Pistons fans have been waiting for Charlie Villanueva's contract to expire for far too long.
Nearly five years ago, general manager Joe Dumars made a major splash at the beginning of the 2009 free-agency period by signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to five-year deals worth approximately a combined $90 million.
They were among the best players in an unfortunately weak 2009 free-agent class, but at the time the duo was expected to help usher in a quick rebuild for the Pistons after they traded Chauncey Billups to the Denver Nuggets.
"Detroit got two young players, which is important ... since Gordon is only 26 and Villanueva is only 24, the Pistons limited their risk," ESPN.com's John Hollinger (subscription required) said of the deal. "Moreover, those players can still deliver some positive surprises going forward. Neither is an All-Star at present, but both have had enough moments as high-octane scorers for us to consider the possibility somewhere down the road."
But that good feeling lasted only briefly as both players failed to live up to expectations, while the team struggled. Within two seasons, they were known more for their bloated contracts than their performances on the court.
Gordon was traded prior to the 2012-13 season for an expiring contract and a future first-round pick (we'll get to this), but Villanueva has miraculously played out his entire contract with the Pistons—a constant reminder to fans of that infamous offseason.
But the end is in sight for those who have been counting down to the expiration of his contract. And unless the Pistons win four of their final six games, the Charlie V era in Detroit will end without a single-season win total above 30.
So Pistons fans, remember the matador defense, the ridiculous antics and all the losses. Then remember that the Charlie V era is nearly over in Detroit. Finally, do your best to forget that there ever was a Charlie V era.