By: Matt Dery
Tonight, Joe Dumars sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis, as part of a three team deal, to land point guard Jose Calderon from Toronto. Rudy Gay goes to the Raptors and Ed Davis also heads to the Grizzlies. It was time.
Tayshaun Prince gave Detroit 11 very good years. He is a pro and a guy that Dumars trusted to help with the transition here to rebuild this organization. But again, it was time to move him. And the Pistons found a taker in the Memphis Grizzlies. Prince is under contract for two more years after this one and there were many skeptics who believed that it would be tough to trade that contract. It had to be the right fit and a team that needed a veteran with NBA Finals experience. Memphis is now Tayshaun’s new home. I wish him well. He was always available to talk after games and took his share of criticism and even stirred the pot once and a while, but, he cannot be ever called a “bad teammate”. The fans appreciated that, but, in the end in 2013, it was time for him to move on. The culture here has needed a change and fresh faces will not only help to win games but also to put butts back in the seats at the Palace. The fans just weren’t coming out to see him anymore. That is not his fault.
Austin Daye is a good kid, but has too many shortcomings in his game to make an impact here. The Grizz need a three point ace and maybe he will fit better there.
Lawrence Frank has to be ecstatic. The Pistons coach has remarked on numerous occasions that he really likes Calderon’s game. The 31 year old point guard is a pure 1 and that is something the Pistons need. His contract is extremely friendly too, with one year left at just over $10 million. Basically Detroit pays him $5 million for the
rest of the season and then they can try and re-sign him after the season or let him walk. The Pistons will have (by my count) between $33-35 million now to play with this offseason. The free agent class is abysmal, but, at least there is money under the cap so the team can be flexible and take part in the trade market. Will they throw a boatload of cash at J.R. Smith in free agency? As one NBA exec told me tonight, “I doubt it.” Joe has to be creative like he was in 2002 when he lured Chauncey Billups to Detroit and dealt for Rip Hamilton. This time, though, Dumars must find some athletes, especially on the wing.
Fans have been on Joe for his lack of moves and for his re-signing of Prince and Rodney Stuckey, but Dumars is no dummy. Yes he is loyal, but, he knows the league and knows which teams he can deal with in order to find the right fit for his team. He is also banking on Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight to improve, and they must, if this team is going to take that next step.
I like this trade because it also gets the fan base buzzing again about the team. Many of you reading this have been very skeptical of this organization the last few years and some of you have been turned off since the Philly incident in 2011. It is time to turn that page. Andre Drummond is going to be a star in this league. Detroit has some other good young pieces and now they are building it right.
I like Lawrence Frank and I think he is the right guy to lead this team to the next level. This club has made leaps and bounds on the defensive end over the last year, though many of you would not know that due to certain columnists regurgitating the same old bits in the newspaper (not you Wojo). The pressure is on the front office to hit another home run in the draft and now spend its money wisely. I also think recruiting wing players here has gotten easier with the addition of Drummond.
A good evening for sure for the Pistons. Now if a ping pong ball can just bounce their way.