Joe Dumars has waited quietly all offseason to make his move.
And soon, the time will be right.
The Detroit Pistons have been unexpectedly silent to many observers this summer.
Tayshaun Prince was rumored to be on his way out a long time ago. Rip Hamilton rumors were perhaps even louder. Yet, as of mid-July both remain Pistons.
Joe Dumars was said to be in love with DeMarcus Cousins. When the time came to move up in the draft, however, he didn't make the move.
In free agency, the Pistons were said to be going after a point guard or big man with their mid-level exception. Still, nothing.
Detroit even has yet to resign their own free agents.
Ben Wallace was finally given a two-year deal earlier this week, but the rest, nothing. Restricted free agent Will Bynum, the fiery point guard, has been in negotiations for a couple weeks.
Now that the free agent market has dwindled down to role players, Dumars can finally start moving.
Where to start...
Rip Hamilton will be the player most likely to gone by training camp. Hamilton works best with a true point guard. And with Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum, neither guard fits well with Hamilton.
Hamilton is a solid enough shooter to fit in well in most places. He is the perfect half-court compliment to any squad. He sees the floor well, knows how to come off screens, and could be a veteran presence for a young team.
Another bonus is his contract. What once seemed like a bad deal is now seen as decent compared to the other signings around the league. Hamilton is due only $25 million for the next two seasons, and the third is only a partial guarantee.
One possibility is the New Jersey Nets. Even after signing Anthony Morrow, Hamilton would still fit in well with Devin Harris. He could play 30 minutes a night and contribute to a young but talented team.
Another destination could be the Denver Nuggets. He would join his former backcourt mate Chauncey Billups. J.R. Smith is still not the player Denver hoped for and Aaron Afflalo is a mediocre starter. Hamilton would enter an offense that fits him well and a familiar situation.
The New Orleans Hornets also presents a team to watch. I'm sure Detroit would love a chance at Chris Paul or even Darren Collison. However, David West may be the person to watch even closer. Depending on who the new GM is in New Orleans, he could be looking for an actual shooting guard.
Other possibilities loom, but those three are the ones to watch.
Don't be surprised if Dumars waits until late August, but don't expect Hamilton in a Pistons uniform.
For those expecting Tayshaun to be traded right now, don't. It makes a lot more sense for him to be dumped off in February.
It's a slightly risky move if he faces injury troubles for the second straight season. The rewards, however, outweigh the risks. By waiting until February, contending teams or those looking for salary relief will offer better packages.
Prince also fits in better with the current roster. If the team gets off to a good start, he isn't a bad piece to still have around. He has a decent jumper and still plays solid defense. The team lacks in the small forward category and trading Prince might hinder that even more.
Look for them to be sure Austin Daye has developed as a player and then say goodbye to the Prince.
Fans love him or hate him but Jason Maxiell seems to be the extra piece in any potential Pistons trade. He doesn't have a true position, but belongs as a role player somewhere.
He is a very good shot blocker and has improved his offensive game over the past couple years.
The problem with Maxiell is how he fits with Detroit. As the team continues to get younger and fill in more positions, he continues to get lost in the shuffle. If he's here, he'll play. However, it seems as if the team would prefer to move him as well.
If Maxiell is not traded, expect Chris Wilcox to be the other piece in any deal. His contract expires next year and it would not be tough to move.
Charlie Villanueva is another name in some rumors. Fans are angered over his inconsistency last season. Unfortunately, he's always been inconsistent. But, Dumars will not get rid of him after one year.
Nor will he ship Ben Gordon . If there is one player safer than anyone else, it's Gordon. Coming off an injury-plagued season, he will finally get the opportunity he came to Detroit for. Dumars is a huge fan and will not let him go this early in his contract.
With few free agents left, will Dumars still attempt to use it?
Unfortunately, this will probably go unused in full. Detroit isn't in position to go after an aging veteran like Brad Miller, Shaquille O'Neal, Tracy McGrady, or Richard Jefferson.
The team could always go after a Primoz Brezec, Josh Boone, or Sean May as a last resort free agent. None of those guys would command anywhere near the mid-level.
By not using it, the Pistons are not really hurt. The only players that could have fit in nicely were Raymond Felton or Brendan Haywood. And the Pistons didn't seem too interested in either.
Re-signing Players and Extensions
Let's start with Rodney Stuckey. He will become a restricted free agent next season. There is still heavy debate on what to do with him. Extend him, let him be restricted, or even trade him.
An extension can be eliminated: too much uncertainty exists with regards to the upcoming labor negotiations and his play.
Stuckey is still stuck in limbo as to what kind of player he actually is. Dumars needs to decide if Stuckey can lead a team to a championship as a point guard or move him over to a full-time shooting guard role.
Ben Gordon and Stuckey need to show their styles fit together in the back-court for him to stick around.
Although it would take an incredible offer to trade Stuckey this offseason, don't be surprised to see the Pistons shop him next year.
Will Bynum, still in negotiations, will return. There isn't a huge market for him and Detroit knows they can keep him cheap. Dumars shouldn't offer more than a two-year deal, maxing out at $5 million.
Kwame Brown may or may not be back. There is always a market for a 7'0" player who can hold his own on defense. Detroit desperately needs someone like that and Brown may be the only possibility.
Where To Go
Joe Dumars knows he is being watched closely. A third straight losing season may be on the horizon and that is not good news. With ownership in question and his track record under scrutiny, something must be done.
Dumars won't overreact to try to save himself, but he understands this roster is not good enough.
Just when fans and teams may be ready to count him out he is planning something.
It might work and it might not, but Dumars is ready to take that leap.
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