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Pistons, after trade deadline passes, head toward The Summer of Truth

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

Calderon arrived too late to make a difference this year – the Pistons will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season, their longest post-season drought in 30 years – but his expiring contract might mean a bigger difference in the seasons to come. By standing pat Thursday, the Pistons confirmed their arc.

They’re heading into this summer – the Summer of Truth – with everything to prove and the assets to make nearly anything happen.

The Pistons committed themselves to this summer when they sent a first-round pick to the Charlotte Bobcats just to rid themselves of Ben Gordon’s contract a year earlier. They upped the ante by dumping Prince’s long-term contract, and they called any raises by silently letting the trade deadline pass.

Joe Dumars’ critics still point to his flubbed rebuild in the summer of 2009, and his supporters blame Karen Davidson’s sale of the team for interfering with Dumars’ plan. The truth lies somewhere between with Dumars’ reputation hanging in the balance.

He’ll have a tremendous chance to prove himself during the Summer of Truth.

The Pistons will have a lottery pick it can use on a player like Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke or Otto Porter. They’ll have cap space to sign someone like O.J. Mayo, Josh Smith and/or J.J. Redick or trade for highly paid veterans like Danny Granger, Luol Deng and/or Eric Gordon.

It’s a lot to navigate, and it must happen this summer.

The diminishing protection on the pick owed to the Bobcats (top-eight in 2014, top-one in 2015 and unprotected in 2016) demands the Pistons don’t prolong their rebuild. The longer the Pistons remain bad, the greater the risk they send a valuable draft pick to Charlotte.

The Freep editors lowercased the ‘T,’ but make no mistake it’s “The Summer of Truth.”


  • Feb 22, 201312:52 pm


    BEST CASE SCENARIO FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PISTONS: 2014 (all depends on how we spend in 2013)
    Stuckey,Charlie and Slava have expiring contracts…. = over 18 mil
    We could move them for a player like Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, whatever disgruntle NBA star player that no longer wants to be in their city any longer….
    in a straight up trades situation Stuckey probably has more value than Charlie because he’s be only 27 years old, and can still provide instant offense and he’s a little more versatile…during the season players Stuckey could land would be Evan Turner , John Wall , Affalo or Derozan
    Maybe Charlie could land a player like Gallinari…….
    Players we could pursue in Free-Agency…. Paul George, Eric Bledsoe, Rudy Gay….

    Im not very confident in the next two drafts….

    • Feb 22, 20135:38 pm
      by tarsier


      Better to have cap space than CV’s contract. A contender would rather take back nothing than a bad player on an expiring deal.

  • Feb 22, 201312:59 pm
    by Otis


    I essentially agree with all of this, except the part about blaming Karen Davidson for anything really. At worst, she refused to spend money on a professional head coach, but all the “freedom” she could have granted Joe wouldn’t have meant a thing with that roster. That old argument died when new ownership came in and Joe still couldn’t do anything at all with his roster. Let’s not embarrass ourselves here.

    As for this summer, yep, it’s the time to do it. There’s no more “now wasn’t the time” or “wait for a better opportunity” garbage that’s been the team’s mantra. Not only did Joe pay a potentially HEFTY tax to have flexibility this summer instead of next, but the tax gets heftier the longer the Pistons are anything less than a solidly GOOD team.

    Kudos for your emphasis on flexibility, too. If the attitude going into this summer is: “What can we add to Knight, Monroe, Drummond, Singler to improve the team?” I think they’re approaching it all wrong and this summer is going to be a failure. The team has a GRAND TOTAL of two players who project to be solidly above average, and they might both have the most upside at center. The attitude should be: “Let’s start next season with the two or three best players we can get our hands on (at complementary positions) even if it means trading guys like Monroe and Knight.”

  • Feb 22, 20131:11 pm
    by James


    Am I the only one who isn’t very excited about this year’s FA crop? Alot of those players to me seemed to be primed to be overpaid.

    • Feb 22, 20131:37 pm
      by Gareth Masters


      Just the way Joe likes ‘em! ;-)

    • Feb 22, 20132:02 pm
      by I HATE FRANK


      My point exactly…

      Re-sign Calderon for for 6 or 6.5 …
      Go after Tyreke for 7 mil…

      then just chill…and be patient, teams are going to come to Pistons trying to move bigger names…

    • Feb 22, 20135:39 pm
      by tarsier


      Cap space isn’t just good for free agency. It’s good for in-season trades.

  • Feb 22, 20132:18 pm
    by pistons moribund


    Truth.  Frank hasn’t a clue about coaching, roster/personnel management, or defense.
    Truth.  Count on another lottery year with Frank at the helm, no matter the free agents/draft picks.
    Truth.  The FA crop for the summer is horrible.
    Truth.  Monroe is not athletic enough to play against the top tier PF in the league.
    Truth.  The Pistons must do what they can to keep Jose.
    Truth.  The Pistons signed Frank on for toooooooo long.
    Truth.  The player will start to tune out Frank next year when the face up to the fact that he is a horrible coach.
    Truth Hurts.

    • Feb 22, 20132:36 pm
      by G


      Well that’s like, your OPINION, man…

    • Feb 22, 20132:40 pm
      by Huddy


      Truth: you underestimate Monroe.  He is a top 10 rebounder, top 5 passer, top 5 getting to the free throw line(all among big men) he is also even in scoring with players like Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan.  He is already playing at the level of the top tier PFs in the league (compare his numbers to KG, Bosh, Cousins, Lopez, Duncan…the list goes on).  He has put up these numbers in just his 3rd year and with a bad pg feeding him the ball (until recently).  Not athletic enough? I guess i wouldn’t call him the most athletic or anything but a lot of the top tier PF aren’t the real freak athletes of the league and if he can put up these numbers without being a freak athlete I don’t see what the problem is.

      • Feb 22, 20133:00 pm
        by G


        The main difference between Monroe & those guys you named is DEFENSE. He’s not very good, they are. Other than that, I agree. He looks like a borderline All Star on offense. If you’re comparing him to the top PF’s in the league, that would be (scoring-wise):
        LaMarcus Aldridge – 21 ppg
        David Lee – 19 ppg
        Blake Griffin – 18.5 ppg 
        David West – 17.2 ppg
        Ryan Anderson – 16.7 ppg
        and Monroe would be next at 16 ppg.

        Athletically speaking, Griffin and maybe Aldridge are the only ones out of Monroe’s league. Anyway, you don’t have to be a super athlete to guard a super athlete, just ask Shane Battier or Bruce Bowen. 

        • Feb 22, 20134:11 pm
          by pistons moribund


          Outside of Anderson, all these guys would school Bullwinkle.  You forgot Love, Grandpa Garnett.  If you take into account that most of the touches that Monroe gets are near the basket and the fact that he is going against centers for now, this might account for his scoring average.  When you put Dre into the center position, then moving him out from under the basket will match him up against more mobile defenders night in and night out.  Without a consistent outside shot, he might struggle when the middle is clogged with Dre.  It is really impossible to tell what will happen when it does.  Even if your argument is that Shane and Bruce are not super athlete, its fair to say that they have much better defensive awareness then Bullwinkle.  Just look at the last game when he lost his assignment which resulted in 2 threes late in the game from Mullens. Geeez. offense matters but defense wins ships, ask Ben.

          • Feb 22, 20135:53 pm
            by G

            I was just looking at the scoring leaders for this year. Love has only played in 18 games, so he doesn’t hit the minimum qualifications. 

            If you read what I said, I said Monroe IS NOT VERY GOOD ON DEFENSE. He probably never will be, but he’s equal to or better than David Lee, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and Ryan Anderson on defense. Oh, and nowhere is it written that the PF HAS to check the opposing PF. He and Drummond can switch if the assignment is Aldridge or David West or somebody.

            My whole point was good defense does not require one to be a superior athlete. Greg Monroe could stay in front of most of the PFs on that list, if he had good defensive awareness. That “defense wins championships” line… god I get tired of hearing that. Is it true? Well, kinda. But you don’t need every player to be a good defender. We won in ’04 with Rip, who’s a worse defender than anyone the Pistons have now except maybe Slava. Check the post about Maxiell, the Pistons’ best defensive line up is with Monroe and Drummond. 

          • Feb 22, 20135:59 pm
            by G

            …and I didn’t include “Grandpa Garnett” because I was only listing guys who score MORE than Monroe does. If you want to go down the list, Monroe scores more than Randolph, Boozer, Nowitzki, Garnett, Ibaka…

            Now of that group only Garnett and Ibaka are better defensively. 

  • Feb 22, 20132:42 pm
    by Brigs


    can someone please explain to me what’s so appealing about tyreke evans?

    • Feb 22, 20132:44 pm
      by G


      He’s like a bigger, better version of Rodney Stuckey. Naturally we’d be delighted to have him (insert sarcasm font)

  • Feb 22, 20133:12 pm
    by vic


    Excellent writeup. Summer of Truth is right. 
    They got the most important part (the paint) taken care of – 4 and 5. 
    resign Calderon, get insurance for Calderon, and get wing help, and they’re right in the conversation overnight.

    Pieces to add this summer:
    one or more of:
    Otto Porter – 3
    Trey Burke – 1 (Calderon insurance)
    Victor Oladipo – 2
    Tony Mitchell – 4
    one of:
    Nate Wolters – 1 (Calderon insurance)
    Carrick Felix – 3
    Adreian Payne (4)
    Tyreke Evans – 1, 2, or 3
    Paul Millsap – 4

    Tyreke is a better and more talented combo guard that can also play small forward. He was rookie of the year, and he’s in a comeback year from playing smarter. Snatch him while you can and plug him in at any guard or wing position. 


    • Feb 22, 20133:36 pm
      by G


      I like Millsap, but that means you’re advocating benching either Monroe or Drummond. I wouldn’t put Evans at the 1 (I’m just flat sick of combo guards running the offense), and he’s a restricted FA. Besides that, he’s basically a better version of Stuckey, and Stuckey isn’t exactly a great fit for this team.

      • Feb 22, 20138:55 pm
        by vic


        hex naw you’d bring Millsap off the bench.

        Evans would primarily be at 3 or 2.
        Talent is talent. Guy was rookie of the year and averaged 20 5 and 5.
        Get him away from that toxic situation and he could blossom.
        All you have to do is put the ball in his hands, he actually finishes.

  • Feb 22, 20133:16 pm
    by Franks Must Go


    Frank does a horrible job of managing players development, and rotation match ups. Singler never should have been a starter at the two, and probably isn’t the best option at the three right now. I would start JJ, as I do when I play 2K13. He gives us better defense down low and rebounding, which we need with no jumping Monroe and no height Maxiell playing up front. I believe we will regret seeing Ausin Daye leave town, because that kid could play and will someday develop into the player we thought he could be a couple of years back when we had in penciled in as the incumbent starter, until Tay was resigned. Franks made sure Daye never fully made it back from that setback in Detroit, as he benched him to start the year this year, only gave him about six minutes a game and several DNP last year. He also refuse  to start moving the team towards building around Drummond, even though everybody can see Drummond is the only Franchise player on the roster. Our no all star  streak will soon be over. I believe a league MVP could also be achieved someday if he fulfill his potential.

    Franks also does a horrible job with his in-game adjustments. How many games has gotten away from us in the early part of the season where he refused to play our three point shooters (Austin Daye, Charlie V, Kim English) to give us a legitimate chance at coming back? How many games have we been killed on the boards and gave up too many points in the paints did we sit there frustrated wondering why he won’t put Drummond in and allow him to help in those areas, since rebounding and protecting the paint is what he does best, and on an all star level? 

    I can go on for days, because Franks definitely provided the material for my rants. But the bottom line is that Franks must go! If we have the chance to improve the team talent wise, we should also be looking for a coach that can get the most out of that talent. I don’t know how much of Drummonds development is due to the current Piston’s coaching staff, or Drummonds himself, being that his game fits the pro game better than the college game. But we have five rookies on the roster who can all play in this league, and Drummonds is the only one developing. Singler has looked as if he was regressing at certain times this season. 

    • Feb 22, 20133:29 pm
      by vic


      thats all true, but the great thing about having a pass first pg like Calderon or Burke is that they can help make bad coaching not so bad.

      I doubt Joe D will fire Frank yet so the best hope is resigning Calderon and getting some Calderon Insurance (Burke) 

  • Feb 22, 20134:00 pm
    by Sop


    As in the Summer of The Truth? As in the summer the Pistons acquire Paul Pierce?!!! weird…

  • Feb 22, 20134:37 pm
    by baines


    Dan………..great article………this really is going to be the ‘Summer of Truth’ for Joe Dumars.  I can’t believe Gores will keep Joe if he doesn’t make noticeable improvements to our roster during this ‘Summer of Truth’!!

  • Feb 22, 20134:45 pm
    by bball4224


    Langlois is adamant we are going to use the cap mainly on trades this summer, which has a lot more potential to be exciting than overpaying for mediocrity again. Igoudala, Mayo, and Josh Smith are the only free agents I’m even interested in on that list as good starters. And Smith is going to want max and is a position we don’t need as much, so really he’s not on the list either.
    Tyreke Evans I guess I’d also include but I wouldn’t pay too much for him.

    Trades seem a lot… better.

    • Feb 22, 20135:46 pm
      by tarsier


      Why are PP commenters so excited about Mayo? He’s having a nice contract year, but he is still only a slightly above average starter. And for the past two years, he was a well below average starter.

      • Feb 22, 20136:12 pm
        by bball4224


        I’m not that excited, he just one of three attainable free agents I actually see having much of any value. I loved Igoudala before too but he’s getting older and his game relies on athleticism. So really I’m not excited about any free agents. Pretty much I was trying to get across the point of wanting us to use the money on trades and not free agency…

      • Feb 22, 20136:19 pm
        by G


        Not sure who you’re looking at, but it isn’t Mayo. He’s leading the Mavs in scoring, shooting pretty well, and while he didn’t start in Memphis the last 2 years he played starters minutes. I you put him on the Pistons right now he’d threaten Monroe for best player on the team. 

        • Feb 22, 20136:20 pm
          by G


          *IF you put him on the Pistons… missed the ‘F’

  • Feb 22, 20136:19 pm
    by Windy


    My summer would include resign Calderon, draft Oladipo who has got Piston written all over him, then try to pry Deng or Chandler away from their teams…a lineup of Calderon, Knight, Deng or Chandler, Monroe and Dre is solid with Oladipo coming of the bench

  • Feb 23, 201311:19 am
    by Eric


    Draft: Cody Zeller

    Free Agency – Amnesty Charlie V, Sign O J Mayo, Josh Smith, DJ Auguistin, Trade Greg Monroe and Stuckey in a three team trade to obtain Loul Deng, Bulls need to get rid of a large contract and nobody wants Boozer’s contract.

    Lineup PG Knight SG OJ Mayo SF Luol Deng PF Josh Smith C Andre Drummond

    Reserves: Augustin, Kim English, Singler, Jerebeko, Middleton, Kravtsov, Zeller, other draft choices, low value contracts,


    • Feb 23, 201312:03 pm
      by Eric


      Joe D has traded the Pistons best player before : Grant Hill

      To me no one is untouchable for the right deal.  Monroe gets rebounds an okay scorer, but is not a good defensive 4 and the Pistons need to get back to the basics-Defense, defense leads to offense.

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