With the NBA Draft next week and free agency beginning in 12 days this is a pivotal off-season for the Detroit Pistons and Joe Dumars. Dumars will always be known for winning two championships as a player and one as a GM so it’s hard for true Pistons fans to hate him but we are starting to get tired of constantly picking in the lottery. The Pistons are in prime position to quickly become a contending team again, with a core group of young talent, the 8th pick in the draft and roughly $20 million in cap space this off-season. But it’ll be up to Joe D not to mess it up. I understand that Detroit isn’t the ideal place to draw free agents. Cold winters, a struggling economy and an arena while one of the nicest in the NBA, not located near downtown aren’t exactly what free agents are looking for when searching for a new place to call home. But the Pistons do have a rich history of success and an owner that says he’s willing to spend the money to turn this franchise around, even though we are yet to see it. So if I were Joe Dumars this is exactly what I would do:
*Draft CJ McCollum with the #8 pick. This kid has Steph Curry written all over him. Small school guy who averaged over 20 ppg during his four years of college and shot 51.6% from behind the 3-point line his senior year. Yes there are some players who actually go to school for four years and because of this McCollum would be able to jump right into the Pistons rotation and make an instant contribution.
*Find a way to trade Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey has one year left on his deal for $8.5 million and some team looking to clear cap space for 2014 would be willing to take him on. I don’t care who the Pistons get in return as long as it won’t mess up their cap situation. Best case situation for Detroit, a team like Oklahoma City gives up one of their numerous future first round picks for Stuckey to replace Kevin Martin who will be a free agent on July 1.
*Amnesty Charlie Villanueva. Charlie V still has the ability to be a solid bench guy who can stretch the floor and make a clutch three pointer here and there. But he can’t rebound or play D to save his life. Trading Stuckey for a pick and getting rid of Villanueva would create another $17 million in cap space for the Pistons to sign two big name free agents.
*Offer Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith each five-year $70 million contracts. The first three parts of my off-season plan are possible. Signing both of these guys is a longshot, but not impossible. I also know that is a lot of money to pay both players but this is Detroit and you have to over pay to get free agents to come here. However, both Stuckey and Villanueva would have to be off the books to make it happen. Iguodala had some of his best years in Philly while playing with Pistons new head coach Mo Cheeks. Ethan Grant of Bleacher Report recently wrote that he feels Iguodala’s best landing spot would be with the Pistons. He is an elite defender who can still average 15 points per game. Smith is arguable one of the best defenders in basketball and is always among the league leaders in rebounds, steals and blocks.
If Joe D can make this all happen check out this starting five:
The bench would still need some work but that starting five could easily compete with the best the Eastern Conference has to offer. But if Joe D can’t get Iguodala and/or Smith I really hope he doesn’t waste his second opportunity with tons of cap space like the way he did in 2009 when he signed Ben Gordon and Charlie-V to outrageous deals. With next year’s draft class potentially being just as good as 2003, I will have no problem holding out one more year and “tanking” the 2013-2014 season and hopefully having another off-season of picking high in the lotto and having even more cap space. Hopefully getting a little lucky and getting a ping pong ball to fall in our direction and receiving a top three pick and selecting either Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, one of the Harrison Twins, Marcus Smart, James Young…you see my point. Next year’s class will be SICK. Or we can just hope that LeBron James does opt out of his contract with Miami next year and Joe D can pitch him on why Detroit is the place to be. Hey a guy can dream can’t he!