The Pistons are in desperate need of a shakeup, but it’s unlikely they’ll make any major deals before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Joe Dumars, the team’s president of basketball operations, is in a tough spot as current owner Karen Davidson and prospective buyer Tom Gores haggle over the sale price of the franchise. NBA commissioner David Stern addressed the situation during the All-Star break, saying the negotiations were in the final stages.
“Either there will be a deal or there won’t be a deal within the next week,” he said. “Every indication is there will be a deal, and we’ll see how that goes.”
That makes dealing players much more complicated for Dumars because of salary concerns. Guard Richard Hamilton appears nearly unmovable because he has $21.5 million in guaranteed money remaining on the final two years of his contract. Forward Tayshaun Prince’s expiring $11.3 million contract has not attracted much attention, and Dumars said Monday he was interested in re-signing Prince.
Prince, who has been with the Pistons since the 2002 draft, wants to test the free agent market.
“With the lockout situation, who knows how things are going to go?” he said. “But this is an opportunity after nine years as a free agent, seeing what’s available. I’ve never been in that position before, so we’ll see what happens.”
Dumars’ best hope for making a deal may entail swapping forward Charlie Villanueva — who has three years remaining on his contract — for a more affordable player and a draft pick. Several teams are looking for big men, and Villanueva has value as a 6-foot-11 forward who can stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting.
Head coach John Kuester, whose team plays at Indiana on Wednesday, says players shouldn’t be worried about any potential trades.
“I always look at it a little bit differently,” he said. “When your name is mentioned, it’s a compliment.”
ROCKETS 108, PISTONS 100: Rookie forward Patrick Patterson scored a career-high 20 points for Houston as the Pistons lost their first game after the All-Star break Tuesday. Head coach John Kuester did not play four of his starters in the fourth quarter and made a disastrous move by going with a three-guard lineup late. The Rockets outscored the Pistons 15-6 in the last four minutes.
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