Matt Dery: Tayshaun Is Back, But There Are Bigger Fish To Fry
I’ve heard from the fans. I know all about it. How could the Pistons bring back Tayshaun Prince after finally having his old contract expire? “Detroit Basketball” is in a rebuild, and has been in a rebuilding mode for the past couple of seasons and to the naked eye, this deal does not make sense. Four more years of Prince at a reported $27 million is a good bargain for most teams, but the Pistons are a different bird. It is an organization that is trying to find its identity again and also get back to relevancy. Prince is a known commodity around the league and his relationship with Pistons President Joe Dumars remains very strong.
Joe D wants to win now, but “reshape,” and the big question is: Which veterans will help in making that possible? It is obvious he believes Tayshaun can be that guy. I have one more important question: What about Rip Hamilton?
If the Pistons want to bring back Prince, fine. But, Hamilton cannot be here then. Tayshaun and Rip have a bond and a relationship that goes back nearly 10 years. They have won championships together and they are loyal to each other. They were together the day Chauncey Billups was traded and they cried emotional tears as friends.
The Pistons need Tayshaun to support the younger players and their development, and the roadblock is that Hamilton is still on the roster.
Prince referred to last season as “buffoonery” and a lot of that was based on John Kuester’s treatment of Rip. Both sides made mistakes, but Prince knew the Kuester ship was sinking, so he remained on the SS Rip — smart move. If Hamilton is back and is forced to share minutes again with Ben Gordon, there is nothing that Lawrence Frank can do.
Tayshaun is loyal to “his guy” and Prince is smart enough to know that he has an audience in that dressing room. Prince is a brilliant basketball mind and good at reading others. If Hamilton’s minutes dwindle? The gloves come off again. That is what Pistons fans should be wary of.
I like that Tayshaun is loyal to this area. He could have gone to the Clippers and played at home, but he prefers the quiet and low-key city. He wants to retire as a Piston. Now it is time for the team to surround him with more young talent and less drama. I think Dumars will do that. I also think Frank is a significant upgrade on the sidelines, but that still does not excuse what the players did last season to the previous coach – “buffoonery” or not.