Matt Watson(!) of Detroit Bad Boys delves into the question: “What’s the best trade the Pistons ever made?” He identifies four legitimate candidates:
- Bill Laimbeer
- Mark Aguirre
- Ben Wallace
- Rasheed Wallace
Mark Aguirre-for-Adrian Dantley was fine, but I’m not convinced the Pistons wouldn’t have won those two titles anyway. Rasheed Wallace put the Pistons over the top in 2004, but he flamed out in the playoffs too often afterward.
If you’re counting the Ben Wallace trade – all three players involved were free agents heading to their new team regardless – that’s the clear winner. Wallace defined the second-best era of Pistons basketball, and Chucky Atkins was a solid starter for a while. Meanwhile, due to injury, Grant Hill became wildly overpaid.
But I wouldn’t count that sign-and-trade, which was a trade only by technicality. In terms of real trade, that Bill Laimbeer deal was an absolute steal. The foolish Cavaliers had no idea they had such a good player on their hands, and Laimbeer fit perfectly in Detroit.
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