The Detroit Pistons have entered the offseason in a similar position to where they have been each of the past few years.
They are a team that is still a ways away from contention, let alone the playoffs.
That being said, there is room for optimism in Detroit. They have a young squad that is brimming with talent. They also have a mid-lottery pick in this June's draft, and they have in the neighborhood of $20 million to spend in the open market.
There is, however, another avenue that the Pistons must explore.
The NBA is about to embark on a new path. The luxury tax that governs the payrolls of NBA squads finally has some legitimate teeth to it, and teams are finally scared to go too far above and beyond the salary cap.
As a result, there are going to be players becoming available that wouldn't typically become available.
This season, we already saw the ramifications of this new reality in the Rudy Gay and James Harden trades.
For teams without big-name, big-money owners, there is certainly going to be a desire to start unloading expensive talent for the sake of their bottom lines.
Here are five trades that the Detroit Pistons need to explore.
Detroit Pistons trade Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler to Houston Rockets for Thomas Robinson and Carlos Delfino
On the face of it, this looks like a less than stellar trade.
Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler each showed flashes of talent during their time in Detroit, yet neither really has a role with this team.
Singler was inserted into the starting lineup as a shooting guard, but he lacks the athleticism and quickness to defend elite guards. He also plays a little stiff and does not give the Pistons a slashing option.
Jerebko has had an up-and-down experience in Detroit. Essentially, he is a stretch 4 in the body of a small forward. He lacks the quickness to play small forward consistently, and he doesn't really have the strength to play the 4.
Neither of these players figures to be an All-Star; rather, they are destined to be journeymen players.
Thomas Robinson, however, has the talent to become an elite power forward. He has a slowly developing but solid offensive game, he plays with a mean streak down low, and he can rebound like few can.
In both Sacramento and Houston, he was a victim of the numbers game and never really got a fair shot.
In Detroit, the Pistons can wipe the slate clean for him and start developing him into the power forward that he should become.
The incentive for Houston is that they are trying to slash as much salary as possible to lure Dwight Howard to town. The Pistons are looking to bolster their frontcourt and could groom Robinson to play alongside Andre Drummond should they decide to deal Greg Monroe.
Robinson is actually the perfect type of fit next to Drummond should he develop his 15-18-foot jumper. He already has the athleticism to guard the types of 4's that give Monroe fits.
Detroit Pistons trade Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey to Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo
The Detroit Pistons have been looking for a point guard ever since Chauncey Billups was dealt to the Denver Nuggets.
They unsuccessfully tried to play both Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight there and even brought in Jose Calderon for a stint at the lead guard spot.
The problem is that they haven't been able to find a consistent playmaker that can set up teammates and make the game easier for their big men.
The Celtics have been playing the idea of dealing Rondo for a couple years. They are finally starting to transition away from the old and bringing in a youth movement.
Rondo certainly fits with that, but there have been rumblings that Rondo may be grating on management and the coaching staff due to his sometimes moody behavior.
Monroe and Stuckey make plenty of sense for the Celtics. Monroe could take over for Kevin Garnett and give the Celtics a very good, very young front court. They also could be in a position to extend the talented center as they haven't shown a weariness of the salary cap ramifications.
Rodney Stuckey is mostly an afterthought in this deal, inserted to make the numbers fit.
Rondo would immediately make the Pistons a better team. However, this would also necessitate the Pistons taking either Anthony Bennett or Cody Zeller in the draft. Both of whom, however, would be a more natural fit next to Drummond than Monroe.
Detroit Pistons trade Greg Monroe and Kim English to Charlotte Bobcats for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and No. 4 overall pick
So two things probably pop out at you when reading this. First, isn't this a lot to give up for Greg Monroe? Also, why would the Charlotte Bobcats give up on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist already?
The main answer in both of these is that Monroe, if he were in this year's draft, would certainly be the best big man available.
He still is very young, is still developing and would be a natural fit in Charlotte.
Kidd-Gilchrist is a good player, but at this point he is primarily just a defensive stopper and slasher without a consistent jumper or method of scoring outside of transition hoops.
The No. 4 overall pick would be thrown in to sweeten the pot. The Bobcats haven't been rumored to be open to dealing this pick, but then again they likely haven't been offered a player like Monroe. They also would have the ability to extend the big man given that he will be a restricted free agent after this season.
The Bobcats are a very young team that probably doesn't need yet another under 21-year-old guy on the team.
With two of the top eight picks in this year's draft, the Pistons could draft their point guard of the future in Trey Burke and a big man to pair with Drummond in either Bennett or Zeller.
Detroit Pistons trade Brandon Knight, Kim English and second-round pick to Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and Willie Green
If you caught any Los Angeles Clippers games this year, it is hard not to fall in love with their backup point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe is lightning-quick, can jump out of the gym and has a scorer's mentality.
But heading into his last year of his rookie deal, the Clippers are going to have to make a hard decision with him. Do they allow themselves to go over the luxury tax threshold to re-sign him, or do they deal him for a less expensive replacement?
Given team owner Donald Sterling's history, I bet they deal him.
Brandon Knight would be a nice fit in L.A. He can occupy Bledsoe's role as the first guard off the bench, and he would be under contract for a couple more years, giving the Clippers more financial flexibility.
In Bledsoe, the Pistons could have their point guard of the future, and it would allow them to select a player like Shabazz Muhammad in the draft.
Detroit trades Rodney Stuckey to Phoenix Suns for Michael Beasley and the No. 30 overall pick
Let's be honest, Stuckey needs a change of scenery. He has had to maneuver through countless coaches and offensive systems and quite frankly, the Pistons probably have messed the kid up.
He also has a very cost-neutral contract as he is only guaranteed $4 million next season and then would become a free agent. So for the Phoenix Suns, this is a low-risk proposition.
Additionally, they are probably feeling some buyer's remorse for bringing in Michael Beasley. He really didn't fit with the team last year, and now they have a glut of young players in their frontcourt.
For Detroit, Beasley is the type of reclamation project that team president Joe Dumars is famous for.
Additionally, the No. 30 overall pick would be a nice get for Detroit. It could allow them to draft a wing like Tim Hardaway Jr. and allow him to compete with Kim English and Kyle Singler for the starting shooting guard spot.
It also would allow them to draft the best player available at No. 8.