When the clock strikes midnight....
Joe Dumars has made it abundantly clear that the Pistons will be active this off-season. So far that has meant a small trade in the draft, but with the cap space the Pistons will be working with when the free agency period officially begins, they should have no problem getting some players to lead this franchise back to it's previous form.
Joe Dumars hasn't been known for his drafting abilities, but has instead made his mark on the Pistons organizations through trades and free agent acquisitions.
What are the rumors and possibilities today?
One of the more interesting rumors is that the Pistons will now target Milwaukee Bucks Forward Charlie Villanueva.
He's a younger player, at just 24, that has progressed nicely in his four years in the league. Last season he averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Villanueva would likely come in around half the expected cost for oft-injured Carlos Boozer and with more upside. Boozer averaged 16.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, in comparison.
I see the move as very smart. You get the upside of Villanueva and he can extend the floor with his perimeter shooting. He needs to get a little bigger on the glass, but all-in-all he has a balanced game and provides a much needed low-post scoring threat for Detroit. I think this rumor is true and is a likely possibility at this point.
Another rumor that has been swirling since before the draft is that the Pistons were targeting Ben Gordon, the Bulls shooting guard.
Gordon is explosive offensively and has steadily improved. He made a bigger name for himself with his postseason performance against the Boston Celtics. He is able to create his own shot better than Richard Hamilton, something that is of more value now that Rodney Stuckey is manning the point guard position.
I see Gordon as a secondary option right now. The salary figures mentioned seemed out of whack, making this rumor hard to believe. Gordon is not worth the $11-12 million price tag that was talked about. I could see Gordon going at as much as $9 million.
The draft has raised numerous questions about Tayshaun Prince. It is my opinion the Pistons will keep Prince. He is versatile and valuable. He is one of only two successful draft picks under Dumars and is more likely to be here next season than Rip.
With that said, he is still on the trade block. If the Pistons can find enough value for him, or trade him for a role player and more cap space they may very well do it. With Hedo Turkoglu and Trevor Ariza on the market, the Pistons could look for a backup player while clearing more space for another free agent.
Trades in the NBA are harder to predict than say the NFL, but some players to keep an eye on are the New York Knicks forward/center David Lee. He is likely going to be dealt in a sign and trade deal. Tyson Chandler is another center that seems to be on the trading block from time to time. I expect the Pistons to trade at least one player this off-season. I mostly expect it to be Rip.
A big center is certainly a need for the Pistons. They don't need a star, just a solid guy they can rely on.
Rasheed Wallace may be back, but I wouldn't count on it.
Anderson Varajeo is one free agent possibility as is a player like Zaza Pachulia. Pachulia is a guy that would split time with Brown and provide an additional body in the paint.
From a value standpoint, trading Richard Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince could land you a solid center or power forward.
The first move from the Pistons will dictate the rest. If they sign Villanueva, then a center becomes the highest priority.
One interesting point that hasn't been discussed much is the Pistons actually keeping both Hamilton and Prince. They have enough money to sign a power forward like Villanueva and add a center, such as Varejao, and still be able to add some bench depth.
A starting lineup of Stuckey, Hamilton, Prince, Villanueva, and Varejao would be a decent upgrade and would make the Pistons respectable.
Moving Hamilton or Prince now makes more sense in the long term, but only if you get good value. Something Joe Dumars will hold out for, as we already know.
For more on the Detroit Pistons including news and analysis, click here.