By: Matt Dery
The Pistons made a move last night. Did they trade for a big-time scorer? No. Did they amnesty Charlie Villanueva? No. Did they punch their ticket to the 2013 playoffs? Not at all. Did they help themselves in the long term? Absolutely. But see, here is the thing; most Detroit fans don’t want to hear about “long-term” or “a rebuild”.
They take one sound byte from Tom Gores or even Jonas Jerebko about making the playoffs next year and then they automatically think that Joe Dumars is on the hot seat and that if he doesn’t trade Jason Maxiell for Luol Deng, then the whole organization needs to be blown up. Not how the game works. The Pistons are a 25-41 team. Gores knows that. Dumars knows that. Lawrence Frank knows that. In order to move the team in the right direction in this market, the Pistons have to be creative and they have to develop players. Ben Gordon never developed and now he is gone.
The signing of Ben Gordon three years ago was a mistake. The shooting guard did not fit here and with the front office basically in handcuffs for two of the three seasons that BG was here; it was very difficult to put him in the right position to succeed. No excuses though, this was a bad signing by Dumars. But, just like in the past, I believe Joe D is now at least attempting to correct his mistake.
There are plenty of NBA GM’s who ride or die with certain players and refuse to try and correct the errors. Fans said that Joe would NEVER be able to find a taker for Darko and he did. Who in the heck would trade for Nazr Mohammad and his terrible five year 30 million dollar contract? Dumars dealt him to Charlotte. Now Gordon had two years left on his contract and close to 26 million bucks. Albatross right?
Dumars again deals with Michael Jordan and BG is now a Bobcat. Many fans are unhappy because the Pistons are also giving up a first round draft pick, but, it is fully lottery protected next summer.
Furthermore, Detroit acquires Corey Maggette in the deal and he has one year left on his deal. If he plays well, great. If a contender needs an athletic wing that gets to the free throw line at the trade deadline, just maybe the Pistons acquire another first round pick for him. The key is that the Pistons dumped a ton of salary for 2013-2014 and freed up nearly 15 million dollars. This is still a rebuild and as Gores said at the team’s “State of the Pistons” event earlier this month; he and his team are not looking for quick fixes but to build “long-term”.
After going to the playoffs for 8 straight years and winning a championship and playing in the conference finals for 6 consecutive seasons, the Pistons are going thru a different type of transition period. New ownership is learning about the game and how this basketball business is run and Dumars has to build thru the draft and development of his own players. Fans want “bold moves” and “fantasy trades” but that is not how it works. There is a reason why Joe D did not make a trade for 1000 days. Yes, you heard me correctly, 1000 days. You don’t think after the player shoot-around boycott in Philly in 2011 that Joe didn’t want to ship some of those guys out of town?
He could not. He wasn’t allowed to. Unfortunately, the pending sale of the team became a major setback organizationally and Dumars also added two pieces that clearly were two errors. He was able to right one of the wrongs last night. The Draft comes up on Thursday night and that is also an important evening for the Pistons. They must add talent and again build off of what they did in the 2010 and 2011 drafts.
One side note. In 2005-2006, the Indiana Pacers organization basically passed away. The brawl at the Palace destroyed it. Indiana is now back on the NBA map. It is 2012. That took some time, right?