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The many reasons Detroit didn’t trade for Glen Davis

Have you been completely wrong about a player? Had no idea how good (or bad) he was?

I saw Marc J. Spears’s report saying the Pistons quickly turned down a trade of Jason Maxiell and a first-round pick for Glen Davis, Gabe Pruitt and J.R. Giddens, and I didn’t understand why.

I figured Davis was better than Maxiell. And a first rounder is more valuable than Pruitt and Giddens. So, it seemed like the deal should at least be considered.

I had heard a lot of positives about Davis. And whenever I watched the Celtics, he seemed to play well.

But I was completely wrong about him.

Jason Maxiell is a lot better than Glen Davis

Davis’s numbers are awful.

Here’s a statistical comparison from the last two years:

Maxiell 16.3 14.2 0.578
Davis 10.9 11.9 0.517

Davis is three years younger than Maxiell. But Davis’s numbers went down in each of these categories from his rookie season to last.

And neither has good defensive number. Opposing power forwards have a PER of of 18.2 against Davis and 19.5 against Maxiell.

For more reading on whether Davis is any good, check out this Zach Lowe post on Celtics Hub.

Roster size

Another drawback is this trade would have given the Pistons two more players. Including the rookies who will likely be on the team next year (Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko and Deron Washington), Detroit has 14 players.

This trade would put the Pistons over the limit of 15. With the economic downturn, I expect the Pistons to have 13 players, maybe 14. But definitely not 15. Even in better times, Joe Dumars usually liked to carry 14.

(On a related note, with the Sekou Smith report that “it’s just a matter of time before Wallace returns to the Pistons,” I think something is up.

Simple solution is the Pistons don’t sign Ben Wallace. Then they’re left with 14 players.

But if they sign him, I think a trade that trims the roster is coming. I just can’t see Detroit having 15 players.)


When Maxiell signed a four-year, $20 million deal last year, it made a lot of sense. At worst, he was a high-end reserve. At best, he was a starter. Either way, he was worth $5 million per season.

But Maxiell clashed with Michael Curry last year and wasn’t as productive as we had seen in past years. Curry wasn’t pleased with Maxiell’s rebounding (which is actually better than Davis’s). At this point, Maxiel doesn’t seem like a great value.

If this trade had done through, Davis could have earned between $2,312,290 and $4,495,623 next year. The high end is way too much, but the low end might be reasonable. I think his contract would have been closer to high end, though.

Last year was rock bottom for Maxiell. Davis seemed to be in a good situation with Celtics (despite this), and he didn’t produce.

Even though he costs a little more, I’d rather take my chances Maxiell will rebound (figuratively and literally) under John Kuester than pick up Davis.


  • Jul 22, 20094:13 pm
    by JJJ


    i don’t see how you’re getting 15 players if pistons sign ben.  stuckey, rip, tay, charlie, wilcox, bynum, bg, daye, max, kwame, summers, jerebko, and washington add up to 13. 

    • Jul 24, 20098:09 pm
      by A Jordan


      You are forgetting Giddens & Pruitt from the Celtics.

  • Jul 22, 20095:21 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    You’re right. I accidently counted Daye twice.

  • Jul 22, 20096:23 pm
    by Lankownia


    In a vacuum, Davis is a minor upgrade to Maxiell because of age and salary.  In this situation, I’d rather stick with the player we have.  Maxiell’s rebounding and shot-blocking are more valuable to this team of jump-shooters than Davis’ game.

  • Jul 22, 20096:39 pm
    by Lee Nelson


    Last year was the first year were we didnt have 15 players. In the 07/08 or 06/07 season we had over 15. I think it was 17 and Joe and Flip had to get rid of players before the deadline. Only 12 are usually activated but we usualy have 15 on the roster.

    I think its better just in case some of the popcorn doesnt pop. THats why you kept seeing games were Amir was activated and then not activated and then was again. Flip wanted to know how everybody played, it was one of the few good things Flip did. Thats how we got the short lived Zoo crew.

  • Jul 23, 20093:09 am
    by adam


    im sorry maxiell’s rebounding and shot-blocking? don’t get me wrong im a piston for life but i have never… ever seen rebounding and shot blocking out of maxiell. either way you have a out of shape power forward who can get you ten points, an occasional rebound here and there that falls into their hands and a waste of money. maxiell has had his chances to shine. as the players call him.. MC started him plenty of times this past season and maxiell did nothing with the opportunity. Davis isn’t much better. he should stick to being Garnett’s towel boy

  • Jul 23, 20093:45 am
    by Dan Feldman



    Those are the number of players Detroit had during the entire season. At any one time, Dumars likes to go with about 13, maybe 14.

    You can’t ever 15 during the season, even before the trade deadline.

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  • Jul 23, 200911:10 am
    by marty


    glen davis is not very consistant/confident except maybe “set shots” with no pressure–nothing like a larry bird

  • Jul 23, 200912:07 pm
    by Rafiq Tawal Muhammad


    MC gave Maxiel plenty of opportunities to start? Are you confusing him for Amir Johnson? Max only started four games last year; I would not describe that as plenty of opportunities. The differences between Max and Davis are: jump shot, offensive rebounding, and defense. Both are unremarkable defensive rebounders, but Max is an exceptional offensive rebounder. This allows him to become a fairly efficient scorer. He rebounds and then dunks the ball viciously. Max is a better defender than Davis, but Davis has a marginally better offensive game because he has a better jump shot. Both are reserves, and I would rather bring Max and his offensive rebounding/defense off of the bench than Davis.

  • Jul 23, 200912:46 pm
    by Lankownia


    Yeah, he’s not Bill Russell.  The statement is made relative to Glen Davis.

  • Jul 23, 200912:59 pm
    by Wayne Higgins


    Sorry Dan… Lee is right!

  • Jul 23, 20098:17 pm
    by The Rake


    I don’t know if you can conclude Maxiell is “a lot” better than Davis based on a few #’s.  I am not saying that he isn’t, but thats a big jump to a conclusion.  Bottom line is Maxey has disappointed in his career (esp. last year which you note) and is not living up to his contract or what we thought he might be.  He doesnt rebound well, or score with any sort of consistency. His only tangible asset is consistent energy.  This is a make or break year for him to be sure.
    The Rake

  • Jul 23, 200911:07 pm
    by Lee Nelon


    When the Pistons first offered J. Max. that conctract extension he turned it down. At the time he was playing like a beast, then Joe made a bigger extension offer and J. Max. accepted. After he accepted it seemed like he immediately lost his energy.

    Its like he was playing hard just to get the extension then he got it and he relaxed stopped playing at his max. I was mad about that but I do like Max more than Big Baby. I dont think we have seen his best yet. I think he will eventually be an allstar.

  • Jul 24, 200911:21 am
    by M T


    they are planning on signing a third point guard, which would make 14.

    andre owens, sean singletary, and jeremy pargo are the likely candidates.

  • Jul 25, 20094:15 pm
    by MG


    I like Max Better Than  Big Baby. But The Pistons need someone Big And Physical Im not saying that max isnt Physical  but i think Big Baby would be a better Fit for Detroit. If Not Traded Max Could be Good for Trading for a Great Big Man Like Emeka Okafor or Tyson Chandler Maybe  Even Amare Stoudimare .

  • Jul 29, 200912:03 pm
    by Mike Lawery


    I love the move’s that Joe D has done in Detroit I don’t no of any front office executive in the  NBA that could of have done the job he has in Detroit. He has brought back Pride & Respect to the Detroit Pistons ! This just the team’s rebuilding time ……

  • Jul 29, 200910:05 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    Excellent analysis, Lee. That’s great work.

    I had heard Dumars say he prefers to have an open roster spot, so I assumed it was true. But it’s obviously not the case.

    Again, way to actually check instead of relying on assumptions like I foolishly did.

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