The Pistons have a very busy offseason ahead of them. Let’s look at two burning questions facing the team.
What players will the team look to target in the draft coming up soon?
Most of the names floating around Pistons camp are either power forwards or point guards, with Rodney Stuckey looking more and more like his best role would be a Ben Gordon, quick scoring sixth man type, and not the PG of the future, and the Rasheed Wallace Experience being over (more on that later).
DeJuan Blair is a favorite of the Freep, but as they noted, the Pistons already have a undersized, thick power forward, and his name is Jason Maxiell. The guy I like here, even though it goes against every fiber of my being, and most likely many in the organization, is B.J. Mullens.
Yes, I know he went to Ohio State, but I got to see him play a few games during the Big Ten season, and when he’s right, he can be dominant.
He is a legitimate 7 footer, long, very athletic and if he is put on the right team where he can have some time to develop, he can be a real force down the line (and on top of that, you cannot pass on a guy who’s savvy (but most likely cruel) enough to cheat in a Blazin’ wing contest).
And yes, I did use parentheses within parentheses. I am the apex of cool.
Anyways, back to reality.
Other big man targets could be James Johnson of Wake Forest, Earl Clark of Louisville, Austin Daye of Gonzaga, or even Tyler Hansbrough of UNC.
If the team decides to go PG, at least a few of these guys should be available, and all would be good fits for the team: Ty Lawson of UNC, Jonny Flynn of Syracuse, Eric Maynor of VCU, and Jeff Teague of Wake Forest.
Out of the guards, Jeff Teague seems to have a lot of potential and Ty Lawson is the best all-around guy and most developed at the moment. But knowing the Pistons, they will find some “diamond in the rough” out of Colorado or North Dakota that no one knows.
What could be some possible moves the team makes in free agency?
Things are a bit different at the start of this offseason, as the team finally hit that point during the season where the core guys from the 2003 title team got old and the organization had to start heading in another direction.
This started with Chauncey Billups being sent to Denver in exchange for Allen Iverson, which many thought, including me, was a move mainly to get a proven star, a thing the team has not seen since Grant Hill.
While I feel the organization made the move mainly to provide some fresh juice at the time, there was a secondary motive that turned out to be the only good thing coming from the deal, as Iverson did not have the impact many thought he would. AI’s real impact comes now.
He and another big time player, Rasheed Wallace, are free agents, and unless hell freezes over, they’re not getting re-signed. That means the team will be free of about $34 million.
While most NBA fans are focusing on free agency 2010, or as I like to call it, “LeBron Fest”, I think the Pistons are going to try and make a big splash this offseason.
Obviously, there are not names like “Dwyane Wade”, “LeBron James”, or “Chris Bosh” available until 2010, but there are still some impact guys in the loop.
I think the team will try to bolster the roster this offseason instead of gambling on the big names that could be available next year because nearly every team in the league is trying to create enough cap room to get those guys, and if the Pistons would put all their chips to the middle for ’10 and hit 23, they’re going to be in more trouble than Ed Helms in The Hangover.
The name being thrown around most is Carlos Boozer, to such a point that it seems a done deal. While I’m not 100 percent sold he’s coming to Detroit, if you fast forwarded to Halloween, I’d bet he’s on the Pistons’ roster.
The reason that the media has already basically married Boozer and the Pistons is that Detroit is about the only team with any cap room available this summer. If Boozer comes in to the fold and takes up, let’s say, $10 million in cap space, the Pistons will still have room to make another move out of that $34 million chunk.
Acquiring Ben Gordon has been a hot rumor lately, but that would most likely mean that Rip Hamilton would be dealt, so don’t sign me up for that one.
The free agent I would really like to see come to Motown is David Lee. Yes, he’s a restricted free agent, but the guy is young and immensely talented.
On a crappy, dysfunctional Knicks team, he pulled off a double-double nearly every night and was a great scrapper and hustler, a match made in heaven for working class Detroit.
New York is salivating for LeBron, and my guess is that they would like to avoid paying Lee what he deserves as much as possible, so with that, I’m not sure the restricted tag will affect him too much.
Other names being mentioned include Paul Millsap of Utah, former Wolverine Jamal Crawford, Ron Artest, Hedo Turkoglu, and Mehmet Okur, among others.
I think Millsap reeks of “I’m a real strong bench guy who got a chance to start and did pretty well, so now I’m going to get overpaid.”
He’s a tweener, a guy who doesn’t have one true position, which in turn makes him perfect for a bench spot, where his tweenerness is known as versatility. (I’m pretty sure I just made up a word). The only problem is that it’s going to take too much money and most likely a starting guarantee to get him. I don’t like this potential move.
Turkoglu and Okur are attractive options. However, I feel after Orlando’s run in the playoffs, they are going to do whatever it takes to keep that rotation intact. I have not heard much on Okur so far this offseason, so that could be a developing situation.
As for Crawford and Artest, Jamal is in the mold of Allen Iverson and Ben Gordon in that he is a slightly undersized guard who shoots a lot. That’s not what the Pistons need.
I don’t even think I need to say anything on Artest. There’s a better chance of the Ford family selling the Lions to Matt Millen for $5 than the Pistons bringing in one of the masterminds of the “Malace at the Palace.”
So there you have it. The next few months has a chance to be real exciting.