The Detroit Pistons need to make a deal.
Okay, tell me if you have heard this one before.
The most common refrain over the course of the first half of the season in Motown has been the fact that the Pistons can not possibly win as presently constructed. They have too many wing players, not enough size up front, and they have too many old players that are taking minutes away from young and potentially talented replacements.
For months, we have wondered aloud whether or not the team would finally make a move.
We were tempted by the tantalizing Richard Hamilton deal (better known as the Carmelo Anthony deal 1.0), which promised to fix quite a few of the Pistons' ills.
We have also heard about Tayshaun Prince's desire to be moved, and even more recently the usually stoic Ben Gordon has wondered aloud about the direction of the team.
Yet, as the All Star game has passed and the trade deadline looms, we are still confronted with the same Pistons squad that we saw in November.
The biggest culprit for the lack of movement is the sale of the team. Over the last few months, nearly half a dozen people have been linked to this team owner-wise. However, it appears that the wait may finally be over, and Tom Gores is zeroing in on the franchise.
So as we come up on the trade deadline, here are a few moves that could be considered by the front office.
However, there is a big caveat. These deals are contingent upon the team sale being completed before the deadline, and the shackles being removed from the front office's hands.
Rip Hamilton needs to go. This is just as certain as the unlikelihood of a Led Zeppelin reunion. Hamilton languishes on the bench and his replacement is in tow (Ben Gordon).
The only thing that has stood in the way of a deal being made is the fact that Detroit has not been allowed to take back any deals.
Enter Chicago. The Bulls need a shooting guard desperately, and as the playoffs beckon, this becomes more and more evident. Furthermore, it becomes more and more evident that this team is just a good shooting guard away from serious contention in the East.
Some might say that trading Hamilton within the division is the biggest obstacle to this move being made, but in reality the Bulls lack of guts when it comes to trades is the real culprit. Time after time, this team has missed out on game-changing deals because they lack the, shall we say guts, to make a move.
However, if they find a way to man up, they could easily have Hamilton, and it probably wouldn't cost much. In fact, if they were able to get a third team involved (perhaps hop on the potential Melo-Nets deal and use Troy Murphy's deal), they could probably have Rip for a number one pick. Detroit would no doubt try to get Taj Gibson, but at this point I think they would just be glad to rid themselves of Rip.
Let's face it, things haven't gone according to plan this year in Utah. The Jazz started the year with title hopes, but instead they find themselves without their coach and sitting deep in the standings.
All is not lost, however, and a move for a shooting guard could be just what the doctor ordered.
Speaking of doctors, that appears to be something of a dirty word for Memo Okur. The former Pistons center has had his issues this season dealing with chronic back inflammation.
So why do I mention Okur? Memo, though 31, still has a lot of basketball in him, and if he were paired with the Pistons training staff again, there is little doubt that they could help him revive his career.
The salaries wouldn't match up perfectly, so Detroit could take on Raja Bell's deal. Bell would provide leadership and defense, and could help to mentor young players like Dajuan Summers and Austin Daye.
Okay, this one is a long shot, but not because of salary. This one is a long shot because Portland, since former general manager Kevin Pritchard left, has shown no desire to make any moves. It appears that their new front office is following that old adage that it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
But stay with me here. Portland has been snake bitten with injuries, namely to their once future star center Greg Oden. They also have had difficulty in getting consistent play from their shooting guards and small forwards. Wesley Matthews has been a pleasant surprise, but he is wildly inconsistent and the face of the franchise, Brandon Roy, has a future that is very uncertain due to knee injuries.
Enter Stuckey. Rodney is the perfect fit for this team. He is athletic enough to spell Matthews or Roy, and he could even give Andre Miller a rest now and again.
The key to this deal would be Greg Oden. If Detroit could get their hands on Oden, there is no doubt that they could undo some of the damage that Portland's suspect training staff has done.
And if it doesn't work at least Detroit would be rid of Stuckey, freeing minutes for Ben Gordon.
Charlie Villanueva has been a disappointment in Detroit. But that is not to say that he doesn't provide a skill set that is valuable in the NBA. He is a big man that can shoot from distance. This allows a team to spread out the opposing defense, and it rarely leads to fast breaks on the other end.
Villanueva fits in Dallas perfectly as he is a less athletic, less talented version of Dirk Nowitzki.
Imagine it from Dallas' perspective. Dirk is playing lights out ball, but the team wants to save some of what he has for the postseason. They can pull the German marksman and insert Charlie. They can run the same plays with a lot less drop off than they have now.
In order to make this move, Detroit would probably ask for a pick and a big man, which Dallas has to spare in Brendan Haywood. This would give Detroit a true center that would allow Greg Monroe to play his more natural position of power forward.
First, let's take a second to appreciate what Prince has done in Detroit.
Now, let's send him packing.
Don't get me wrong, I love the guy. But this is as much for him as it is for us. Prince needs to go to a winner, and that just isn't happening in Detroit.
Enter the Lakers. They need a jolt of life, they need to improve their defense, and they need to do that without losing their core players, namely Andrew Bynum.
Now in order for this trade to work, the Lakers would have to add another team to the mix, but he could be theirs for a number one pick. To sweeten the pot, they should be able to deal Ron Artest to boot. What could be a better public relations coup for the new owner than Malice at the Palace II: This time it's every night!
Stuckey has had quite the ride in Detroit. He came in as the end of the Darko debacle. Then, he missed most of his first year. Then, he provided a spark in the playoffs that seemingly made Chauncey Billups expendable. Next, he actually replaces Billups and has to deal with the fallout, including the Allen Iverson era. Finally, he loses his point guard job and becomes the shooting guard.
Now the final chapter, let's get rid of him. Oklahoma City has a talented defender in Thabo Sefalosha and a decent young player in James Harden. But too often their offense sputters when either Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant is out of the lineup.
Stuckey can create his own shot and could free up space for Durant on the perimeter.
In exchange, Detroit would probably like to get their hands on either Nenad Kristic or Eric Maynor.
The Knicks are this close to being a good team. Right now they are just okay. They are trying desperately to get Carmelo Anthony, but the Nuggets star is probably heading over the bridge to New Jersey.
This leaves New York with a fan base that will be disappointed. Enter Rip Hamilton.
Sure, Hamilton is no Melo. True enough. But he is talented, and he would fit coach Mike D'antoni's system like a glove.
Hamilton would be much cheaper to get than Melo, likely only costing a combination of a draft pick and Eddy Curry's expiring deal.
Sure, the Knicks have Landry Fields, but Hamilton would allow the Knicks to bring along their youngster slowly, especially during the playoffs.
With Hamilton and Amare Stoudemire, this team gets very dangerous come playoff time.
Let's face it, McGrady has been a pleasant surprise in Detroit this year.
Let's also face the fact that he will not be back next year.
McGrady is too old to be part of a rebuilding project, and he is not likely to have Detroit as one of his top destinations now that he has proven that he still has some game left.
All this experiment ever was designed for was this moment. McGrady, if he showed that he could still play, was thought to be a decent trading chip.
The best news about him is that his contract is so low that the Pistons can basically trade him for a draft pick straight up.
Here is where Miami comes into play. They need more talent, especially those that can distribute the ball and set up their big three.
McGrady would instantly improve their title chances and would cost only a first rounder which is sure to be in the late 20's...win, win.
Boston, as of this minute, has got to be the favorite to win it all this year. They have size, experience, and lock down defense.
All of those attributes can be said about Tayshaun Prince. Additionally, Boston has shown interest in the Pistons swing man in the past, and would no doubt want to keep him away from their competitors, namely the Lakers.
Prince would instantly make their second unit stronger, seamlessly mixing with Big Baby Davis, Nate Robinson and the rest of the bench players. He can play in the post, handle the rock, or fade into the back ground and just contribute excellent defense.
The tricky thing for Boston would be making the salaries match up. They could throw in Jermaine O'Neal and get a third team to help bridge the gap if they feel confident that Kendrick Perkins can hold up. In addition, it would probably require a draft pick, and that may be too much for Boston.
But team president Danny Ainge knows that the Celtics' window is closing, and another piece of ammo could be just what they need.
The Orlando Magic are at a crossroad. They are in between being a contender or a pretender in the East. This would not be a huge deal if it weren't for the constant rumors that Dwight Howard may want to play for the Lakers.
Orlando has seen this unfold before when Shaquille O'Neal left Disney World for Disney Land in the 90's. The mistake they made back then was not surrounding him with enough talent to win a title before he could leave.
Right now, Orlando can remedy that by pulling out all the stops and getting Howard more ammunition.
The biggest problem facing the Magic right now is their inability to slow down Paul Pierce or LeBron James.
This is where Prince comes in. Tayshaun has had a lot of luck against Pierce over the years, and he matches up fairly well with James as well.
The key to this deal is Jason Maxiell. Since Detroit would no doubt look to get Brandon Bass in exchange for Prince, they would have to pony up Maxiell. Both are undersized, yet barrel-chested power forwards. Both can provide toughness and both would benefit from a change in scenery.
Orlando could put together a package centering around Bass and a first rounder and make this move work with another team throwing in a player or two.
This would immediately make Orlando a threat to get out of the East.