The Pistons have cap space. Lots of it. With almost 21 million dollars available for basketball operations, the Pistons are waiting for the right player(s) to use it on. Joe Dumars is a relatively quiet GM, making his moves with shrewd free agent signings, solid draft picks and trades that don’t attract attention. Who knows, with all the open money Dumars has to spend, what he will do. One thing’s for sure, whatever he does will affect Detroit’s big three of Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Here is a look on what the Pistons can do with their copious amounts of cash.
Find a wingman
Drafting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope addressed the Pistons’s big hole at the shooting guard position. The team’s projected lineup includes Brandon Knight starting at point guard alongside Caldwell-Pope, Singler at the three hole and the twin towers of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond manning the front court. Looking at the lineup, the biggest hole in this lineup is at small forward. Yes, they just drafted Tony Mitchell, but he is no game changer. The most appealing option on the market to fill this spot is Andre Iguodala. The Pistons can offer him a decent four or five year contract and possibly entice him to don the red, white and blue. Iggy is an exciting slasher who can pop a long ball in the hoop and is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. The issue is luring him out of the Mile High City, who are strapping themselves up for a championship run. How will Dumars talk Iggy into joining a rebuilding team? The solution remains to be seen, but if Iguodala were to come to the Motor City, the Pistons could become a playoff team.
While Iggy would be a perfect fit for Detroit, other options are out there. Josh Smith is another huge name coming off the book, but Smith is naturally a power forward more than a small forward. While fans can dream of a Smith/Monroe/Drummond trio making the paint a danger zone, there are simply more enticing options for Josh Smith. The two sides have begun talks though. Chandler Parsons is another name that hits the market, but Rockets GM Daryl Morey made it clear there was no way he was going to disassemble the Rocket’s core of Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Parsons and Omer Asik (ironic since Jeremy Lin has been linked to trade rumors that would send him to Detroit). The Pistons can also opt to recover an old draft pick in Chase Budinger, who the Pistons traded away on draft night a couple years ago. He’s a cheaper option, however if the Pistons are serious about making it to the playoffs, they would want a more experienced and talented player.
Add some years to the pine
Does the name Antonio McDyess ring a bell? For those Pistons fans who lived under a rock for the past 10 years, he was Detroit’s premier sixth man during their playoff runs in the early to mid 2000′s. He provided a veteran presence with a consistent game off the bench. The Pistons need to find their Antonio McDyess. There’s no way Rodney Stuckey becomes that guy for Detroit due to his erratic stat line. For all the hometown fans stuck in 2004, the first name that comes to mind is Chauncey Billups. Let’s be honest, it would be great to see him return to Motown and becoming that veteran presence off the bench. I think he would be a great fit given the guard floodgates being opened in Detroit with Stuckey, Jose Calderon and Will Bynum hitting the market. Who else but Mr. Big Shot to rejuvenate D-town back into the playoff hunt.
Detroit could be in the market for a backup big man to help relieve Moose and Drummond when they need to take a seat. Among the names that would come to mind include DeJuan Blair, Elton Brand, Al Harrington, Zaza Pachulia and Timofey Mozgov. What all these guys have in common are solid bigs that have proven they can ball, but at the same time come with a cheap price tag. With these guys, the most the Pistons can expect to pay is three million dollars, but these are the type of guys that can provide a spark of their own specialty. Whoever they choose, expect a small signing of one (or more) of these guys to pay dividends during a potential playoff run. Out of all the options here, I like Al Harrington in Motown. He can fill the veteran sixth man role the Pistons need. He also is a big who, last year, proved he can still bang the boards and drop a couple buckets here and then. While his age and injury history can be a concern, let’s not forget these are the same concerns that surrounded McDyess when he signed with Detroit.
This would be the most unpopular option for the Pistons. The fans in Detroit are sick of being bottom dwellers in the NBA and they want to see some playoff action now, but it wouldn’t be such a bad idea for Detroit. The 2014 NBA Draft class is said to be the best since the 2003 draft and Detroit might want to take a crack at that class so making no moves this off-season and having a decent, but not complete, team wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Detroit is way too talented as a team to have a significant shot at the first pick but if they get the pick, they might as well begin stitching Andrew Wiggins jerseys. Wiggins would be a perfect fit in Motown and a great player to fill the hole the Pistons have at small forward. The most realistic option for Detroit in the 2014 class if they were to take the pedal off the accelerator next year is Duke small forward Jabari Parker. Parker is currently the fifth best prospect on the 2014 NBA Mock Draft made by Draft Express. This is another small forward that has franchise changing potential. There aren’t many players that have a complete offensive game as Parker and he can become the face of this franchise.
Given the Pistons received the 8th pick in the draft this year, it’s most likely that Detroit stays at that spot. In that case, I don’t see them passing on another Michigan standout in Glenn Robinson III. This is another guy that is an excellent offensive player and although he may not be a franchise player, he can be an all star if he completely puts his game together. Even the idea of drafting a player like Robinson III should give Detroit a chance to consider keeping quiet during this off-season. Let’s not forget that Detroit’s first round draft pick is supposed to go to Charlotte, but is lottery protected next year. One way or another, I don’t see the Pistons not take advantage of the bright recruiting class provided next year, but not making a move this off-season increases their chances at getting a higher pick in the draft.
This is a very important off-season for Joe Dumars and the fate of not only his team will be determined, but his job. Make the right call and Dumars will get as many cheers as he did after winning a title against the Trail Blazers. Screw this up and Dumars will begin clearing out his office right away. Joe has his work cut out for him and he knows as much as anyone that the Pistons need to start winning games soon. No pressure though. Right?
About the Author
Written by Mark Kim
A student at the University of Missouri-Columbia looking to major in Sports Journalism.