The Pistons Should Go After Hedo Turkoglu and Then...
With Vince Carter being acquired by the Orlando Magic, it seems the Magic have little interest in renewing the contract of their star power forward Hedo Turkoglu; who opted out of his contract today.
The team that would probably be the most interested in him are the Detroit Pistons, who have a very good starting frontcourt with Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, and Antonio McDeyss, but it isn't getting any younger.
Wallace and McDeyss are both nearing the end of their fine NBA careers and have done all they could for the franchise. Prince, while a remarkable player, will not be able to carry the mail up front without some help, which is where Turkoglu comes in.
The Pistons have recently traded center Amir Johnson to the Milwaukee Bucks for Fabricio Oberto, which fulfills the need for new players in their backcourt, but not the need for youth with the 34-year old Oberto replacing the 22-year old Johnson. It seems that the Pistons were acquiring him to free up cap space to make some bigger moves this summer.
In another move, they also drafted small forward Austin Daye out of Gonzaga, another indication that the Pistons are concerned about what's going on up front.
Turkoglu would be a good fit for the Pistons because he is a team player with good NBA experience, he's been to the playoffs with three teams, most recently in the Finals with the Magic. He has been a key player and a role player on all three teams, but he has never been the star player. In a star oriented NBA, the Pistons have traditionally defied convention by going the way of chemistry, which has paid off in the past with the 2004 NBA Championship.
General Manager Joe Dumars said this past season that the Pistons needed to re-evaluate their team after he traded All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson. The move has been ridiculed as one of the most one sided trades in the NBA as the Nuggets went to the Western Conference Finals, where the Pistons were swept in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
One thing that seems clear right now is that that Detroit is content to have Rodney Stuckey as their full-time point guard. He seems capable of doing things right with the proper help as he helped guide the Pistons to a winning streak when Iverson was out with an injury.
If the Pistons are able to acquire Turkoglu after he officially becomes a free agent on July 1, the Pistons could also make some other moves with their recently freed up cap space with Billups, Johnson, and Iverson no longer on the team.
The question is, who do they get?
There are three candidates whose names have recently popped up in discussion lately, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosch, and Ben Gordon.
Ben Gordon is a 6'3" shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls, whose acquisition would likely result in a position change for Richard Hamilton, the Pistons current shooting guard who stands at 6'7". However, what he does bring is some desperately needed offense that the Pistons have lacked at times over the course of the past three years.
Bosch is a star forward/center for the Toronto Raptors, who many believe is interested in going somewhere else to get away from the Raptors losing ways. He has the best stats of the three players with 22.7 points per game and 10 rebounds per game averages. However his acquisition may be risky because he is a star and there may be questions about whether he can fit in with the chemistry that the Pistons are trying to build.
Boozer another forward/center currently plays for the Utah Jazz and will be up for free agency this summer. It is unclear on whether he wants to leave Utah or not, but he has had a down year recently in which he did not finish the season with an average of 20 points per game for the first time in three seasons. However, he is a consistent scorer and rebounder and works well with teammates, which should bode well for the Pistons should they choose to pursue him.
Above everything else, whoever the Pistons acquire must mesh well with Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, and Jason Maxiell; because those are the four players on the Pistons current roster who will receive consistent playing time, and will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
They will also have to be able to deal with a young Head Coach in Michael Curry, who is going into his second season next year, if he can hold together a team with that talent they may be able to challenge in the new and improved Central Division, which now contains Shaq on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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