Challenges Looming for Detroit Pistons this Offseason

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Challenges Looming for Detroit Pistons this Offseason
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It’s that time of the year once again for the Detroit Pistons.

Another season full of underachieving, disappointment and what-if scenarios has been digested. The NBA Draft is almost here, free agency is set to kick off, and the now annual pressing issues of this team are back.

So, what to do?

Here's the issues the Pistons face as the busy time of the NBA offseason kicks off.


Should the Pistons pursue big name free agents this offseason?

Well, there’s a catch there. With the buildup of 2010 looming, the 2009 free agent period is expected to disappointing. The big names include Carlos Boozer, Ben Gordon and Trevor Ariza—all potential targets for Detroit. But should Joe Dumars pursue these players?

Boozer made $11.5 million in 2009 and opted out of his big-salary deal with Utah. For the Pistons to sign up, they’ll have to cough up a lot of money. For a guy that brings 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, is it worth paying $12 million plus for his services?

The same can be said for Gordon. He would be a nice compliment in Piston blue, as he averaged 20.7 points per game. But Detroit already faced problems with too many shooting guards last year; Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton and Allen Iverson fought for the position.

With the absence of a point guard, do the Pistons need to drop the rumored $11 million Gordon will command and further crowd a congested backcourt?

Ariza would likely be the best fit here. The 23-year-old small forward would be a defensive presence the Pistons have been lacking for some time. He’ll come much cheaper than either Boozer or Gordon, and would allow the team to make a cap space trade—likely shipping Tayshaun Prince out of the Motor City.

The problem with this is that Ariza played on a championship Los Angeles Laker team and does not want to leave Kobe and Co.’s presence.


Is another Allen Iverson-esque trade on the horizon?

Although it meant the tanking of the 2008-09 season, the Allen Iverson was actually a major success. The Pistons acquired an expiring contract and moved an aging Chauncey Billups—and his contract—out of town.

With many players comparable to Iverson hitting free agency next season (Tracy McGrady, anyone?), it is possible Dumars once again packages one or two of his bad contracts out for a “superstar” player ready to test open waters come 2010.


What to do in the draft?


With the 15th pick, the Pistons are smack dab between the end of the high profile talent and the diamond-in-the-rough area in the NBA Draft. If the Pistons are unable to land a solid forward such as Ariza, they might target a Dejuan Blair or a Tyler Hansbrough.

But do they need to draft their true point guard? Ty Lawson does come to mind, but many wonder if his skills will develop in the NBA and question his lack of size.


Is Michael Curry the right man for this job?

This has been a question since day one, and now it has blossomed once again. Is Michael Curry in over his head as head coach? After Flip Saunders was fired, assistant coach and former Piston Curry was put in the front chair, mainly for his player-coach abilities. The former player’s union rep was supposed to relate with characters such as Rasheed Wallace.

But then things changed. Billups, the overwhelming leader, was shipped off. Iverson, a well known locker room cancer, was brought in. For the first time in his career he complained about an injury, blew up about the lack of playing time and was eventually shut down by the Pistons.

Curry had a terrible season, but played the cards he was dealt and still got the team into the playoffs.

But does he deserve another year? Although Billups was gone, the core of the team remained, one that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008. How much blame could be put on Curry?

Former Piston Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer recently resigned as head coach of the Detroit Shock. Clearly the greatest coach in the WNBA’s short history, Lamb decided it was time to chase after his dream job: an NBA head coach.

Is Lamb better suited as the head man in the Palace? He has a commanding presence, does not put up with player’s nonsense and knows what he wants. He won two championships with Dumars as well.

The problem here is that Laimbeer’s hard pressed attitude may alienate players. Lamb chased former UConn and Shock star Swin Cash out of town, and it is rumored that other players did not enjoy his presence, either. Could this hurt his chances at a gig with the men?

The lack of experience is also an issue. Lamb has never coached in the NBA and likely wouldn’t take an assistant’s job. Although Curry had never been a head coach previous to this job, either, it looks like he is here to stay for at least one more season.


Should the Pistons bring Rasheed Wallace back?

This is a very unlikely scenario. Wallace wore out his welcome in 2009, proving that, although a great basketball talent, can not control is emotions or listen to any coach. But with the lack of free agents available and the thought of ‘Sheed at a less expensive price, does it make sense to bring him back for one more year?

No, probably not. But with a team that will fail to contend in 2009, it is one option to consider.


Is 2010 on the mind?

The summer of 2010 has been on people’s minds for two years now. Should the Pistons be thinking about it already? The team might have to rebuild, and this would be the perfect way to start. With the cap room Detroit will have, the have the ability to be a dominant player in one of the greatest free agent periods of all time. Which may lead to…


A Tank in 2009-10?

Many teams use bad seasons as a “transition” or “rebuilding” year. Another struggling season will bring about those comments again in 2009. But should the Pistons just give up already and look towards 2010?

The Pistons could hold on to their cap space, draft wisely, look to dump another big contract, and return to the top echelon of the Eastern Conference come 2010-11. But with a team that’s had as much success as this one, will fans accept it? One year was bad enough, but two years might be costly.

This is probably the best option for the future. With Dumars speaks, he is constantly talking about what is best for the future and long team picture of this franchise. But many might hold the GM on a short leash. Loyal owner Bill Davidson has passed away, and it is unknown if hid successors will be as patient. Which leads to…


Is Joe D’s job really safe?

Dumars has made plenty of phenomenal moves.

He’s made his fair share of terrible ones as well.

Can Dumars function in his current state and survive as a GM? On the other hand, signing Boozer or Gordon made not be the answer, which might cost Dumars his job. It’s a stretch, but a possible option for a guy who has sat at the top and watched his team underachieve every year since the 2004 championship.

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