Detroit Pistons agree deals to bring Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to Mo-Town

July 2, 2009

gordonby Jack Maidment

5 years. $55 million. Ben Gordon is now a Detroit Piston.

5 years. $35 million. Charlie Villanueva is also now a Detroit Piston.

1 day has passed and Joe Dumars, the Piston’s GM, has already completed his major shopping for the off season.

The one team who had money to spend has committed to two big contracts almost immediately, leaving every other free agent looking at where the next big pay day is going to come from, if it comes at all.

The contract which Ben Gordon is believed to be signing guarantees him at least $5 million more than the deal that the Chicago Bulls left on the table for him to reject.

Meanwhile Charlie V was the definition of a free agent after effectively being disowned by the Milwaukee Bucks only a few days ago. He has moved fast and fooled the many people who believed he would be heading to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Pistons have successfully added two very good players to their roster, two players who will help them compete right away next year.

The move does suggest that the Pistons didn’t fancy waiting until next year to try and lure a top level superstar to Mo-Town. Perhaps they concluded that their pulling power was not sufficient and so decided to re-tool rather than deconstruct and rebuild.

It remains to be seen where this all leaves Rip Hamilton. Gordon is never running the point and he surely hasn’t moved to Detroit to come off the bench. His issues of respect were supposedly why he wanted to leave the Bulls.

It would appear that either Tayshaun Prince, but more likely Rip, will be moved elsewhere in exchange for a center to pair with Charlie Villanueva. Tyson Chandler’s name is likely to be thrown around given New Orleans’ willingness to ship him mid season to Oklahoma City.


Detroit Pistons Reject Boston Celtic’s Trade Advances

June 23, 2009

rip and princeby Jack Maidment

How many times have you tried talking to someone for them to apparently not hear you at all? And when they do acknowledge your attempt at communication, all you are greeted with is a look of annoyance that you have disturbed their peace.

NBA General Managers must be familiar with both sides of this ‘conversation’ given the amount of talk, especially in the off season, that takes place regarding the switching of player personnel.

There are those that love to talk, those who love to listen and those who do a little bit of both.

According to Yahoo Sports one man who has been doing a lot of listening this week is the Detroit Piston’s GM, Joe Dumars, with the Boston Celtics at the other end doing all of the talking.

The story is being told that neither franchise’s GM was involved in discussions, but that initial talks had taken place between lower level executives.

The Celtics were looking to trade Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen for Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey.

To say that these team’s ‘discussed’ a trade appears to be slightly hyperbolic given the simplicity of Detroit’s response: no.

The trade appears to be more wishful thinking than realism on the part of Boston. Such a deal is clearly built around the value of Allen’s $20 million expiring contract which would leave his team big time cap room heading into 2010.

The Piston’s however are more keen to rebound quickly, playing with the salary space that Allen Iverson’s departure has created.

With the desire for cap space eliminated, the trade, talent wise, just doesn’t make sense for Detroit.

Ray Allen is clearly in the autumn of his career, a very good player but for how much longer? In contrast, Rip Hamilton is realtively sprightly with many years of production ahead of him.

The same can be said for Prince who was no doubt desired by the Celtics for his ability to defend the lengthy 3s and 4s that will stand in between Boston and a return to the Finals.

Boston is apparently reluctant to re-sign Rondo to the long term and large contract that he will soon command. Stuckey appears to be the cheaper alternative.

The trade would almost certainly reinvigorate the Celtic’s, but given the fact that it makes next to no sense for Detroit, this simply ain’t gonna happen.

NBA Trade Rumor: Ben Gordon to Detroit Pistons

June 17, 2009

Gordon for Rip? No thank you.

by Jack Maidment

The term combo guard can mean a few things, but normally it describes a player who prefers to score the ball but is too small to play the shooting guard position exclusively.

If ever there was an example of a two guard in a point guard’s body, it is Ben Gordon.

The Chicago Bulls’ player who terrorised the Boston Celtics in round one of this year’s playoffs, seemingly ‘playing horse with god’, is one of the most high profile players available through free agency this summer.

The difficulty lies in how much money a team is willing to commit to a player generously listed at 6-1 who doesn’t like to pass and is a defensive liability: he may score 25 a game but he will likely gift the opposition the same in return.

There is little doubt that Gordon’s offensive capabilities will prove attractive enough for a number of team’s to offer him big time money. It is with some surprise that the Detroit Pistons are being strongly associated with a move for the guard.

Detroit, who have placed the future of their team in the hands of Rodney Stuckey, are far from the perfect fit for Gordon in their current state.

The main problem would come in the form of Rip Hamilton: it is difficult to see how Gordon and Rip would play together which leads to the strong possibility of Hamilton leaving Mo-Town, completing the destruction of the Championship team of just a few years ago.

The fact that Rasheed Wallace looks to be walking, Detroit has some big decisions to make. Is Ben Gordon the player to lead the Piston’s rebuilding?


NBA Trade Rumors: David Lee to Detroit Pistons, Ron Artest to Greece

June 8, 2009

DavidLee_300_061220by Jack Maidment

Ah, the Knicks.

If Boston and LA is where Championships happen, and Cleveland is where becoming a witness happens, then New York is surely where confusure happens.

Nothing is beyond the realm of sanity for the New York Knicks. Nothing too silly to actually happen.

With this in mind it is with little surprise that David Lee is rumoured to be on the next flight to Detroit.

Their best player of the current season looks likely to vacate the Big Apple in a management bid to lower economic commitments.

Cash First, Talent Second? Maybe for next season, but every penny may count when NYC try and lure LeBron to the Big Apple in 2010.

The trade makes sense for the Detroit Pistons who have a distinct need to bolster their front court with the almost certain departure of Rasheed Wallace and in all likelihood Antonio McDyess too.

Even if ’Dyess stays, the Pistons need some youthful, talented big men to plug the holes and who better than the double-double machine Lee?

The 15th pick in this year’s draft coupled with Amir Johnson could be enough to steal him away.

The Knick’s bid to cut their League high payroll does not stop there, with the grapevine suggesting that they are interested in Orlando’s reserve center Marcin Gortat.

Gortat has impressed on his outings as Dwight Howard’s understudy with the Magic apparently conceding that they will be unable to hold on to him if a team comes in offering starter money.

The Knicks are alleged to be eyeing the 7 footer as the recipient of their $5 mid-level exception.

If New York are the acid trip of the League then Ron Artest is arguably the player’s equivalent.

This year’s free agent is rumoured to be commanding admirers from afar with Greek powerhouses Olympiakos and Panithinaikos rumoured to be legitimate contenders for his signature.

His services will undoubtedly be in demand around the NBA. It remains to be seen whose money will talk louder.

NBA Playoffs: No Time For Fishing

May 2, 2009
$100 Million?
$100 Million?

6 are gone.

 The Utah Jazz, New Orleans Hornets, Portland Trailblazers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs have all gone fishing, time on their hands.

 Utah has vowed to improve defensively after falling to the Lakers. Again. The fact that Carlos Boozer is seeking out a $100 million deal probably puts team defense fairly low on team priorities.

 The Jazz need to re-sign Mehmet Okur and Paul Milsap, so the possibility of matching a big time deal for the Booze must be scaring the GM up in Salt Lake something fierce.

 The current economic climate and the allure of the free agent market for the next two years makes it difficult to justify such a blockbuster contract for a player who is unlikely to put you over the hump to the Finals.

 Utah are not the only team with decisions to make. If much of the media is to be believed then San Antonio are either officially at the end of their title contender status or very, very close.

 You can’t beat age. You can deceive it for a while, but it will catch you eventually. Charles Barkley rubbished the idea that an early rest will give Tim Duncan the time he needs to repair, and rightly so.

 If their big three can get (relatively) healthy then they have a shot next year. As long as they bring in some, whisper it, youth.

 The Hornets, despite their destruction by a VERY good Denver Nuggets team, cannot be too worried about their immediate future as long as they have Chris Paul and the rest of their guys get healthy.

 The only team with little to worry about are the Portland Trailblazers. Brandon Roy being hailed as the best player that Ron Artest has played against must fill Oregon with confidence that their team has a player who can lead their team to the Promised Land.

 They are pretty much the antithesis of the Spurs. Old versus young. The likes of Rudy Fernandez, Nicolas Batum and Greg Oden (!) are all going to get A LOT better really fast. The Blazers’ future looks pretty enviable.

 Philadelphia are in much the same position as the Jazz with one of their main guys looking around for a new, and big, contract. The loss of Andre Miller to the Sixers would be a huge loss for a team who are light on leadership.

 However, no team that has just exited the Playoffs has more to think about than the once great Detroit Pistons.

 Allen Iverson’s contract is off the books leaving the Pistons with some maneuvering room. The question is when does Joe Dumars decide to pull the trigger: he could go after Boozer or whoever else this summer or he could tread water for a year and wait to make an assault on the fabled free agent class of 2010.

 The one major plus for the Pistons is that players do want to play in Detroit. It’s not like the Memphis Grizzlies who could offer LeBron and co all the money in the world yet would still receive a big fat no in reply.

 Detroit must also decide whether or not to re-sign Mr Technical Rasheed Wallace. As brilliant as he is combustible, and expensive to boot.

 Wholesale changes could be the order of the day in Mo-Town as the team is broken down and rebuilt: will Tayshaun or Rip still be there next year? Or will they be traded for the All Star that the Pistons crave?

 The exit from the Playoffs means that these teams have lots of time on their hands to think.

 The four teams that have game 7s to look forward to will be praying that they are able to put off the inevitable change process by proceeding to the Conference Semi Finals.

NBA Playoffs 2009 Momentum: Just Don’t Lose.

April 12, 2009
Just Don't Lose.

Just Don't Lose.

With the playoffs 2009 just days away some teams are doing a better job than others in creating that all important momentum which is crucial to post season and more immediately, first round success. Regardless of how loaded a roster is on paper, very few, if any, teams in the NBA have the ability to turn match winning form on and off.


The Detroit Pistons are the most famous example of recent history, a team that believed it could shift momentum when it really mattered. To a certain extent their self belief was well founded: the Pistons having been a fixture in at least the Eastern Conference Finals during the period that their core of players has been together despite the fact that going into the playoffs they were far from on fire. When round one begun the Pistons were ready. Mostly any how.


So who in 2009 is ready for the post season and who is praying that they can flick the win switch in a week’s time. The teams occupying the 16 NBA playoff seeds in the East and West can be easily split into 4 groups according to how they are playing as the Big Dance approaches.


Firstly, there are the winners. Teams that have managed to find form at just the right moment. In the West, Houston and Portland are both on the back of 4 game winning streaks while the Dallas Mavericks go into this afternoon’s game against New Orleans with 3 straight victories.


Meanwhile, the hottest team in the League is out East with Boston winning 6 straight heading into today’s heavy weight showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers. There are 3 other teams in the East streaking going into the playoffs: Chicago have 4 in a row while Cleveland and Atlanta both have 3.


Then, there are the losers. These teams are doing exactly what their coaches do not want them to. The worst of the bunch are the Philadelphia 76ers who have lost 4 straight, not only killing team momentum, but also, and crucially, slipping down the seedings in the East. The Western equivalent is the Utah Jazz who are marginally better than the Sixers having lost ‘only’ 3 in a row. Both of these teams face an uphill struggle to turn around their fortunes before round 1 starts.


The last two groups contain the teams that know that their season could sway one of two ways. Some of them lost their last game and are wishing that one loss does not become two. The others are on the back of 1 victory with high hopes of putting together a nice winning streak. Both groups of teams are all too aware that one victory, or loss could be enough to propel them into the first round as either hopefuls or down-and-outs.


A few of these teams, the Lakers and the Nuggets, will take confidence from their season records and will believe that they can stop the losing habit after only 1, getting back on track quickly and without crisis. Others, like Miami and New Orleans will be worried that one or two losses do not transform into a devastating streak.


The Big Mo is integral to playoff success. But it is a strange beast, unpredictable as it is useful. A win streak going into the first round can easily be crushed by freakish events in game one. For example, Miami might be losing right now, but with Dwayne Wade in the line up anything could happen regardless of streaks. A 50 point outburst could just be enough to sink a team that had previously been winning for fun.


Just ask Detroit. No team more than the Pistons know the importance of having more than momentum on your side. It sure does help for confidence and team chemistry, but it will not win games for you. One championship to show for numerous years as contenders is enough to illustrate that.


Who will Momentum smile upon this playoffs?

Cleveland Cavaliers Roll On: Detroit Pistons Lose But Message Is Clear To NBA’s Playoff Contenders

April 1, 2009
Down But Dangerous

Down But Dangerous

Last night the Cleveland Cavalier home court war machine kept rolling, despite the efforts of a hungry and determined Detroit Pistons. The game was tied going into the last quarter in a truly low scoring and gritty playoff type atmosphere. LeBron had been relatively quiet all night by his imperious standards and when the Pistons went up in the 4th it looked like Detroit’s veteran leadership might drive them toward a famous and confidence boosting victory.


The eyes of all in the Quickens Loan Arena fell on King James expecting as they have done for the entire season that their MVP would drag his Cavs back into the game and eventually over the winning line. To a certain extent this was the reality. LeBron upped his production in the 4th and started demanding the ball. Yet the real difference maker for the Cavaliers was Anderson Varejao. The Brazilian exhibited his true worth to the team with numerous high energy, hustle plays which kept his team alive. When the Cavs needed them the Brazilian grabbed huge offensive rebounds down the stretch.  


The Brazilian took an elbow to the face earlier in the game and such physicality was characteristic of the whole night. These two teams plain do not like each other as illustrated by Delonte West who banged with Rip Hamilton all game long, most notably grabbing Rip in the often court after being stripped and subsequently throwing the Pistons’ shooting guard to the ground. Flagrant.


Guess who got served with his 16th technical, enough to get a one game ban. Rasheed Wallace was back and doing what he does, coming off the bench with A.I. which actually looked pretty nice when The Answer passed the ball. Wallace was hitting threes off the pick and pop, 3 in a row, but the Pistons and particularly Iverson stopped going to Sheed later in the game. It sure is nice to see Wallace getting his argue on. Especially when its about 10 minutes after the call. Entertaining but not too helpful in a tight game, right.


For the penultimate 2 Cavalier possessions in the 4th the Pistons had Rip go one on one with LeBron, and it was not even fair. Dude got blown by and scored on. The final possession, when the game was almost out of reach and Varejao had done his magic, Tayshaun got the assignment instead and made LBJ take the toughest shot possible which he missed. Just does not make sense. In Prince you have a lock down player and in LeBron you are faced with probably the best closer in the game. Put Tayshaun on LBJ!


So the Cavs win, again, on a night when L.A. lose to the Bobcats improving their case for home court in the Finals massively. As for the Pistons, A.I. starting or coming off the bench just does not work. Simple. In fact, it got pretty ugly for a few minutes in his first stint off the B when he was forcing his shot and the team ethos got thrown out. But, they did run Cleveland close, highlighting that Detroit are to be avoided come play off time. They are too dangerous and experienced to meet in the first round.


The Pistons are to be avoided at all costs.