There has been a ton of speculation on what is the next business move for Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. Recently, Magic sold all of his 4.5% interest in the Los Angeles Lakers to a local doctor. A couple of days later, he sold some of his business investments worth around $100 million. Magic has expressed lately that he would like to own a pro sports franchise and take on an active role with the franchise. The Pistons are up for sale and currently are in a 30 day negotiations period with Red Wings and Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch. Has Ilitch solicit Magic to be part owner? Magic also has let it to be known he is interested in bringing an NFL franchise to Los Angeles – his adopted hometown. So it’s hard to tell if Magic is interested in the Pistons, the NFL, or maybe he is selling off his assets to do some Christmas shopping.
If only Magic could still play as the Pistons still do not have a true starting point guard since the Chauncey Billups trade. Once again, the Pistons will rely on shooting guard Rodney Stuckey to run the point this season. Stuckey is a scorer and playing point the past couple of season has probably hindered his development. When Will Bynum does come off the bench, Stuckey will then be able to slide into the shooting guard slot.
The Pistons will also start three gritty veterans who were part of the 2004 Championship team: Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Ben Wallace. There were tons of speculation this offseason that either Hamilton or Prince would be traded. That of course has not happened, but Prince has value since he is in the last year of his contract. Wallace signed back with the Pistons during the offseason and he will help mentor the Pistons 2010 first round draft pick – F/C Greg Monroe.
The most intriguing storyline during training camp was who would start at the power forward position – Charlie Villanueva or Jonas Jerebko. The competition went down to one when Jerebko was injured during the first game of preseason. Jerebko will be out at least 5 to 6 months with a torn achilles tendon. But Villanueva did not win the starting job as 2009 first round draft pick Austin Daye added muscles and confidence as he was the lone bright star during preseason. His performance landed him the starting role for now. Villanueva and Ben Gordon will both be coming off the bench again this season.
No one is expecting great things from the Pistons this year. Pistons president Joe Dumars still has some work to do with building back a championship team. The Pistons are loaded at the two and three spot, but have shortage of big men. C/F Jason Maxiell and Chris Wilcox are two bigs that will help, but are limited with ability. The goal of the Pistons is to get in the playoffs, but the prize for that effort is facing a #1 superior seed team such as Lebron and the Miami Heat.
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Written by Bob Ballard