Pistons’ Options are Endless This Summer
In the summer of 2012 the Orlando Magic knew they were not going to keep Dwight Howard, due to free agency. Howard ended up choosing the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic and Lakers worked out a trade. It was a four team trade involving Orlando, LA Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. How that trade went may be a blueprint for what the Pistons could do this summer.
Many believe that the trade deadline was not as dramatic and active, because of what may happen this summer. The NBA draft is thought to be the best since 2003 when Lebron James went with the 1st pick. Then, many of the players from that 2003 class can opt out of their contracts this summer. Furthermore, players like Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and others have expressed interest in being traded. This proves to be a great opportunity for the Detroit Pistons, who have only $38M promised in salary for the 2014-15 season so far. The cap has been said to be $62.1M. This allows the Pistons roughly $24M to spend this summer. In a previous piece, a few ideas to where the Pistons should upgrade were listed. This article will attempt to provide some insight on what could occur, if everything works out perfectly for the Pistons. (A guy can dream, can’t he?).
Joe Dumars, Enjoy the Sunset
Joe Dumars will not be fired before the end of the season. He will not quit. I suspect that there will be a surprise announcement around the time of the Bad Boys celebration, at the end of this month, that will deal with his position. I suspect there will be a presentation to Dumars and a mutual respect given, along with the urgency to name the new President. I suspect this has been in the works since Cheeks got fired. It sure would make sense that this replacement would be announced that same day when the Miami Heat are in town. The same team who happen to have Lebron James and two other potential free agents that we may be interested in. Bottom line, Dumars’ contract will not be renewed. Who will take his place, and even the names of potential successors is a mystery. Let’s just hope that Isiah Thomas rumor was nonsense!
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Pull a Howard-like Trade
As the introduction alluded to, the Detroit Pistons could find a team who knows they will lose their best player. It is in the best interest of that team to get something out of the deal. This is where Josh Smith comes in. Trading Josh Smith’s $14M/year salary in a sign-and-trade situation this summer for one of the heavy hitter free agents, may prove to be quite opportunistic. Smith’s salary and Charlie Villanueva’s expiring $8.5M salary would allow for a quick $22.5M salary player. Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony come to mind. Some creativity and possibly a third team needing cap relief would need to sprout for this to take place.
Effect on team salary cap: None to negligible
Upgrade the Point Guard Position
Brandon Jennings, I thought, was a better player than Brandon Knight. I do believe Jennings has potential, however, his attitude and tendency to not accept constructive criticism has been a sour note all year long. Filling in the empty position of exiting Rodney Stuckey as sixth-man, first guard off the bench, may be the best role for him.
In a separate discussion, it is quite clear that Greg Monroe is not the max player the Pistons are interested in. Performing a sign-and-trade with Monroe to obtain Rajon Rondo would suit both teams nicely. Rondo makes $13M next year and I would guess that Monroe would be pleased with something similar to John Wall, who will get a little more than $13M next season. If Monroe signs for less, the Pistons may get a draft pick or additional player to waive and save money, or add another bench player to the mix.
Effect on team salary cap: +$9M, leaving $15M left
Options are Endless
With $15M left, if the above trades went down, many veterans would love to jump in the boat as it sails towards a Championship ring. Rome wasn’t built in a day, just as the next Piston championship team won’t be. Much will depend on the next GM and coach. Since Phil Jackson was hired to be the President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks, who will the candidates be to quarterback this franchise to a return to championship glory? What we do know is that Dumars is going to be out, and Loyer was a band-aid for the remainder of the season. Expect the head coach position to remain a question mark until the president and GM roles are filled.
After the GM and coach are chosen, the James or Melo entrance could manifest. Trading Monroe for Rondo would position many free agents to show interest, either this summer or next. The Pistons are that close to success.
Who would you want as the next coach? GM? President?
What free agents do you see the Pistons positioning for this summer?