After a lackluster season that saw the Detroit Pistons fall in the first round of the playoffs, they needed to make some changes.
After the Chauncey Billups/Allen Iverson trade, the Pistons were left with plenty of cap space and because of their early playoff exit, they ended up with the 15th pick in the NBA Draft. With these things in place, General Manager Joe Dumars spent the draft week working on a new vision for his team.
The Pistons started out the week by acquiring San Antonio forward Fabricio Oberto in a three team deal with San Antonio and Milwaukee. The deal sent Pistons forward Amir Johnson to Milwaukee. Oberto was a member of the San Antonio Spurs 2007 Championship team and a member of the gold-winning Argentinean Olympic team in 2004.
Two days later, Detroit used their 15th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft to select Gonzaga forward Austin Daye. Daye's size and play have been compared to Tayshaun Prince's style, which has increased rumors that Prince may be on the trading block.
In addition to Daye, the Pistons also picked up three other young forwards in DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko, and Chase Budinger. However, they later traded Budinger to the Houston Rockets in return for a future second round draft pick.
A few days after the draft, Dumars made the surprising announcement that Michael Curry had been relieved of his coaching duties due to the Pistons' new direction. The firing was surprising since Dumars had previously stated that Curry would be back for his second season as Head Coach.
Fan grumbling and the Pistons season struggles were certainly key factors in the change.
The fact that former Detroit Pistons player Bill Laimbeer had resigned as Head Coach of the WNBA Detroit Shock, to pursue a NBA job seemed to also be a factor, but Dumars has stated he is looking for a new coach with experience. The current front runner for the job seems to be former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson.
At the same time, the coaching change talks were going on, the Pistons signed free agent Chicago Bulls shooting guard Ben Gordon for five years at $55 million. They then signed Milwaukee Bucks power forward Charlie Villanueva for five years at $35 million.
With all of the changes, it is obvious that Dumars is determined to reshape his team into one that can get back to a championship level. Unfortunately, they still have not shored up the center position, that has been lacking for a few seasons now. It is also unclear how Gordon and Villanueva will fit into the lineup. Dumars has said that he sees Gordon as a sixth man, but why would anyone pay out that kind of money to have a player come off of the bench?
With all of the money that the Pistons' had this year many felt that they would take the time to acquire a big name player. Detroit is still lacking a number of pieces they need to be at the level they once were.
It certainly appears that free agent forward Rasheed Wallace is going to sign with another team, but no decision has been made about Antonio McDyess' status. There is speculation that the Gordon and Villanueva pickups are just the first moves in Dumar's plan for his team.
Time will tell if it will be enough.