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News » Can Dumars turn around Pistons?

Can Dumars turn around Pistons?

Can Dumars turn around Pistons?
AUBURN HILLS -- Eight years ago, Joe Dumars revamped a sub-.500 Detroit Pistons team into a squad that in just a few years made trips to the Eastern Conference finals or NBA finals an annual tradition.

Talent, luck and timing played a role in how the Pistons went from an NBA chump to an NBA contender so quickly.

For a similar turnaround after this season's 39-43 finish and first-round playoff exit, the Pistons and Dumars, the team's president of Basketball operations, will need to hit a similar trifecta.

"I think Joe D is going to do a great job of getting this team back to playing competitive Basketball," the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James said. "They have some very good players right now. And one thing about Detroit, you never count those guys out."

Who's returning

When you have the kind of season Detroit had, no one should feel too comfortable. It is unlikely, though, Detroit will look to make any deals involving guards Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum.

Despite his ups and downs this past season, the Pistons remain high on Stuckey, whose numbers were better in almost every major statistical category than his fellow second-year guards.

Nobody helped his status with the team more than Bynum. He went from what was expected to be a seldom-used role as a third point guard to arguably the team's best bench scorer, including setting a franchise record for most points scored (26) in the fourth quarter.

As for Richard Hamilton, he signed a three-year extension before the season started, so it is unlikely Detroit will look to unload him.

The same is true for Jason Maxiell, who also signed an extension.

Tayshaun Prince, however, is another story. If the Pistons are looking to make a blockbuster trade akin to the Billups deal last November, chances are it will have to involve Prince and at least another player.

Arron Afflalo expected coming into the season to get steady minutes as Hamilton's backup, but the Allen Iverson trade changed that.

Pistons coach Michael Curry often has said that with steady minutes, Afflalo can be a good contributor. Maybe next season Afflalo will get that opportunity.

Who's out of here

The only player for sure who will not return is Allen Iverson. The more he played with the Pistons, the clearer it became he was not a good fit. Throw in the fact he has lost a step or two, it is best both sides go their separate ways.

Rasheed Wallace will be a free agent, but he is unlikely to return, especially if the Pistons convince fellow free agent Antonio McDyess to come back. Like Iverson, Wallace's game also has taken a step back. Detroit will have to decide whether he can physically give the team enough to make all the technical fouls he picks up worth it.

Walter Herrmann might get some feelers from NBA teams, but he likely will return to play in Europe next season.

Rookie Walter Sharpe needs a strong summer league to convince the Pistons he is mature enough -- as a player and a person -- to stick around. Otherwise, Detroit would be best suited to cut him loose.

Up in the air

Kwame Brown can opt out of his current deal, which pays $4 million for the 2009-2010 season. The only way Brown would do such a thing is if he got enough feelers from teams that a deal with more years was in the waiting if he were a free agent. A two-year, $6 million deal just might be enough to make it happen.

Amir Johnson will be in the last year of a three-year, $11 million deal he signed in 2007. His age (22), athleticism and contract make him an attractive target for many teams, although it appears Detroit will keep him or include him as part of a bigger deal.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 29, 2009


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