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News » Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2009-05-30

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2009-05-30

Detroit Pistons Getting Inside 2009-05-30
Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations, is on the lookout for major contributors. And he might not wait until the free agent market opens to get one of them.

After the Pistons' worst season in nearly a decade, Dumars wants his team to return to an elite level next season. With salary-cap flexibility and two extra second-round draft picks at his disposal, he's willing to make those major improvements through trades, the draft or free agency.

"I'm not really just looking for another couple complementary players," he said. "I'm talking about impact guys that impact big games, fourth quarters, impact where you can go on these six- or seven-game win streaks, that kind of impact guy. That's the No. 1 priority for me."

The Pistons' most obvious needs are in the frontcourt. They started two aging former All-Stars, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess, both of whom become unrestricted free agents in July. Dumars would like to re-sign McDyess but probably won't pursue Wallace, whose skills and body have shown obvious signs of erosion. The younger group behind them -- Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson, Kwame Brown -- are role players rather than difference-makers.

Allen Iverson's expiring contract gives the Pistons approximately $20 million in salary-cap room, which will facilitate trades as well as allow them to pursue a top-level free agent. In the short term, it led to wild inconsistency and frustration as the Pistons finished with a losing record for the first time since the 2000-01 season and got swept by Cleveland in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"I felt we'd squeezed all we could out of this team," Dumars said. "It's going to be a little tough -- there'll be a little backlash with it -- but the right thing to do is to put this team in a position to reinvent itself and go forward and get the players you need to go forward."

That might mean dealing Tayshaun Prince or Richard Hamilton in a blockbuster. The only starter on the roster who's almost certain to survive Dumars' rebuilding plan is point guard Rodney Stuckey.

"You have to use whatever resources you have to get better," he said.

One possible trading partner is the Los Angeles Clippers, who have some decisions to make regarding their frontcourt after winning the draft lottery. The Pistons might have some interest in center Chris Kaman or even try to move up and grab the draft's top prize, power forward Blake Griffin.

They'd also like to find a high-scoring sixth man. One player they have their eyes on is Chicago's impending free agent guard, Ben Gordon, but new Bulls general manager Gar Forman says that re-signing Gordon is his top priority.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Allen Iverson made a triumphant return to Denver, scoring 23 points, and Tayshaun Prince made the go-ahead shot in the final minute as the Pistons defeated the Nuggets, 93-90. That was the Pistons' eighth victory in nine games and put them 10 games above the .500 mark. Once Richard Hamilton returned from an injury, the headaches with trying to mesh Iverson's and Hamilton's skills resurfaced and the Pistons were 14 games below .500 the rest of the way.

TURNING POINT: November 3, 2008. With the team preparing to play its first road game of the season, Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess are informed in Charlotte, N.C. that they have been traded to Denver. The Billups deal stuns the rest of the Pistons veterans, who feel they're still good enough to compete for championships. Emotionally, they struggle to recover. On the court, they never recover from the loss of Billups' leadership.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 30, 2009


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