With less than 72 hours between now and the deadline, we’ll soon know the roster that will either push through and make the playoffs, or falter and leave Detroit biding time until baseball season. Here’s a breakdown of the odds of each player going, and what he might bring back.
UNLESS YOU’RE OFFERING LEBRON, KD, CP3 OR PAUL GEORGE, PLEASE DON’T WASTE MY TIME:
Andre Drummond - The league’s best young center won’t be going anywhere before Thursday. Averaging 13 PPG, 13 RPG and nearly 2 BPG going into the deadline, the 20 year old is one of the most valuable assets in the league. It would likely take a bona fide superstar for Dumars to even think about moving him.
WILL LISTEN, BUT YOUR OFFER BETTER HAVE THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF KATE UPTON
Greg Monroe - Monroe has been the center of trade speculation for a large chunk of the season, but in recent weeks, the organization has made it clear it plans on keeping Monroe. Rumors of interest in Monroe have come from both Washington and Charlotte. Monroe, who is a Restricted Free Agent in the offseason, would complete a very potent offensive frontcourt with the Bobcats and would give John Wall a bona fide #2 in Washington. However, the Bobcats don’t have much of interest to the Pistons, and the Wizards likely wouldn’t be willing to part with Bradley Beal to acquire Monroe. Keep your eyes peeled for rumors about Monroe in the coming days, but don’t expect him to be dealt.
NOT GOING ANYWHERE FOR NON-BASKETBALL REASONS
Chauncey Billups – No way is Dumars stupid enough to trade a Pistons legend a second time.
Josh Harrellson – WOULD YOU TRADE A 6’11 THREE LAUNCHING WHITE GUY NICKNAMED JORTS??!?! Didn’t think so. In all seriousness, highly unlikely he goes anywhere.
WOULD MOVE, PROBABLY WON’T
Josh Smith - Another one of Dumars’ well thought-out free agent signings, Smith might be dealt if the Pistons can find a taker. After this season, Smith is still owed $42M over three seasons. While his talent isn’t necessarily in question, his fit on this team is, and he’d likely be worth more to somebody else. I think Dumars might want to move Smith in order to save some face, but he would probably have to take back a bad deal or two.
Brandon Jennings – Jennings has been dazzling on some nights, carrying the Pistons to victory. On other nights, his poor shot selection and porous defense have decimated the Pistons’ chances of winning. All-in-all, Jennings hasn’t been a bad signing and has been a better distributor than expected, while also creating offense on the perimeter. I don’t think Detroit would turn away a good deal if he was in it, but it’s not likely they’re pursuing a deal with Jennings included.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – KCP’s role has been scaled back over the last couple weeks, with Kyle Singler moving into the starting lineup. However, with added strength and an offseason to add to his offensive game and shooting range, he just might be the three-and-D guy this team needs. There probably isn’t much of a market for him anyways.
Kyle Singler – As KCP’s role has diminished, Singler has scooped up his minutes and is providing the Pistons with the perimeter shooting that they need. His ability to get to the free throw line has bumped his game up a level above where he was last year. He’s not your ideal vision of a starting SG, but he’s the best option on the roster. Teams looking for depth might have an interest, but trading him probably wouldn’t return a player of equal value.
Jonas Jerebko - Jerebko possesses a $4.5M player option that he’ll almost certainly exercise this offseason. It’s hard to imagine a team asking for him specifically. Only way he goes is if his salary is needed to balance a deal out that’s being worked out.
Peyton Siva/Tony Mitchell – Unless a team asked for one of these two, they’ll be competing for a spot in Detroit’s rotation next season. Mitchell has an NBA body and athleticism but is still learning the game. He might draw some interest if a team is looking to get more value from Detroit in a deal.
Luigi Datome – Preseason hype has yet to materialize and likely never will. He’s shown nothing that would cause an opposing GM to want to acquire him. Another guy who is only going to end up in a deal if he’s needed to make the salaries work.
WHO WANTS THIS ISOLATION MACHINE!?!
Will Bynum – The Pistons could really use an upgrade at the backup PG spot, especially one that can help stretch the floor for Detroit’s big frontcourt. Bynum was fun to watch when the Pistons didn’t have a chance to win. Now, his one-on-one tendencies seem to interrupt any flow the offense can manage. He could generate interest. Keep an eye on him as Thursday approaches.
GUYS WHO MIGHT WANT TO PUT THEIR HOUSE ON THE MARKET
Rodney Stuckey - Even if Stuckey weren’t a bench scoring specialist having his most efficient season in years, he would be attractive for his $8M expiring deal. Stuckey could appeal to a title contender in need of depth in the backcourt or to a team willing to give up a pick or a young player if the Pistons take a bad deal off their hands. The only thing keeping Stuckey from being a lock to be traded, is his ability to create offense for the Pistons when they hit a slump. I’d put the odds of Stuckey being moved at about 50%.
Charlie Villanueva – The worst free agent signing in Joe Dumars’ tenure will finally come off the books in 2014, whether it’s at the trade deadline or in the summer. Villanueva could be used to facilitate a deal between two other teams in exchange for a pick, or traded to a team in need of cap space. Villanueva isn’t going to fetch a major asset, but he could bring a decent role player.