As the iconic Michael Scott said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…strike three. You are out.”
Joe Dumars tried to avoid the mayhem that was to be the 2010 free agent market as LeBron James and Co. hit the recruiting trail. As a precaution, Joe spent in 2009, drastically over-paying for the likes of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva and essentially delaying the Pistons' rebuild another five years. Joe will have to spend much more wisely this summer, if he spends anything at all.
Available but Unrealistic
Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson aren’t making the trip to Motown. Let’s not even waste time with them.
Available, but a Long Shot
Josh Smith is one of the most versatile players in the league on both ends of the floor. If a franchise has any championship aspirations over the next five years, then they have to go through LeBron James and Kevin Durant. In order to do so, you need someone who can defend those freaks. I’m an advocate of Smith receiving a hefty contract strictly for that reason.
Joe Johnson, Roy Hibbert, Rashard Lewis, and Rudy Gay are, or were, operating on max deals, which should make you appreciate a player like Smith even more.
LeBron James is heralded for his ability to guard the Derrick Roses of the league as well as the Dwight Howards. If there is one player in the NBA who can replicate that versatility, it’s Smith. Playing the majority of the season as a PF in Atlanta, Smith somehow managed to rank No. 1 on Basketball Prospectus’ metric for best perimeter defenders. That’s impressive.
There is plenty not to like about Smith's offensive game. Oftentimes, his shot selection is questionable at best, and his decision-making can border on the Lindsey Lohan level.
Don't forget, though, that Detroit appreciates defense more than the average team. Having an elite perimeter defender who can bang underneath on switches is a massive relief in a league focused so firmly on switches and matchups.
Tony Allen has received praise from pundits all season as a player worthy of Defensive Player of the Year consideration. The Pistons have lacked a perimeter defender since Tayshaun during “the Block” era. Maybe he isn’t the best offensive player, but he will be a welcomed addition to fans who appreciated the blue-collar work of the championship Pistons.
Corey Brewer is the same story as Tony Allen.
Andre Iguodala made over $15 million this season, but he won’t be commanding much more than $10 per year on this contract. Andre brings a dose of the versatility that Smith does, but with more offensive game. And, like Allen, he has received DPOY praise this season.
Chauncey Billups resurrected his career in Detroit, and he is on his last legs—both professionally and physically. Returning to Detroit would do two things: allow the veteran to retire for the team with whom he won a championship, and Detroit would bring in a steady head who will be a great influence over the entire team.