Revisiting a Few Joe Dumars Trades
By Hank Rearden
One decade ago this very week, President Joe Dumars made his best trade of his tenure. He pulled a rabbit out of a hat to get Rasheed Wallace and Mike James. Two players that were essential in their run to a 2004 NBA Championship. (Their defense was so good that they kept some teams under 60 points for the game). He only had to give up bench players a first round draft pick and cash. Atkins was essentially replaced by James, Hunter was signed back to the team a week later. Bob Sura was also lost in the shuffle, but not missed. The 2004 first round draft pick, which was the 25th pick, ended up being Tony Allen for the Celtics who is a two-time All-Defensive First Team (2012-2013) and 2008 NBA Champion and now with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Below are a few Joe Dumars trades that will remind you of what he is capable of doing if given a green light. WARNING: Some of these are great, while others…are not.
The Grant Hill for Ben Wallace Trade:
To put this trade in perspective, Dumars had just made his first draft picks by selecting Mateen Cleaves (14th) and Brian Cardinal (44th). On August 3, 2000 Dumars knew Grant Hill did not want to resign with the Pistons (do you think it was because of the “Teal Years”?), so it was to his benefit to at least get something in return from the Orlando Magic that was of value. Hill desired to pair with Tracy McGrady to have two superstars on the same team. Both players ended up having serious injury-filled careers. Ben Wallace started all 82 games for the Magic the previous season averaging 8.2 rebounds a game. His Piston accomplishments can go unsaid, but can be summed up that many defensive accolades were accomplished. Atkins played in all 82 games and appeared to have been one of the first guards off the bench that year also. If Grant Hill was not injury prone, what would we think about this trade? It would have been more balanced, that is for sure.
Getting Rid of the Junk (Yard Dog):
The following year, trade deadline 2001, Dumars traded Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams and Eric Montross to the Toronto Raptors for Corliss Williamson, Tyrone Corbin and Kornel David (WHO???) and a 2005 first round draft pick (Fran Vazquez was eventually selected) that was later traded to Orlando on June 2, 2001 and is very involved and difficult to understand. It is unclear what Detroit received in trading away this first round pick, however, Vazquez has yet to sign a contract in the NBA. David played 10 games the next year and then left the NBA. Montross played the rest of that year with Detroit and retired after one year with Toronto. Williams played seven more years with three more teams. Corbin was waived and never played again. Williamson ended up being the winner of the trade as he was essential in the run for the 2004 NBA Title with Detroit. The next summer he was shipped out of town in a trade.
Dropping the Victory Cigar:
We all know the blunder Dumars made with the 2003, 2nd overall draft pick. Let’s see how he attempted to fix this. Near the trade deadline in 2006, Dumars traded Carlos Arroyo and Darko Milicic to Orlando for Kelvin Cato and a 2007 1st round draft pick. Arroyo played 4 more NBA seasons, Darko played 7 more seasons with five teams, and Cato played one more year before retiring. Joe Dumars pulled another one on Orlando as the 2007 1st round draft pick ended up to be the one, the only, Rodney Stuckey, who is currently our 6th man. Stuckey is no Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh, but he is better than nothing! This is why many believe Dumars will sign Stuckey this summer again, so Dumars can show them some type of value from the pick. It is also telling that only Wade is currently with his original team. If Dumars picked anyone else, do you not think that an exodus also would have occurred?
Trading Carlos Delfino:
In the summer of 2007, Dumars traded Delfino, a 2003 1st round draft pick at selection #25, to Toronto for a couple of 2nd round picks. One in 2009 and the other in 2011. Delfino is currently with his third team since the trade, with some starts and a handful of injuries to complicate his career. The 2009, 2nd round draft pick ended up being Jonas Jerebko, who is still on the Pistons roster and played bench forward minutes for four seasons now. Correction, in 2009-10 he started 73 of 80 games he played. Since then he has started a few, but his playing time has been dwindling as the years accumulate. The 2011, 2nd round draft pick is Kyle Singler, who is also on the current roster and has started at shooting guard the last few games. As a rookie last year, he started 74 of 82 games and 6 of 52 this year. He is arguably better at small forward, however a shooting guard is what we need him to be.
Trading Mr. Big Shot for the (non) Answer:
On November 3, 2008, and just two games into the season, Dumars traded Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb for Allen Iverson (aka “AI” or “The Answer”). This was a bonehead move. However, I personally believe that along with a lot of the trades above, it was instigated by listening to a player requesting a trade. I view this trade, Delfino, Afflalo, and Hill as bad trades on paper, but it is my belief that Dumars respected the player enough to grant the trade at the earliest convenience. He also mentioned no fire sale on the leftover players of the 2004 championship team, which may have also been an underlying issue with this trade. Those are my thoughts. Billups went on to some good times in Denver, New York, Los Angeles (Clippers), and now back at Detroit. McDyess was waived, and chose to sign with the Spurs, where he wanted a ring but didn’t get one. Cheikh Samb ended up playing eighteen more games with three other teams before wrapping up his NBA career. AI was quickly NOT the answer for Detroit. He played 54 games with us and caused serious issues along the way. He later played with two other teams the next year and retired. Detroit experienced a glimpse of hope after his expiring contract of over $20M came off the books.
The Amir Johnson Trade:
In the summer of 2009, Dumars traded Amir Johnson to the Milwaukee Bucks for Fabricio Oberto (WHO?). Amir may have also requested a trade as he was pretty far coming off the bench the first three seasons, but starting 24 of 62 for Detroit the year of the trade. Rumors have been mentioned about Amir’s work ethic. I could imagine players like Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace would have nothing to do with him, if that was the case. Fabricio, however, had never played a game with either the Bucks or the Pistons, but played for 3 more teams in a as many years.
A Buding(er) Player That Never Was a Piston:
During the 2009 NBA Draft, Dumars traded the selection of Chase Budinger (44th pick, 2nd round) to the Rockets for cash and their 2011, 2nd round draft pick (also 44th pick…weird), who ended up being Kim English. English was not given a qualifying offer this past summer, and Budinger has been injured a fair amount but has played 252 games with 39 starts for two teams. From what I have seen of Budinger, he would be close to a duplicate of Kyle Singler at small forward. I’d love to know how much cash we got for that pick.
As you can see, Dumars has had great trades, but some were very bad…or were they? Consider my take on why he traded a few of them. If the player wanted to be traded, he wanted the most out of them. With Grant Hill he won with getting Ben Wallace (Orlando’s starting big man) AND Chucky Atkins (their first guard off the bench). Other times, he just needed to get rid of salary in a hurry, like with AI. Unfortunately, AI turned into Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Another sore spot in Piston history.
In conclusion, a mere fact could change your mind on the question if Dumars will be trading next week. Since Dumars took over in the summer of 2000, he has had at least 2 trades each season (either summer or at the trade deadline in February), except between the Aaron Afflalo trade July 13, 2009 until the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette trade on June 26, 2012. That is very close to exactly 3 years! During that time it was well known that the Davidson family put a moratorium on trading as they were trying to sell the Pistons. (Tom Gores purchased the Detroit Pistons in the summer of 2011). That would be a total of 11 years with multiple trades. Let the games begin!
What other trades would be interesting to look into?
Do you think Dumars will make a trade next week?
Will Gores even let Dumars orchestrate a trade?
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