The Detroit Pistons aren’t likely to make the playoffs this year, but they are certainly doing a good job preparing for the summer.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Detroit acquired point guard Jose Calderon in a three-team deal on Wednesday that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye out of town, freeing up added cap space to make a splash in free agency after the season.
Calderon is in the final year of his current contract that is paying the point guard $10.5 million this year. With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Pistons will have nearly $25 million in cap space with which to add some quality backcourt talent.
Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond anchor a solid foundation on which the Pistons can build this offseason. Knight and Monroe have been the team’s two leading scorers this year, and if the Pistons can find another quality perimeter player this summer to add to their lineup, Detroit will take on a whole new look for the 2013-14 season.
Calderon doesn’t just represent summer cap relief for the Pistons. Although he’ll have to compete for playing time the remainder of the season, Calderon remains one of the most efficient point guards in the league, and he’ll add considerable depth to Detroit’s backcourt. His 11.1 points and 7.4 assists per game are above his career average, and Calderon is one of the best guards in the league at not turning over the basketball.
Given the complexities of the rebuilding process in the NBA, Detroit was faced with a tough decision in trading away Prince. He was still producing in Detroit, 11 years into his career with the only team he had played for in the NBA. But as is the case with any business, it became time for the Pistons to reevaluate its long-term plan and part ways with one of the team’s fan favorites.
That long-term plan involves some very talented young players, and despite Prince’s departure, fans should be pleased with the direction in which the organization is headed. Free agency will be the ultimate litmus test for this deal, though it’s hard to envision Detroit struggling to make a big move or two in free agency with the core of players it has in place.
As it stands, Detroit still has a chance to finish this season on a positive note. Moving Prince and Daye will provide more playing time for the Piston’s younger players, but this deal was never about the 2012-13 season. Detroit is building for the future, and this move is a step in the right direction.