↓ Login/Logout ↓
Schedule/Results
↓ Roster ↓
Salaries
↓ Archives ↓
↓ About ↓

Archive → January, 2013

What everyone else is saying about the Prince-Calderon deal

It’s nearly been 24 hours since the three-team trade that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Grizzlies, while Rudy Gay was sent to the Raptors and Jose Calderon to the Pistons. Whether you’re sad to see Prince — the last remaining piece from the 2004 title team — or excited to see him get out of dodge, the common feeling among fans seems to be that it was a good decision.

That’s a sentiment that seems to be shared by many in the national media, too.

Ken Berger at CBS Sports sees the potential for more trades this season. It’s been noted here and elsewhere that while Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are both potential free agents, the prospects of them actually testing the market and giving the Pistons a serious look are about as likely as, well, fans realistically thinking that either of those guys would even consider the Pistons.

The Pistons get off of Prince’s contract, which had two years and $15 million left, plus they get a short-term mentor in Calderon for Brandon Knight. Calderon’s $10.6 million expires after the season, giving the Pistons $26.5 million in expiring contracts this summer. Again, with a lean free-agent class after Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (both presumed to be staying in L.A.), the Pistons might find it more advantageous to move those contracts between now and Feb. 21 rather than wait and overpay marginal free agents. (They’ve already tried that with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, and we all know how that went.)

Grantland’s Zach Lowe see’s it as a step in the right direction, though he hints at the Charlie Villanueva/Ben Gordon free agent splurge as a caution for this summer. He does bring up the intriguing idea of keeping Calderon around after this season if the two can come to an agreement on a reasonable contract, which would be very advantageous if Calderon thrives in these final 12 weeks.

Speaking of lottery appearances! This is the easy part: Detroit dumped a long-term salary (Prince) for a point guard who can help the rest of this season, and opened up even more cap room — and playing time — in the process. Detroit is now set to have something like $22 million in cap room this summer for any kind of max offer. The free agency market is power-forward–heavy, which means it’s not exactly teeming with the kind of player the Pistons need — a wing, any wing — but it’s always nice to have some flexibility. They have enough, in fact, that it’s not out of the realm of possibility they keep Calderon if they can settle at the right number. Brandon Knight is probably better off spending at least some time off the ball for now. Just be careful this summer, Joe Dumars.

Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver grade the trade for each team, giving the Pistons a solid A, while giving the Raptors a C- and Memphis a B+ grade. He touches on the money side of things for Detroit and how this is officially Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knights’ team now.

In all seriousness, this trade solves two key issues facing Pistons president Joe Dumars. First, his rebuilding plan around a core that includes Drummond, Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight was/is being hampered by the presence of veterans such as Prince, Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey. Prince’s deal represented the biggest future salary commitment, as it runs through 2014-15 and will pay him $7.2 million next season and $7.7 million in its final year. That deal isn’t enough to drown you, but it’s enough to create some serious drag. Getting rid of it is addition by subtraction.

Oh, and like everyone else on the planet Earth, Golliver notes Dumars’ poor decision making in his last swim in the free agent pool.

It must be said: Don’t go too far overboard congratulating Dumars for undoing his own mistake with the Prince signing. Big-picture, he’s still treading water, at best, until we see how he exploits his newfound flexibility this summer.

ESPN’s Henry Abbott didn’t touch a whole lot on the Pistons’ side of things, but he’s right, Jose Calderon has always been a good NBA point guard. If you really want to get excited about what Calderon’s done in the past, go back and look at his historically efficient season in 2007-08 (he’s currently in the midst of his best season since).

It has always amazed me that more teams don’t want Jose Calderon. He’s good — in fact he has the highest player efficiency rating of any player in this trade. He would help any team.

Abbott makes an interesting point on Prince in Memphis, too. In terms of being rock-steady over the last nine seasons, there aren’t many guys who can stand up with Prince’s consistency, and going to a contending team with some really talented players taking pressure off of him, a change of scenery could be the best thing to happen to Prince since he happily waved bye-bye to John Kuester with two hands.

The first six seasons of Tayshaun Prince’s decade-plus in Detroit were incredibly exciting: Scoring monster buckets as a rookie in the playoffs, making key plays at both ends in one exciting playoff series after another, and even winning a title. The past four-and-a-half seasons, though, have been dismal. Michael Curry replaced Flip Saunders, and there were grumbles. John Kuester replaced Curry, and there was open mutiny. A contender was rebuilt around Rodney Stuckey & Co., with one title teammate of Prince’s after another shipped off or let go. Meanwhile, Detroit posted zero playoff wins in a half-decade. And through it all, Prince is a gamer. He has played long minutes and he has not mailed them in. He’s not the player he once was, but one coach after another has discovered he’s impossible to keep on the bench, even at 32.

While the playoffs are a fickle subject, depending on who you talk to, NBC Sports D.J. Foster notes that the addition of Calderon could help to seriously push the Pistons into playoff contention — led by Monroe and Drummond.

Giving Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond a taste of what it’s like to play with a real point guard will likely keep them happy for a few months, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Detroit makes a late push for the 8-seed. Regardless of that though, this trade sets Detroit up nicely going forward.

Jose Calderon is a Piston, and I hope it’s for the long haul

The Pistons getting Jose Calderon from Toronto in exchange for Tayshaun Prince is essentially a subdued version of Joe Dumars’ trade of Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson in 2008.

Prior to the Iverson trade, the Pistons were headed into the summer of 2009 with a bit of financial flexibility because of expiring contracts to Rip Hamilton, Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace. Trading Billups for Iverson’s expiring deal vaulted them from a team with money to toy with their roster to a team that could potentially add significant pieces to the roster (we won’t talk about how that ended).

This trade does the same thing. The salaries of Calderon and Prince are a bit less, but the principle is the same — the Pistons add another large expiring contract in place of a pricey long-term deal. They were already going to be players on the free agent market, but now they have the ability to add multiple pieces that could quickly take the team from a lottery team to a playoff team if they spend the money wisely (again, try to forget 2009 happened).

However the Pistons spend their money in the offseason, I hope potentially signing Calderon rates higher on their priority list heading into free agency than re-signing Iverson did (stay out of the casinos, Jose, and that will help). This isn’t a criticism of Brandon Knight even though it kind of is. I firmly believe that Calderon, even with some flaws in his game, is a better point guard than Knight can develop into. Calderon’s presence doesn’t mean the team should necessarily cut ties with Knight. In fact, playing with Calderon will create new opportunities for Knight, whether it is as a starting shooting guard or a sixth man who works as a hybrid guard.

When Iverson came to Detroit as a rental, him working was a longshot. The team still considered a contender, and Iverson still considered himself a franchise player. For that trade to work, a team with a strong identity would have to incorporate a strong-willed player whose identity was very different from that of the team. Even if everything went right, Iverson’s talents meshing with how Detroit played was never going to be likely. And when things started going wrong, it obviously became an impossible relationship.

Now, the team is in a different position. The Pistons are not contenders, but a team deficient in several important skills. Calderon is not a star player, he’s a veteran who will command a fairly modest salary (at least by Iverson standards) and exhibits three needed skills (shooting, passing and taking care of the ball) that the Pistons severely lack. So unlike Iverson, at least skill-wise, he should be a seamless fit.

It’s easy to envision Calderon helping virtually every player on the roster. The most obvious example is finding Andre Drummond in the pick and roll. Calderon is a fantastic passer, uses screens well and Drummond, as we know, finishes everything, even the erratic lobs he’s received all season from Pistons guards. Imagine what he’ll do with a guard who is actually a precision passer? Or what Calderon will do playing with a guy who can go up and get even risky or bad passes?

With a shooter like Calderon who hits 39 percent of his 3-pointers for his career, imagine how his presence will make teams pay for collapsing inside on Greg Monroe. Imagine how the offense in general will flourish without defenders being able to cheat underneath screens like they do with Will Bynum or Rodney Stuckey, who teams beg to shoot from outside.

If Lawrence Frank actually has the audacity — asking a lot, I know — to play his best lineup, imagine the many ways a starting five of Calderon, Knight, Singler, Monroe and Drummond could attack offensively. Imagine Monroe being able to operate in the post with three capable perimeter shooters surrounding him and an active cutter in Drummond. Imagine Drummond’s knack for offensive rebounding allowing him to create open looks for those shooters as the defense has to scramble to find them. Imagine a change-of-pace bench that features Bynum, Stuckey, Jerebko and Maxiell just coming into a game and running non-stop.

Those things are all possible because of this trade and because of Calderon’s valuable skills. But the Pistons also help Calderon as well. He has a (deserved) reputation as a bad defensive player. It’s also pretty easy to look like a bad defender as a guard when your rim-protectors are Aaron Gray and Andrea Bargnani. Playing with Drummond behind him will certainly make Calderon seem more competent defensively.

For the first time in a long time, because of Calderon, the Pistons have the potential to have a crisply run offense for more than just fleeting moments. Dumars traded Billups and his skillset without understanding how irreplaceable the things Billups did to make an offense run smoothly truly are. Calderon is certainly not as good a player as Billups, but he’s the first legitimate point guard the Pistons had since. Hopefully this summer, the team remembers just how hard it is to find those skills and takes a hard look at making Calderon more than just an attractive contract.

Welcome to pick-and-roll basketball, Andre Drummond

Pardeep Toor is (like Dan and I) a failed MLiver. He’s also a displaced Canadian and huge Toronto Raptors fan who now also follows the Pistons due to his settling in Michigan. As someone who is thoroughly familiar with Jose Calderon (Calderon is the second longest-tenured Raptor of all time, trailing only Flint native Morris Peterson), he agreed to give some thoughts on how Calderon helps the Pistons. — P.H.

Andre Drummond may not realize it yet but his basketball career is about to transform for the better. No longer will he feed off the scraps of missed layups and ill-advised long jumpers from the likes of Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb, Brandon Knight, Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey. Rather than focusing on side-stepping frantic guards in the paint as they crash into the rim void of the instinct to pass, Drummond is about to be the focal point of a calculated and lethal offensive set — the Jose Calderon pick-and-roll.

Calderon’s primary pick-and-roll partners in Toronto this season were Amir Johnson and Ed Davis, who like Drummond, are not threats to fade for a long jumper off of a set at the top of the key. Johnson is shooting just 35 percent in the area outside the paint and inside the 3-point line while Ed Davis is connecting at a 43 percent rate. Davis and Johnson have a single move in the pick-and-roll — dive to the basket, catch and finish.

Calderon’s shooting ability, 52 percent from above the free-throw line and 46 percent from 3-point territory at the top of the arc, forces defenders to fight over the screen and often attracts an aggressive hedge but that only further encourages Calderon to make the pass to the open man.

Calderon is averaging just one more shot attempt than he is assists this season because he meticulously calculates each offensive possession, runs the offense with his head up and is always looking to pass. He’s patient with the pick-and-roll, allowing the bigs time to cut after setting the pick and forcing the defense to react to the play rather than bailing out early or crashing to the rim in search of a foul — all fundamental but sometimes obscure skills in the NBA.

The most impressive Calderon skillset is his ability to utilize the pick-and-roll multiple times in a single possession as he has the rare talent to reset the offense as opposed to forcing a bad shot or an awkward isolation situation for either himself or, worse now, for Stuckey.

Drummond should be an unstoppable force playing alongside Calderon as long as he continues his commitment to diving, and better yet crashing to the rim, on the pick-and-roll. He’s guaranteed to inflate his offensive numbers by being fed the ball on the move at optimal angles, positions and trajectories as Calderon will utilize him in situations where others have previously ignored or underused his mammoth presence. For the first time since the Chauncey Billups-era, the Pistons will get easy baskets off an offensive set and hopefully for the sake of Drummond’s development, it lasts more than half a season.

3-on-3: Trading Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye for Jose Calderon

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.

1. How do you grade the Pistons’ trade for Jose Calderon?

Patrick Hayes: A. Joe Dumars accomplished three pretty remarkable things. He moved Tayshaun Prince‘s significant long-term money for an expiring contract. He did not have to give up an asset to get a team to take on that money (apologies to Austin Daye). The “rental” player he received in return is actual a really useful veteran who solves the team’s biggest weaknesses – shooting, passing and ability to take care of the basketball at the point guard spot.

Brady Fredericksen: A. Not only did the Pistons rid themselves of a big contract and declining vet in Tayshaun Prince (and it does stink to see him go from a fan point of view), they gained $10 million in expiring contracts with Jose Calderon. Austin Daye "turned the corner" about five times in Detroit, so maybe he can make it a sixth in Memphis. The biggest thing is that Calderon is more than an expiring deal — he’s a legitimate NBA point guard who’s going to make his new teammates’ lives easier.

Jameson Draper: A. Although Austin Daye was finally starting to play to his potential, it was good to get rid of the Tayshaun Prince dead weight. Getting Jose Calderon is fantastic, because, unlike Brandon Knight, he is a true point guard. Knight is good, but probably shouldn’t be the starting point guard. Calderon has an assist percentage of 43.5, and Knight’s is only 22.9. It’s becoming clear that Dumars is building the team around Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, and acquiring Calderon, who can get the ball to them, is a step in the right direction.

2. Who should start for the Pistons now?

Patrick Hayes: Calderon-Knight-Singler-Monroe-Drummond. The Pistons are already shaking up their lineup with someone having to move into Prince’s spot, so why not just blow it up and start all over by putting Drummond in the lineup too? Calderon’s major weakness is defense, but with a rim-protector in the lineup, it’s less of an issue. And Knight/ Rodney Stuckey is a toss-up for me, but I’d lean toward Knight starting because, 1., I am skeptical Stuckey has much of a future here while Knight still likely does, and 2., the Pistons could surround Monroe and Drummond with three very good shooters in the starting lineup. Let Stuckey and Will Bynum anchor a second unit with Jonas Jerebko and Jason Maxiell that just runs the ball up and down the court at a frenetic pace.

Brady Fredericksen: Calderon-Knight-Singler-Monroe-Drummond. That lineup is going to have its struggles defenses, but it has so much potential to be really fun on offense. We saw a prime example on Sunday in Orlando that when Knight’s has good looks created for him, he’s a really good floor-spacing scorer; ditto for Singler. Calderon will bring playmaking and shooting to the team, which will help the bigs, too. I’ve worried that taking Drummond away from the second unit would hurt their productivity, but that lineup has its own reworking to deal with now, anyway.

Jameson Draper: Calderon-Knight-Singler-Monroe-Drummond. Calderon’s a great true point guard, but Knight’s still the best option at the two guard. Let’s not forget the 31 points he dropped against Orlando on Sunday. Singler is probably the best candidate to replace Prince at starting small forward. Drummond and Monroe should also start together, but Lawrence Frank will probably still start Maxiell over Drummond for some unknown reason.

3. How will the trade affect the Pistons’ playoff chances?

Patrick Hayes: It helps, but they’re still a longshot. We still don’t know whether Calderon wants to be in Detroit or whether he’ll be thinking about his next stop as a free agent. We don’t know if Knight will bristle at a potential implication that the Pistons aren’t sold (and they shouldn’t be) on his point-guard abilities. We don’t know how long it will take the offense to adjust to playing with someone who actually understands how to run an offense. The Pistons would need a lot to go right for the team to put together enough wins to close the gap on Boston in the playoff race.

Brady Fredericksen:

Maybe Dan’s been a bit more realistic about those chances than I am, but I’m an eternal optimist and think this helps those chances mightily. The Rondo-less Celtics aren’t in any better spot than the Pistons and Philly has been a mess this month. They get Andrew Bynum and his awful hair back soon, but how can you guarantee he’s going to be healthy, and is he going to affect the growth of Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young? The Pistons’ (surprisingly solid) defense is going to suffer without Prince, but Calderon’s ability to execute and create is going to help every Pistons player — and that might be what this team needs most in the second half.

Jameson Draper: This trade indicates that the Pistons are trying to make a playoff run, which is nice to see. The real threats seem to be the 76ers with Bynum returning soon, the Celtics, who are limping – no pun intended – without Rajon Rondo, and the Raptors, who just acquired Rudy Gay but lost Calderon and Ed Davis. It will be tight, but if Calderon can get the ball to Monroe and Drummond, I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit sneaks in to the playoffs.

Jose Calderon to wear No. 8 with Pistons

Ryan Field of Fox Sports Detroit:

Jose Calderon will wear #8 with the #Pistons

Just in case you wanted to buy a jersey.

Joe Dumars’ triumphant return puts focus on what’s next, especially for Brandon Knight

"One day it might hit me. I might get in a position where it’s time for me to win one more (championship)," Prince said. "To go to a contender-type team. I might go to Joe that day and say ‘it’s time for me to move on’ and play that route but now is not the time."

-Tayshaun Prince earlier this month

"I’ve got the question [from NBA teams], ‘Am I a true point guard?’ " Knight said. "And obviously my answer is yes. I think I was able to prove that this past season as I developed into a guy who can facilitate and run a team."

-Brandon Knight in June 2011

***

Two weeks ago, more brazenly than ever, Tayshaun Prince was dictating the terms of his status in Detroit. Yesterday, he left The Palace “shocked” after the Pistons traded him and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jose Calderon.

After years of failed experiments – Allen Iverson as game-changing scorer on a balanced team, Rodney Stuckey as point guard, John Kuester as head coach, Charlie Villanueva and Daye as revolutionary stretch fours, Prince as team leader – Joe Dumars restored faith in his ability as general manager with a forceful reminder that he can make the cold decisions necessary to build a successful team.

In one fell swoop, Dumars upgraded the current roster and improved the salary structure. All it took was trading a player he’s clearly fond of, a move many thought Dumars was incapable of making. Now, who knows Dumars’ limits? After this great trade, he has the momentum – and mandate – to make more changes.

The Pistons have a new rotation to set and more cap room to use this summer. This trade is not an end, but it provides the means for greater solutions.

There’s a hole to fill at small forward and the means to acquire a more traditional shooting guard this summer, but the biggest question comes at point guard. Is this trade at all an acknowledgement that Brandon Knight might not be the point guard of the future in Detroit?

Knight, to date, has failed to become a starting-caliber NBA point guard in what might be another of Dumars’ misguided experiments. Does Dumars want to move Knight to shooting guard? Does Dumars want to make Knight a backup? Does Dumars want to trade Knight? Is Dumars even considering any of those plans?

I’ll get back to those questions, but first, I want to address three things I feel confident this trade will accomplish:

Cure a culture of complacency

The trade is a much-needed shakeup that immediately restores faith in Dumars, whose approval rating had definitely fallen below 50 percent. Any spike in support is definitely fleeting, the temporary joy of a recent move.

But let’s not ruin this moment. We haven’t had many like it lately.

It’s been nearly four years since the Pistons made a good trade, nearly seven years since they made a good trade that acquired a valuable asset and nearly nine years since they made a good trade that acquire a valuable player.

Last good trades:

  • Feb. 16, 2009 – Alex Acker and a second-round pick for a second-round pick
  • Feb. 21, 2008 – Primoz Brezec for Juan Dixon
  • Dec. 14, 2007 – Nazr Mohammed for Primoz Brezec and Walter Herrmann
  • June 28, 2006 – Maurice Evans for Cheikh Samb
  • Feb. 15, 2006 – Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo for Kelvin Cato and a first-round pick (Rodney Stuckey)
  • Oct. 31, 2005 – Ronald Dupree for a second-round pick
  • Feb. 19, 2004 – Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura, Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter and two first-round picks for Rasheed Wallace and Mike James

I’m convinced that if every current NBA general manager were assigned a random different team, trading would occur at a frenzied pace. But in reality, over time, GMs shed players they don’t want and accumulate players they want, which leads to stagnancy. The effect is two-fold. One, GMs are shopping players they like. Two, GMs are negotiating for players their counterparts like.

The effect is especially true for someone like Dumars, who’s had a dozen years to craft the Pistons in his image. Dumars rushed to re-sign Prince, Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko after the lockout showed how much he’d believed in the roster he’d assembled – as if Kuester were the only problem.

But this trade shows Dumars is moving on, and if he sees progress the rest of this season, that could propel more changes. Stuckey (trade), Villanueva (amnesty or trade), Jason Maxiell (free agency) and Will Bynum (free agency) could all be on their way out within the next six months, and in all likelihood, that would be for the better.

Promote Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe

Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are the future, and Prince – due to both his style of play and lengthy contract – poisoned progress. Calderon is the antidote.

Calderon is a pass-first point guard who will run pick-and-rolls with Drummond and Monroe and throw proper entry passes to Monroe in the post. At 31, Calderon is a defensive liability, but hopefully that will mean more playing time for Detroit’s best shot blocker, Drummond.

Unlike the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette trade, this isn’t only about the expiring contract the Pistons are acquiring. This is more like the Allen Iverson trade – except Detroit didn’t trade an MVP candidate, didn’t blow up a winning team and didn’t acquire a malcontent – in that the Pistons are getting a player they believe can help now before a long-term decision must be made in the summer.

The rest of the season will serve as an audition for, not necessarily Calderon specifically, but a traditional point guard. If these Pistons, especially Drummond and Monroe, click with someone like Calderon, acquiring a traditional point guard should become a priority. Maybe that means drafting Trey Burke. Maybe that means re-signing Calderon. There will be time to evaluate.

And if Calderon’s style doesn’t make a difference with this group? The Pistons can let him walk and try again for a player who better complements Drummond and Monroe.

Put Tayshaun Prince in a better place

When the Pistons re-signed Prince, I wrote the decision was largely driven by Dumars’ desire to keep a player he was comfortable with on a personal and professional level, and I stand by that. But I also wrote it was possible Dumars, in addition to hanging onto a prized player a bit longer, gave himself a chance to reverse course later:

Acquiring good players is difficult, and teams rarely (and usually wisely) allow good players just to walk away. Keeping a good player for fair cost makes even more sense.

If Prince continues to produce at a high level, the Pistons could decide on him from a position of power later – trading him if they want to rebuild or keeping him if he’s helping the team win. Right now, Prince, had the upper hand, because he could use 30 teams for leverage against each other.

That turned out to be the case. Once Dumars had the leverage, he traded Prince, but he also did Prince a favor.

The Grizzlies are a great fit for Prince. They emphasize defense, play at a slow pace, have major minutes available for Prince – and win. Prince hasn’t won a playoff game in five seasons, and he deserves for that to change.

I’m rooting for Prince in Memphis, and I’ll be watching their playoff games closely.

The Unknown: Brandon Knight

Knight clearly believes he’s a point guard, but Prince seemed to believe he could decide if and when the Pistons trade him.

Dumars gave Prince a chance to prove his viability with this rebuilding Pistons team, but it never really meshed. I suspect Dumars will continue to give Knight a chance at point guard, but the big question is, for how long?

Knight is only 21 years old, and there’s plenty of time for him develop the court vision he’s been lacking. But, if Calderon plays well this season, how long can the Pistons wait on Knight?

Fairly or unfairly, Knight’s timer to learn the point guard position should accelerate, because Calderon’s expiring contract will necessitate a quicker decision.

I suspect we’ll see Knight play both point guard and shooting guard the rest of this season, getting minutes with and without Calderon, in an effort to collect as much information as possible. If Knight is the point guard of the future, the Pistons must determine that before re-signing Calderon or drafting a younger version. If Knight is the shooting guard of the future, the Pistons must determine that before investing in another one this summer. If Knight is neither, that would be helpful to know, too.

If, at some point, it comes to telling Knight he’s not the point guard anymore, that won’t be easy. I’m sure it would leave Knight shocked.

But now, more than ever, I trust Dumars is willing and able to make that call.

Pistons play poorly in loss to Pacers that most were probably not paying attention to

As you can imagine, it was hard to focus on tonight’s Pistons game with the fairly significant news from earlier today that Joe Dumars made his first unquestionably good trade since … oh … about 2004 or so. Pistons fans have coped with these last five years of bad basketball, bad coaching and bad management in a variety of ways. I’ve personally never tried to take too hard-line a stance on wanting certain players gone. Instead, I just root for things that I hate watching to go away. If that means players have to go, then so be it, but I try not to openly root for guys’ lives getting uprooted and shipped off just because I’m a pissed off fan tired of watching awful ball.

So, with today’s trade, I’m excited that I will no longer have to watch/hear about the following things:

* Austin Daye clapping his hands, putting his head down and slumping his shoulders after every missed shot, blown defensive assignment, dropped pass or general miscue. Seriously, it was depressing.

* Isolayshaun offense. Self-explanatory.

* Fans perpetuating the myth that Tayshaun Prince’s presence was blocking certain young players from reaching their potential.

Example 1: “Daye’s confidence was sunk last year when the Pistons re-signed Prince because Daye thought he was going to be the Pistons starting small forward.”

Seriously, I hated that one so much. I don’t know if Daye really thought that or was affected by it, but if he was — and I was shocked at the number of people who perpetuated that theory — then he’s insane. He’d done nothing to remotely show he was capable of being a starting SF in the NBA, even on a bad team to that point. So good riddance to that myth.

Example 2: Prince dominating the ball is preventing Brandon Knight from becoming a capable point guard.

That’s the awful and frequently repeated one from this season. And seriously, no. You know what prevents Knight from being a capable point guard? Knight not being a capable point guard. That’s it. And thankfully, now Jose Calderon’s presence will prevent Knight from being a point guard, capable or otherwise, for the rest of the season.

So anyway, this was a great trade, obviously, but I have no idea how it will work out long-term. The elephant in the room is still that all too unforgettable summer of 2009, the last time Dumars had cap space, that is surely terrifying every fan who has bravely followed the team these last few years. But in the short-term, I’m thoroughly ecstatic that a few things that drive me nuts will no longer drive me nuts. Next on my list of things I want to never watch or write about again? Shot charts like this one from Rodney Stuckey tonight:

Woof. Six 3-point attempts from a guy hitting 30 percent on the season and 28 percent for his career? Again, woof. Just stop shooting. I don’t care if you’re open. Drive into four defenders if you have to. Anything is better than a Stuckey 3-point attempt.

Detroit Pistons 79 FinalRecap | Box Score 98 Indiana Pacers
Jason Maxiell, PF 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -7He blocked two shots, but didn’t do much of anything else. On the plus side, 17 minutes is just about right for him. That’s a trend I hope continues.
Greg Monroe, C 33 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -15Indiana played very physical against Monroe, and for the most part, he was up for it. He drew contact inside (though he didn’t get rewarded for it much by the refs), he blocked shots and he had his moments defensively against Roy Hibbert. If it weren’t for his four turnovers and poor free throw shooting, he’d have easily been in B/B+ range. Also, lost in all of the hoopla of today’s trade was a great post comparing Monroe and Hibbert by J.M. today. Go check that out.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 34 MIN | 6-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -17As mentioned above, my issue with Stuckey was solely shot selection. He just cannot take 3-pointers. He was wide open on several of his six attempts tonight and they were still way off. He’s not a good shooter, there is plenty of evidence supporting that, so for him to attempt as many threes as he does is simply ridiculous.
Brandon Knight, PG 28 MIN | 3-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -9Knight only had one turnover, but that’s about all that can be said for his performance. The best part of this trade is that, for the first time, the Pistons have a superior player capable of legitimately pushing Knight at the point guard spot.
Kyle Singler, SG 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -21Singler played solid defense helping limit Paul George to a bad shooting night and his reaction to Tyler Hansbrough being the annoying bro that Tyler Hansbrough is known for being was fantastic.
Jonas Jerebko, PF 19 MIN | 0-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +1Jerebko was active, but that activity didn’t lead to much production. On the plus side, he played more at small forward, something many fans have wanted to see for a long time. Hopefully that continues.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -16Villanueva missed open shots and didn’t do anything helpful while he was on the court.
Andre Drummond, C 24 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-10 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -3Drummond was a monster, once again. On top of his rebounding and blocked shots — which we’ve come to expect — Drummond exhibited quick hands, coming up with two steals and getting knockaways on two other plays that were called fouls but looked pretty questionable.
Viacheslav Kravtsov, C 3 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -1Hey, Kravtsov played! He got a couple of dunks, but also made contact with Pacers guard Orlando Johnson on a layup attempt by Johnson then promptly crumpled to the floor and died. Kravtsov is athletic, but still obviously has no idea what to do with that athleticism.
Will Bynum, PG 23 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 13 PTS | -13Bynum shot well, which is more than many of his teammates can say, but his shot selection wasn’t always great and he turned it over four times.
Kim English, SG 14 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4English played solid minutes. I wish he would’ve got one of his 3-point attempts down, but he did enough to justify a continued crack at regular minutes. He also gets major points from me for flagrantly fouling Hansbrough, my least favorite player in the history of basketball.
Lawrence FrankDrummond played 24 minutes after playing 28 last night, and he would’ve played more if he didn’t pick up three first half fouls. That alone gets Frank a decent grade. As far as the blowout loss? Much like last night’s game, there’s not much blame you can put on a coach when guys just flat out miss good looks as the Pistons did a lot tonight.

Yes, I am alive and well

A few of you have noticed that I’ve been scarce around these parts lately (seriously … thanks for noticing, makes me feel really appreciated). I just wanted to take a second and give an explanation, something I probably should’ve done in the first place.

First of all, I’m not going anywhere. As long as Dan is running this site, I’ll be here contributing in some capacity. I’ve always prided myself on being honest and unfiltered, whether my opinions are right or wrong, with readers, and I’ll try and do the same here. I was getting burnt out. This team, at times, is hard to watch, as you all know. As you can imagine, that also makes the team pretty hard to write about. There were several times over the first half of this season where I felt like I was being repetitive, where I felt like I wasn’t bringing anything new or relevant to the table and, to be completely blunt about it, I was just bitching about the countless things that this organization does wrong. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for bitching. Just ask Detroit Bad Boys (I kid, I kid … I love those guys and they’ve been even more fantastic since Matt Watson has come back full force over the last month or so*).

* Seriously, I scale back my writing slightly over the last month or so and I’m getting harassed about  being dead, but Watson, who has been cryogenically frozen since like the ’07 season is all of a sudden back and in a matter of days the king of Pistons blogging again and no one bats an eye? The Free Press needs to be writing about this. It’s Matt effing Watson! One of the best NBA bloggers of all time!

As I said, a good rant is fine. It has just never worked for me or felt right for me as a writer. I tend to be too cynical, so when I allow myself to get into a negative mode writing, it snowballs and I soon start to feel incapable of writing without any of that negative bias seeping in. The fact is, I want to watch this team objectively. I want to see the young players on this team succeed. I want the real Joe Dumars to return and overthrow his evil twin who has been running the show since roughly the Nazr Mohammed signing (and maybe the Calderon trade is a sign that that coup has been staged). I want to believe that evidence exists suggesting Knight can be the point guard this organization desperately wants fans to believe he is. I want the real Lawrence Frank, the guy who is well-spoken, who worked his ass off through the ranks to get an opportunity as a NBA coach, who is respected by Hall of Fame players like Jason Kidd and Kevin Garnett, to show up here and figure out that the best way to win games is playing your best players the most minutes. I want those things and I don’t want to write with a cynical lens that makes it seem like I don’t want the team to succeed when the reality is I want nothing more as a sports fan. With that in mind, I think a step back to recharge is in order. I want to watch the team more without the pressure of trying to say something new in a recap. More importantly, I want to spend more time reading the work of others, NBA and otherwise, and work on some creative inspiration to provide content here that is at the level that PistonPowered readers have grown to expect. You guys deserve better than someone who is conflicted or not fully invested at all times, so in order for me to get back to that point, I need to spend some time doing less.

The second factor is a little less boring but more important to me personally. PistonPowered is a hobby for me that, because I tend to be on the obsessive compulsive side, often became like a second full-time job that I do on top of my day job that actually does things like ‘allow me to wear clothes’ and ‘allow me to eat food.’ When I stepped back and actually evaluated how much this site, its growth and its success consume me, I had to re-evaluate. Between writing posts and the hundreds of retorts I was writing in the comments on a monthly basis, I needed to get my home priorities straight. I don’t want watching basketball with my son to entail me also being in front of a computer at all times too. I don’t want my wife to have to plan stuff around whether or not I have to write about a game three or four nights a week. I want to be able to go watch my brother play basketball at Lawrence Tech. Those were things that I was letting fall through the cracks so that I could waste time spending 1,000 words pointing out in the comments why bugsygod is an idiot. And let’s be honest … there are so many smart commenters on PistonPowered these days, that I don’t need to do that sort of thing. You guys are fully capable of sorting out who is informed and who isn’t on your own. In the early days of this site, I thought it was important to help set a tone, and part of that meant responding with snark and sarcasm to comments I felt were below a standard of intelligent discourse that we wanted here. Basically, my fear with comments was that this place would turn into YouTube or Yahoo! or MLive comments sections where anything goes if we weren’t aggressive when it came to pointing out (and laughing at) comments that were dumb or lacked substance or were unwelcome. But now? We have a really vibrant community down there with people who are articulate, funny and bring a wide variety of well-argued opinions to the table. As much as I enjoy interacting with people (even those people who I’ve fought with), I’m not needed anymore. I still read them, I still laugh at the ones that are funny (either intentionally or unintentionally) and I’m still thankful that so many people take the time to read, let alone comment.

So, to wrap up what I originally intended to be a quick note, yes, it’s true — I’ll probably be a bit more scarce, but I’m also not going anywhere. And honestly, the content here, whether it’s written by me or not, is in good hands. I honestly can’t wait to read Feldman’s long-form post kicking Prince on his way out of town the way he kicked Rip Hamilton (kidding again!). And if you haven’t followed much of J.M., Brady or Jameson’s posts yet since they’ve come on board, check them out. They all bring different, interesting voices to the table. PistonPowered is in great hands and I’ll continue to be a part of it for the long haul, helping in any way I can.

Jose Calderon trade, amnestying Charlie Villanueva could give Pistons more than $30 million in cap space

The salary page is updated, and we can estimate the Pistons’ cap room this summer. There are plenty of variables that won’t become clear until the season ends, so here a few assumptions I’m working with for now:

*Renouncing a player doesn’t mean the Pistons can’t re-sign him. It just means they can’t go over the cap to re-sign him. But if the Pistons don’t renounce these players, they continue to count against the cap at an amount higher than their previous salary.

Of, course I’ve omitted one key question. Will the Pistons amnesty Charlie Villanueva? I have no idea, and it makes a big difference, so I’m not including that in my assumptions. Here are the two key numbers:

  • Pistons’ cap room if they amnesty Villanueva: $30,027,902
  • Pistons’ cap room if they don’t amnesty Villanueva: $22,018,082

Either way, Detroit has great flexibility going forward thanks to this trade.

Ben Wallace’s path back to Pistons now clear?

By trading two players (Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye) for one (Jose Calderon), the Pistons now have an open roster spot. Patrick just reminded me of something Ben Wallace said in December:

“I’m not retired,” Wallace said. “It’s a good chance I’ll be playing again. Nobody wants to file those (retirement) papers, that’s a hassle.”

Wallace, 38, believes something will happen soon to make a way for him. It’s important to note he said he’d never wear a jersey other than the Pistons’ red, white and blue, so one has to wonder if a spot will open up — or if he’s willing to back off that statement to get back on the court.

Was this the something that would happen soon? I sure hope so.

Pistons trade Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye for Jose Calderon

The details are finalized. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Pistons sending Tayshaun Prince onto Memphis for Jose Calderon to complete 3-way deal with Toronto, sources tell Y!

Austin Daye will go to Memphis as part of package with Prince, sources tell Y! Sports. No draft picks.

No draft picks? Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Obviously, we’ll have much more analysis coming, but I’m very excited already.

Update: Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Deal is official league approved