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Detroit Pistons losers in Luol Deng-Andrew Bynum trade

I broke down the Luol Deng-Andrew Bynum trade for ProBasketballTalk, and the Pistons are among the losers:

Losers: Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks

These four teams definitely want to make the 2014 playoffs. They’ve sacrificed future flexibility in order to increase success this season.

All four have traded a first-round pick they could surrender in 2014 without even making the playoffs. In other words, to varying degrees, tanking might not even let these teams reap the rewards of a high draft pick. They’re fully or nearly fully on the playoff-contention track.

But it hasn’t gone so well. None of the four has a winning record, and just two would make the postseason if it began today. Here’s how they, and the two teams in this trade, stand in the Eastern Conference:

5. Wizards (14-17)

6. Bulls (14-18)

8. Pistons (14-20)

———————–

9. Nets (12-21)

12. Knicks (11-22)

13. Cavaliers (11-12)

This trade obviously shakes up the postseason picture. The Cavaliers are more likely to make the playoffs. The Bulls are less likely to make the playoffs. But the magnitude by which Cleveland’s odds increase is less than the magnitude by which Chicago’s odds decrease.

Simply, that’s because the Bulls are starting in playoff position and the Cavaliers aren’t. Deng will obviously make the Cavaliers better, especially because he fills such a glaring hole for them. But Thibodeau will keep the Bulls playing hard and defending to the best of their capabilities, and that might keep them in the postseason race.

In other words, the Wizards, Pistons, Nets and Knicks must now fend off Cleveland while still combating a dangerous Chicago.

53 Comments

  • Jan 7, 20149:19 am
    by Rich

    Reply

    Overall, the Bulls going into tank mode makes me feel better about the Pistons’ playoff chances than Cleveland going for broke at this point.

    • Jan 7, 201412:46 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      Then you’re probably a hopeless optimist. This season should have some painful surprises in store for you.

      • Jan 7, 20141:37 pm
        by Rich

        Reply

        Not really… this team is fatally flawed, with a “star” who is actually a below league average forward at either spot, a rookie starting at shooting guard who is completely shell-shocked by the league, and a ridiculously thin bench.  If they do make the playoffs, they’ll be out in five games max.
         
        But Chicago tanking means there’s one less potential playoff team in the East.  And Cleveland now has to integrate Deng, hope that their China Doll PG doesn’t get hurt, and make up lost ground.  
         
        Overall, it slightly improves the Pistons playoff chances.

        • Jan 7, 20141:42 pm
          by Otis

          Reply

          Chicago tanking is a VERY big “if.” I don’t think they’re going to tank. I think they’re going to play hard and try to win as many games as possible and still be better than the Pistons even without Deng. I’m guessing this trade gives Cleveland a better chance of passing us (they’re 2.5 games back right now) than Chicago falling behind (they’re 1 game heard right now). Whether they tank or not, that’s up to them. But I don’t see this trade as a signal that they’re tanking, just cutting their losses on a frustrating season.
           
          Brace yourself for a very, very dark future. The Pistons are going nowhere.

          • Jan 7, 20141:46 pm
            by Rich

            Thibideou is a helluva coach, but the players have to be aware that this is a sinking ship.  Keeping Boozer and Noah motivated is a losing cause.
             
            But I’m not really sure why I’m arguing with you, since you’re basically saying things are awful, and I’m suggesting they’re in fact only really bad!  LOL…

          • Jan 7, 20142:06 pm
            by Otis

            Yep. And you’ll lose that argument every time. Things almost couldn’t be worse for the Pistons. You might say: “At least they have Andre Drummond,” but then I’ll say, “As long as they’re dead-set on keeping Monroe and Drummond, they’re never going to accomplish anything,” and I’ll win again. Wish it weren’t so, but checkmate.
             
            Oh, and also keeping Boozer and Noah motivated isn’t a losing cause. Players have pride. They want to compete. If the Bulls can salvage this season, it’ll be very big for them. They have something to build on. As presently constructed, there is nothing the Pistons could possibly accomplish this season that will mean anything. The end is nigh.

  • Jan 7, 20149:39 am
    by Aaron

    Reply

    I don’t understand this trade from Chicago’s perspective.    They gave away Deng (i know he’s done this season), a future 1 and 2 2′s, just so they could cut Bynum and save 6 million this year.   I understand money is money, but are the Bull’s hurting for cash?   And as Dan (correctly in my opinion) put it, the Bulls still won’t be tanking, so it’s not even good from a draft standpoint. 

    • Jan 7, 20149:42 am
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Bulls got the picks from Cleveland, not the other way around

      • Jan 7, 20142:52 pm
        by Aaron

        Reply

        That changes things drastically.   My immediate confusion made it impossible for me to see my error.   I was stumbling around like a flash bang had just gone off.

      • Jan 7, 20142:56 pm
        by Clint in Flint

        Reply

        @Dan
        Your headline was too long, only the first three words were needed. 

        • Jan 7, 20143:26 pm
          by Otis

          Reply

          Haha this is so funny. I literally just came back to the site to say this exact same thing. I like this Clint fella.

    • Jan 7, 201412:58 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      A.A-Ron: They didn’t save six million bucks, hombre. They saved at least twice that and possibly three times as much. I’m not sure of all the nuances of the new CBA, but the tax penalties are quite stiff. It’s something like: If you’re a tax paying team two years in a row, your tax is two dollars for every dollar you are over the cap. So they avoid paying the tax altogether (and potentially actually pocket a little bit of extra money, because I believe teams that don’t pay the tax will receive money from the tax paying teams) and get some picks.
       
      But the key is this: They looked in the mirror and said: “Y’know, maybe it’s just not our year.” And they adjusted. They made the best of a rotten situation, saved a ton of money, and got some picks for their trouble. This is exactly what Joe Dumars stubbornly REFUSES to do, and that’s why we’ve been awful for five years instead of three, and why we will continue to be awful until we install someone with a brain as our GM.
       
      The Bulls saved between $12 and $18 million, not counting the money they’ll collect from the taxpaying teams (which will be significant, as Brooklyn alone is going to pay like $90 mil in taxes this season) and they got a few picks to come back stronger and have a brighter future, for a guy they’re going to lose in free agency anyways. By contrast, Joe Dumars GAVE AWAY A FIRST ROUNDER (likely this year’s) in order to save $15 mil and get cap space one year early so he could blow it on a superfluous power forward and play him out of position (the Joe Dumars special). So who’s the bumbling dumbf*ck idiot in this situation and who’s the savvy, realistic GM who lives in the real world and is trying to help his team in the big picture?

      • Jan 7, 20142:53 pm
        by Aaron

        Reply

        Luxury tax multiplier (both going out and in) helps even more.    Only in the NBA does 6 = 15+.

      • Jan 7, 20143:59 pm
        by NJ

        Reply

        “…what Joe Dumars stubbornly REFUSES to do”
         
        I agree.  His fatal flaw since 2005 has been arrogance to think he can keep winning without having a few down years.  Unfortunately, the fruits of an impatient approach are short-sighted moves that rely on overvalued talent or leave a team with an unbalanced roster.
         
        The question is, what does Tom Gores see?

  • Jan 7, 20149:52 am
    by Brigs

    Reply

    Well a team that’s bent on making the playoffs this year makes a move at the wing to get possibly much better….. and it’s not the pistons. up until now I was still a supporter of joe d but for him to just stand pat is absolutely unacceptable

    • Jan 7, 20141:01 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      Up until this point? If you supported Joe to this point, you’ll be back. The next time this team wins a game you’ll think we’ve turned a corner.

  • Jan 7, 201410:21 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    The Bulls have made it well known for years that they are not interested in paying the luxury tax, so this actually saved them more than what was owed to Deng during the second half.  Getting another possible pick in 2014 is huge for them too (they also have a future from Charlotte, which could come this year as well). 
     
    What would we have given up for Deng?  Monroe? A pick?  I wouldn’t do either of those for a guy who might be slightly overpaid (albeit I would pay him 14M instead of JSmoove for the next three years) this summer.  
    He is exactly what they need, but there are cheaper alternatives out there.  Cleveland gave up what will be a pretty good draft pick this year or in the next few for a four month push with Deng.  Highly doubt he will stay in Cleveland.  

    • Jan 7, 20141:04 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      It’s not about what we would have given up for Deng. We were never going after Deng, and we shouldn’t have. Cleveland is going to try to court him, and unlike Detroit, Cleveland has an All-Star and many promising young pieces who actually play complementary positions and fit together. At some point with an abundance of recent draft picks you have to start developing them and surrounding them with the right veteran pieces. You can’t just keep adding picks. You only have 15 spots on your roster. This trade makes great sense for both sides.

      • Jan 7, 20146:16 pm
        by Jon

        Reply

        they have few players who complement each other. they have 3 4s, two of them average to above average, the other far far below average but with supposed potential. both players in their backcourt like to take all the shots. deng definitely helps make everything fit, but their young players hardly complement each other

        • Jan 7, 20146:34 pm
          by Otis

          Reply

          Oboy, Jon. Kyrie Irving is a PG. Nobody would disagree with that. Dion Waiters is a SG. Tristan Thompson is a 4 (not sure if he can swing to the 3 because I’m not terribly familiar with him). Varejao is a center. I believe Zeller plays 4/5. Bennet is a 3/4. This is a mix of positions and talent. On top of that, they have Jack at PG and Deng at SF. These are pieces you can develop and work with.
           
          They’re not trotting out two centers and a power forward and calling it a “core” while playing out their fifth consecutive utterly wasted season. Why are you trying to get me started?

          • Jan 7, 20146:46 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            Thompson and Bennett are significantly worse fits at SF than Josh Smith.

          • Jan 8, 20145:53 pm
            by Jon

            1) I never compared their fit with that of the Pistons.
            2) Thompson, Varejao, and Bennet all have similar skills.
            3) Zeller sucks so he’s irrelevant.
            4) Kyrie and Waiters both play best with the ball in their hands and don’t play defense, not exactly the fit you want from your backcourt.

  • Jan 7, 201410:26 am
    by Corey

    Reply

    This kind of trade is why I wish we had amnesty’d CV last summer. If we were carrying cap space, we could have made a trade like this by not taking back as much money and getting someone under the luxury tax. As it is, CV’s expiring contract is far less valuable than empty cap space to absorb salary into would have been.
    As it is, we had nothing Chicago wanted that we would have been willing to give up. At this point, I want JoD gone just so we don’t have a GM making short-term ass covering moves instead of building a team.
     

    • Jan 7, 201410:36 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Yep,this was a topic that I got more annoyed with commenters here about than most any other. So many people were saying keep CV because he’ll be a valuable expiring contract.

      Granted, this trade probably wouldn’t have happened even with the open cap space because at least I hope Dumars wouldn’t give up a first rounder, two second rounders, and the opportunity to swap picks for Deng. He’s just not worth anywhere close to that.

      • Jan 7, 201411:16 am
        by Rich

        Reply

        To be fair, the Pistons could still amnesty CV at any point to make such a deal work, no?

        • Jan 7, 201411:20 am
          by Smitty

          Reply

          No they had one week in july or something to do it, and chose not to.

          • Jan 7, 201411:56 am
            by Rich

            Ah, thanks.  For some reason I had it in my head you could amnesty anytime during the season.  My bad.

  • Jan 7, 201410:59 am
    by Smitty

    Reply

    We should have put a non guaranteed date is Smith’s contract.

    • Jan 7, 20141:06 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      Smith is not the problem. The team was awful without him, they’re awful with him. Subtract him and we still suck. Stop scapegoating him.

  • Jan 7, 201411:05 am
    by Smitty

    Reply

    Does this really make Cleveson that much better? The bulls that bad?

  • Jan 7, 201411:16 am
    by @GPMasters

    Reply

    It definitely makes the Bulls pretty bad now, I doubt they make the play-offs, look at their guards… Would be interesting to know what Thibs makes of the whole situation.

    • Jan 7, 201411:23 am
      by Smitty

      Reply

      Ya I think the Bulls will fall out of the playoffs easily now. Take away their best scoring option on a team that can’t score. The Cavs still need more help to be good imo. Deng will help, but they still don’t have that good of a frontcourt. Anderson and Kyrie seem pretty injury prone as well. Now with Deng being hurt a lot, this team could be the all IR team now.

      • Jan 7, 201412:31 pm
        by jamesjones_det

        Reply

        They do Tristan Thompson who I’m a fan of.  He’s undersized but he plays hard at the PF position.  Not sure he will ever be an all-star but he could make a decent 4 for them if that team can stay healthy.

    • Jan 7, 20141:09 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      You guys are ridiculous. The Bulls are still better than us. Thibodeau is better than Cheeks, Hinrich is better than Jennings, Boozer is better than Monroe, Noah is better than Smith, Butler is better than Stuckey, Snell is better than KCP, Gibson is better than literally anything we can bring off the bench, and apparently nothing is better than Smith if you listen to all these people who think dumping him is the answer. You people need to take off your homer hats. The Bulls are still much better than us. If they choose to tank, we’ll have a better record than them. If they play hard, they’ll finish higher than we do and you’ll look pretty ridiculous.

      • Jan 7, 20141:10 pm
        by Otis

        Reply

        ^typo: Meant to say Noah is better than Drummond. And, make no mistake, at the moment he is.

  • Jan 7, 201412:18 pm
    by Parsons

    Reply

    I don’t think you can judge if we’re losers until Deng either signs an extension or signs somewhere else. He seems like he wants to test his worth in free agency so I don’t think we’re losers yet. This may be a wayword blessing for us. Obviously we aren’t going anywhere this season so (and I know this isn’t a popular opinion) if we lose our playoff spot and keep our pick we could get better next year and make a real push with a real team that can put its best 5 out on the floor without having to worry about how they win with so many playing out of position. As it stands we could booted out while trying to make a push in a pitiful eastern conference. The worst case for us is landing 9th and with 3 teams under us fighting we’re in real jeopardy of landing 9th. I’d rather tank than finish 9th, sorry.

    • Jan 7, 201412:40 pm
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      If we finish 9th in all likely hood we will lose our draft pick since we owe it to Charlotte, so unless the Pistons tank not making the playoffs wouldn’t help us this off season.

      • Jan 7, 20142:00 pm
        by Parsons

        Reply

        Thats what I’m saying tank now and get under 8. 9 is the worst place we can be but if NY, Brooklynn, and Cleveland all pass us and Chi falls below us we’re 9. Sounds unlikely but with just 3 games separating us and Cleveland this could happen. Worst case scenario but possible. The east is home to 7 of the 9 worst records so 10th in the east is the target, for me anyway feel free to disagree I just think we’d do better if we keep our pick.

        • Jan 7, 20142:33 pm
          by Otis

          Reply

          Why does that sound unlikely? I think it’s probably more likely that Chicago, Cleveland, Bklyn and New York all pass us. They should all be better than the Pistons.

  • Jan 7, 201412:19 pm
    by pistonspoland

    Reply

    Great news. Bulls will be tough to beat even without Deng and should fight for 7-8th spot in East. Nets, Knicks and of course now Cavs will play better and those teams should be above Pistons at the end of the season. That means one thing:

    We WILL miss playoffs and Dumars is gone! 

    • Jan 7, 201412:35 pm
      by jamesjones_det

      Reply

      I’m kind of with you on this.  I’m not sure missing the playoffs is a bad thing anymore.  I like one and a half players on this team and Joe just hasn’t done enough to show me he’s worthy of staying.  I would love to see the entire org and team blown up this summer.
       
      My worst fear is we slip in at 7 or 8 Joe stays and we are just good enough to be the early/mid 90′s pistons who get swept every year in the playoffs.

      • Jan 7, 20141:48 pm
        by Otis

        Reply

        Hot damn, dude. What possessed you that before yesterday there was still a point in making the playoffs? Your last sentence is the only way you should have been thinking for the last five years, because every move Joe has made in that period is so we can be exactly that. First round playoff fodder for eternity, and that will be on “good” years.

        • Jan 7, 20141:57 pm
          by jamesjones_det

          Reply

          nothing really, I was holding out hope Joe wouldn’t rest on this loser team since his job was on the line but it looks like my hope might have been misplaced.

          • Jan 7, 20142:12 pm
            by Otis

            LOL yeah uh it “might” have. Hahahaha
             
            PS: More than anything, Joe is resting on this loser team because his job is on the line. His almost 100% consistent habit is holding out hope that the team finally jells for no particular reason. Hasn’t happened yet and won’t happen. I just don’t think Joe has the guts to pull the trigger on any big moves that may steepen the learning curve, even though the team has literally never had even a shred of what could honestly be called momentum. Worse yet, if he convinced Gores that Stuckey and/or Monroe are indispensable, Gores might not even let him trade either one at this point. If Tom Gores sees Dumars as a lame duck, he might not let Joe do much of anything. Just let his contract quietly expire and have the next guy “fix” things, but by then it will be too late.

    • Jan 7, 20141:14 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      Yeah that’s pretty much where I’m at right now. Brooklyn is slowly putting it together, as most probably should have predicted they would. The Knicks are 2.5 games behind us and probably overtake us as well. Ditto for Cleveland with Deng in the fold. Hard to see us as a top 8 team right now. The real shame is that if we don’t make a big deadline move or two, Joe will be fired only after he’s done just about all the damage he could possibly do.

      • Jan 7, 20143:26 pm
        by pistonspoland

        Reply

        Right now I just don’t care about this season, and even about missing a good pick. I just want Pistons to become real NBA team, with a good and reasonable GM who cares about advanced statistics, who builds team with vision and who in active in trades. Thank you Dumars for many great years and for championship, but please.. just go.
         
        I hope that first decision of our new GM will be picking new coach.

        • Jan 7, 20146:37 pm
          by Otis

          Reply

          Right, and if this team allows the trade deadline to pass them by, no amount of GM’ing is going to fix the mess Dumars made. We’ll be left with the shitty options of overpaying Monroe to continue to be part of the problem OR losing him for absolutely nothing. And we’ll lose Stuckey for absolutely nothing. Plus no draft pick. Good luck recovering from that with just $10 mil in cap space.

  • Jan 7, 20146:46 pm
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    So Otis, 
    Outside of firing Dumars, what is your solution? 
    You seem fired up enough…what would you do?  I agree with you about adding veteran talent around all of our lottery picks, like Cleveland did…but apparently you didn’t agree with any yog those moves.  

  • Jan 7, 20146:50 pm
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    you guys also need to get a clue about how this will come to an end…there is no way you fire or make a huge deal about Joe’s exit…
    they will either ask him to retire or “promote” him out of his daily responsibility.  
     
    The hostility toward a legend is absurd.  

    • Jan 7, 20147:58 pm
      by xris

      Reply

      Agreed.  Joe D has earned the right to at least leave with his dignity intact even if the last 5+ years have been complete Buffoonery. 
       

  • Jan 7, 20147:18 pm
    by mythx

    Reply

    So what are the odds we can pull off another trade with Cleveland with their win now mode.  Smith and Singler for Bennett,Waiters and Dellavedova.
    For Cleveland a front line of Thompson/Smith/Deng would be pretty damn tough in the east. AV is better suited as a bench player anyway.
    Pistons get outside shooting (Dellavedova) and slashing (waiters). And Bennett gets a new start. At this point the Pistons need to do something and moving smith would be the best choice.
    If it works the Pistons get better and younger.  If not they are in the tank with some trade able young assets. Yea we might end up playing KCP at the 3 but that seems a better match than Smith does at this point.
    Time to give him the Rudy Gay treatment

  • Jan 7, 20147:36 pm
    by mythx

    Reply

    JYD
    Dumars seems only able to repeat the same moves he has made before.  He has shown almost zero improved thinking over the years. He did very well when he managed to get Wallace and Billups in short order.
    But he seems completely incapable of using cap room properly. He tried to replicate his formula with CV and Gordon. And failed miserably. So he tried the same stunt again with Smith and Jennings. And its well on the way to the same result.  Also remember the Prince/Daye mess.  He hit the first time so he drafted what appeared to many to be the same player all over again .  Without seemingly realizing they were very different players in college. 
    And most glaringly he seems incapable of making the right choices when having to choose which of 2 roster players to keep. Stuckey over  Afflalo . Budinger over Summers to a lesser degree. Everyone over Amir Johnson, Carlos Delfino etc etc.  All these players were young on good deals when dealt. And then were replaced not only by inferior players but higher paid ones as well. And right now 3 of those players would add good value to this team.
     
     

  • Jan 8, 20141:59 am
    by microjfox

    Reply

    I bet Deng re-signs with the Bull next year.

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