With the trade for AI earlier this year. Joe Dumars decided that the current roster, one that was good enough to make six straight eastern conference finals, wasn't going to get Detroit another NBA championship.
With great players becoming available as free agents in 2010, or simply just slashing the payroll this is how i would blow up the pistons and put them in a position to start again.
1. Trade for "The Big Diesel"
Their is no better way to cripple a franchise then to trade for a player with a massive contract and little results. Fortunately for the Pistons, Shaq is motivated and if nothing else will sell a lot of jerseys before his $20 million per season contract comes off the books.
My proposed trade looks like this. A three-way trade involving the Suns and the Warriors. the Suns send Shaq to the Pistons along with Jason Richardson and Barbosa to the Warriors. The Warriors send Crawford and Maggette to the suns, and either their first round pick or some wing depth like Morrow or Bellini to the Pistons.
Who gives Prince to the Suns and possibly swap first rounders with the Warriors? The Pistons are able to take on the extra salary due to Sheed's expiring contract. With the seventh pick in the draft, the Pistons would select Stephen Curry.
At the very least, Curry provides a good shooter to partner Stuckey and Bynum in the back court. But I believe his potential could be as high as the next Chauncey Billups, and from Davidson's tourney run, you know he won't be afraid to take the big shot, even against a higher rated team.
2. Trade For TMac
With the cap space left over from the Billups-Iverson trade, the Pistons trade Rip and Kwame Brown for TMac and either a future first rounder or a couple of second rounders.
TMac is another $20 million contract that expires in 2010. Tracy should have a good year, as he is due for a new contract and may be able to show the ability that took him to a scoring title or led the Rockets to that 22-game winning streak.
It's also a bonus that making the playoffs in the improving east would be an achievement and no one would really care if they didn't make it out of the first round because they would already be anticipating the good players having at least $40 million in cap space could provide.
3. Antonio McDyess Sign and trade
Sign and trade Dice to a western team, possibly the Thunder or Utah for future first-round picks.
4. This team could get lucky and go somewhere in 2009/10
Just like Boston showed last year, trading for all stars can bring a championship. Though this is highly unlikely since one of the stars is Tracy McGrady. The Pistons would be able to provide matchup problems with the East's elite.
Shaq could match it with Dwight Howard for a few games, especially with help from Johnson. TMac is one of the few people who could possibly score shot for shot with LeBron.
This, combined with the development of current players like Stuckey and Bynum makes this team a possible contender with future first round picks in a highly anticipated draft. It is a place that free agents might want to go to, unlike the dysfunctional Knicks.
This team wouldn't be very deep and would be reliant on a number of D-League level players to fill out the roster to stay under the cap and would often play young players. However, this would build depth for the future. one that could quickly become relevant.
(all salary data taken from hoopsworld.com)
Existing players (players currently contracted for next season who wont be traded.)
Amir Johnson $3,666,667 $3,666,666
Walter Herrmann $2,000,000
Jason Maxiell $1,877,752
$5,000,000 $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $5,000,000
Rodney Stuckey $1,687,320 $1,805,040 $2,767,126
Arron Afflalo $1,015,440 $1,086,240 $1,959,577
Antonio McDyess# $950,419
Will Bynum $711,517 $825,497
Walter Sharpe $442,114 $736,420
Tracy McGrady $20,970,250
Shaquille O'Neal $20,000,000
Seventh draft pick $3,500,000 (ish)
So that makes the total salary 57,590,113
predicted cap space $2,500,000