As the 2010 free agency winds down, some teams leave with a new direction, others refine their empire for another run, and others were left out completely.
Unfortunately, the Pistons are one of the teams left out.
"Deetroit Basketbaaalll" fans that relished in the teams past successes are left to sulk in the team's current, non-competitive state.
Ill-informed moves and a lack of direction have sent what was once a glorious franchise plummeting to the bottom of the league.
So the burning question for the Pistons is, what's next? What can the Pistons do to be competitive in the East and to regain playoff status?
If Detroit wants to be relevant in professional basketball once more.
If the Palace of Auburn Hills wants to re-achieve the honor of selling out 235 consecutive games.
The Pistons need to make moves in order to change the face and direction of this team.
Rumors and speculation have surrounded many players on the team, and Joe Dumars is left to legitimize them.
The Pistons have the pieces, but waiting for the "perfect" deal is mis-guided.
So if Joe D is committed to bringing Detroit back to the playoffs, he needs to make a serious decision. Trade the '04 championship alums and current players for proven talent, or completely rebuild with a young nucleus.
In this slideshow, I will explore 5 players the Pistons should trade before the end of this Summer. While I'm almost certain most, if not all of these moves will not be made, these trades could potentially lead our team out of the depths of the Eastern Conference and back to the playoffs.
There has been much trade talk surrounding Richard Hamilton, and all I can say to Joe Dumars is to just pull the trigger.
Why should the Pistons trade Rip?
A once efficient scorer (45.1 career FG% even after 44.7% in 08 and 40.9% in 09), Rip is starting to lose his edge. Rip's still the master at off-ball movement and can shoot a deadly mid-ranger off screens. But, with a point guard feeding less than perfect passes and a center providing flaccid screens, he's just not in the prime (or system) he once flourished in. Rip recently celebrated his 32nd birthday and his 11th year in the league. As a quick, young shooting guard, he was very valuable to the Pistons in their championship runs, but his deteriorating body can no longer lead our team.
Letting Rip go will be a sad move, but a necessary one.
Why would teams want Rip?
Rip is valuable because of his ability to score off screens, move without the ball, and get open. An unselfish shooting guard, he can be plugged into almost system and be productive. He doesn't demand a starting role (he gladly played sixth-man for the Pistons in '09), and he puts the team before anything. Along with his physical abilities, he carries years of playoff experience and is a valued veteran of the game.
What would the Pistons get out of trading Rip?
Trading Rip would benefit the Pistons only if it brought in new, young talent OR a proven player.
Dumars has stated his desire to trade Rip to create a reliable front court. Joe D will only move Rip if it meant taking on players that have proved themselves (similar to what Utah with Al Jefferson).
While Joe D is looking in a said direction, trading Rip for draft picks would also be very beneficial to rebuilding the Pistons. The best way to rebuild, and Oklahoma City demonstrates this best, is bring in young talent.
However, trading Rip for role players and players that have shown a lack of potential in the league would be the worst possible situation (there was talk of trading Rip for Andres Nocioni and some other pieces).
Ideally in this offseason, the Pistons should either trade Rip for draft picks, for young talent, or for a proven player (all of which are possible).
Trading Tayshaun is very similar to the notion of trading Rip.
Why should the Pistons trade Tayshaun?
The soft-voiced, Compton kid Prince is still an efficient shooter for the Pistons and has brought his versatile game and veteran experience to Detroit for more than half a decade. However, when given the keys to the offense, Prince was unable to fully grasp the opportunity and produce.
Prince can definitely score well on certain nights, but his impact has been inconsistent to say the least. Prince still brings much value to Detroit , but moving him to rebuild on the shoulders of young talent is the Pistons best option.
Why would teams want Tayshaun?
Tayshaun brings much playoff experience and would be a great veteran role player for any team. His efficient shooting and ability to drain the three keeps him relevant on offense, while his long wingspan makes him a threat on defense.
Tayshaun, like Rip, can provide for a team that requires experience or a phenomenal role player.
What would the Pistons get out of trading Tayshaun?
If the Pistons traded Tayshaun, they could finally start over and bring a new face to the Pistons franchise. Rip and Tay still carry on the legacy of the '04 champions, a legacy that no longer has a future.
Trading Tayshaun gives the Pistons flexibility and allows Detroit to bring in new talent and develop them into potential stars.
Joe D has made it known that he's not looking for a complete restructuring of the team from ground zero, but instead trying to win quickly. He stated that he would only trade Rip or Tay (or both) if it involved acquiring an accomplished front court presence.
The direction Joe D is going is understandable, but I question his judgement. This is in light of recent trade rumors that showed Portland in hot pursuit of Tay, leading to a three-way with Utah that would have given the Pistons Carlos Boozer.
Sure, this trade may not have happened, but mlive.com (the trusted sports news authority in Michigan) released a headline, "Despite Tayshaun Prince trade rumors, Pistons not pursuing Carlos Boozer aggressively".
Carlos Boozer would have been exactly what the Pistons needed, and Joe D let the opportunity slip.
The Pistons SHOULD invest in young talent for he future, but bringing in a proven talent is also very acceptable. The important part however, is making and signing the deal, something Joe D apparently has a tough time doing.
So in closing, trading Tay would ideally give the Pistons a proven player. However, if he can't finish a deal on a proven player, the Pistons should still try and pull in young talent with Tayshaun's skill set.
I think we can officially say the Ben Gordon-Charlie Villanueva experiment was a failure.
Sure it's early, but can anyone really say they see a mountain of potential in the Piston's Decision 09?
Why should the Pistons trade Charlie Villanueva?
Charlie Villanueva is currently sitting on the bench, making 6.5 million a year. Trading Villanueva not only gives Detroit more flexibility financially, but it gets rid of a player that has shown little promise in Detroit's on-court system.
Last year, Charlie V contributed a -2.7 simple efficiency rating, the lowest of any Piston in the regular rotation (besides Will Bynum).
Charlie V has a versatile game, and I've stated, he reminds me of Rasheed Wallace, without the defensive tenacity, hustle, and passion for the game. Charlie consistently lacks a defensive mindset and therefore, with all his offensive production, is ineffective on the court.
Why would teams want Charlie Villanueva?
Because he is still young and has a great skill-set. He can play well in the right system, but Detroit just hasn't invigorated a winning spirit in Charlie (even when he had the starting job at the four).
Charlie V can draw interest if a team needs a spark off the bench, or his all-around offensive abilities, or his mismatch potential.
Teams will want Charlie V, he brings a versatile game, but one that could not mesh in Detroit.
What would the Pistons get out of trading Charlie V?
Hopefully trading Charlie V gives the Pistons options. Charlie would ideally give Detroit a player of equal potential, that would fit its system in a more seamless fashion.
Joe D is very against trading Charlie and wants to give him more time in Detroit. I see where he's coming from, but if Detroit wants to see immediate change and inspire a thorough rebuilding, trading Charlie for another player with a more defensive mindset could do a lot for the Pistons.
Rodney Stuckey is a young player with a lot of potential, so many may ask, why trade him?
Rodney is the lead combo-guard on a team filled to the brim with combo-guards.
The Pistons lack a true point-guard, a per-possession leader on the court who can help his team in the tightest of situations.
Rodney brings value in terms of scoring in bunches on certain nights, but still has yet to truly grab the reigns of the offense and fill Mr. Big-Shot's shoes.
Why should the Pistons trade Rodney?
Stuckey is a slashing point-guard and can give the Pistons points in the paint, but has a lot of deficiencies. He's a below-average passer (for a point-guard), lacks an outside or consistent mid-range jump-shot, and isn't a true point-guard.
Joe D has invested a lot into Stuckey's future and in two seasons as a starter, Rodney hasn't repaid Joe D's trust.
Moving Stuckey is a radical move Joe D won't make, but looking at the slow progression Stuckey's making, and his inability to change his game, it's a move he should make.
Why would other teams want Rodney Stuckey?
Similar to Charlie Villanueva, Stuckey is young and has potential...in the right system.
Stuckey has the ability to get to the rack, an ability a lot of teams would covet. Stuckey could very well start on a lot of teams, and give depleted offenses a spark when they need it.
Rodney is valuable if he dedicates himself to expanding his skill set, but he hasn't found his niche in Detroit.
What would trading Stuckey bring to the Pistons?
Hopefully a pure-point guard. Detroit flourished in '04 and until Chauncey was traded mainly because Billups gave Detroit leadership, passing, and someone who could perform in the clutch. That's what Detroit needs again.
Since Chauncey's reign, Detroit basketball has been marred with combo-guards in the back court (Iverson, Stuckey) and still hasn't found a true team leader.
So, while it's unlikely, hopefully Joe D trades Stuckey for a pure-point guard who can do more than score. Specifically, lead the team every possession.
A small center with a lot of heart (and a huge wingspan at 7'3"), 6'7" Jason Maxiell has shown his value to the Detroit Pistons. So once again, many will ask the question, why should the Pistons trade Maxiell?
Why should the Pistons trade Maxiell?
Because he's our best bargaining chip behind Rip and Tayshaun. Jason Maxiell brings undeniable energy off the bench and has shown his ability to grab rebounds as well as be a spark on defense.
However, Jason Maxiell is backing up a lack-luster first-unit. His abilities would put him in a great spot on any other team, but here in Detroit, his abilities are unappreciated.
We shouldn't trade Maxiell because he's bad, we should trade Maxiell because he can help bring better players to the team.
What teams would want Maxiell?
Any team in contention for a championship that wants a defensive spark off the bench. I can see the Spurs being very interested, as well as any team that needs a better F/C off the bench.
What would trading Maxiell bring to the Pistons?
Trading Maxiell would ideally help beef up Detroit's lackluster first-unit. This may come in the form of draft picks, young talent, or a proven player.
Packaging Maxiell in any trade deal gives the Pistons potential to acquire a proven player (E.g. Stuckey/Tayshaun/Hamilton and Maxiell for a proven, first-unit player).
The Pistons have the potential to make deals, all Joe D needs to do is actively pursue a bright future for this great franchise.