Heading for the Auburn Hills
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NOT MILWAUKEE, Feb. 22, 2007 -- No Pau Gasol to Chicago. No Jason Kidd to Cleveland (or L.A. Lakers). No Mike Bibby to Cleveland. Possibly no Dwyane Wade for six weeks (or the rest of the season as Frank Isola said on NBA TV). No Kevin Garnett to Milwaukee (see below).

So, you know what this means: Ladies and gentlemen, introducing YOUR 2007 Eastern Conference Champion, the Deeeeeeeeeetroit Pistons!

I know that's quite the sturdy limb upon which I'm jumping right now, but let's face it: the Eastern Conference is the Pistons' to lose. You know it. I know it. And now, after only three minor deals (sorry, Juan and Fred) filtered through on Trade Deadline day, I think the rest of the East knows it. CI will probably be in Auburn Hills, Mich. for Games 3 and 4 (and Game 5, if necessary) of the 2007 Finals.

(We're assuming, of course, the Pistons can't make up the 10-game difference separating them from the Mavs in the standings or the seven-game lead Phoenix has on Detroit to snare homecourt advantage throughout the Playoffs. Eh, but anything can happen, right?)

Why? Because Detroit made its move on Jan. 16 when they signed Chris Webber. Since then, the Pistons have gone 12-4 and have forged the best record in the East at 34-19. GM Joe Dumars told the Detroit News before the trade deadline that even with all the trade rumors swirling, he didn't expect to make a move.

He didn't, and neither did anyone else. So, the Pistons, who were the East's top team before Feb. 22, remain the East's top team. Throw in Wade's potentially season-ending shoulder injury and the Pistons have a clear path to their third Finals in four seasons.

Do you think the Cavs can make it deep into June with their backcourt situation? Or LeBron James lacking, what looks to me, any passion? Can the Bulls get to the Finals without any semblance of an offensive post presence and young core of perimeter players? How about the Pacers? Have you seen them play a stretch of games which leads you to believe that they're ready for a deep playoffs run? Or can you see the Wizards getting past the Pistons? Or the Raptors?

Let me put it this way: no, no, no, no, no, no, no and hell no. Even Pistons.com blogger Keith Langlois can smell blood after nothing happened today.

And please, write to me Cavs fans, Bulls fans, Wizards fans, Raptors fans and Pacers fans and try to convince me otherwise. (I apologize for not including my core readership, Bucks fans. But ... ah, let's not talk about it, OK?)

Anyway, as the Western Conference Playoffs shape up to be a dog fight, the East looks as if it could be a cakewalk for Detroit. Right now, I'm looking to see if I can catch a Tigers game on one of the Finals' off nights.

And perchance, who'll be visiting downtown Detroit on those evenings? My 2007 NL Central Champion Milwaukee Brewers.

Sweet. I'm looking forward to going to Detroit already.

I'M NOT AN NBA GM, BUT I PLAY ONE ONLINE

Then, again, I'm not the only one. Speculating about who was supposed to go where by the Thursday, 3 p.m. ET trade deadline is a cottage industry, in print and online. Inches and inches of column space and millions of bytes were dedicated to reporting, rumors and innuendo.

All of which ended up biting everyone in the innuendo. Save for Anthony Johnson going to Atlanta for a second round pick, Fred Jones going from Toronto to Portland for Juan Dixon and Alan Hnderson going to Utah, we had not one potential season-changing exchange of personnel on Thursday.

And I'll admit, I dabbled a bit as an NBA GM on Wednesday to see if I could come up with an excellent deal to improve my beleaguered Bucks, who have lost six straight, including a 2OT heartbreaker on Wednesday in Indiana.

Being an online GM is easy. All it takes is a little imagination, a dash of fantasy and no sense of reality to become one. In fact, sites cater to the GM in all of us. RealGM.com has had TradeCheckerTM for years now and ESPN.com followed last year with the Trade Machine.

(What I'd really like is a time machine. I'd love to be able to go back into the Bucks locker room on June 24, 1998 and slap the phone out of then Bucks GM Bob Weinhaur's hand and scream into the mouthpiece with John Malkovich-like "In the Line of Fire" intensity: "Forget it, Nellie! We're keeping Dirk!" Can the guys at RealGM.com or ESPN.com get on that? Thanks in advance.)

Let's say for a moment, that I'm faux-GM of the Milwaukee Bucks and I've the wind at my back, cap space to burn this offseason and a 19-36 team that more than likely won't be in the postseason for the second time in three years. I have two trade checker/machines at my disposal. The online trade world is my oyster. Michael Redd, of course, stays in red and green. Everyone else on the roster can be had.

OK, here goes. I've always wanted to see Kevin Garnett in a Bucks uniform. For one, I think he'd look snazzy in the new forest green. Two, he could really help the Bucks be a deep playoff team in the East. Oh yeah, that. And why wouldn't KG want to come to Milwaukee? It's warmer (slightly) and closer to Chicago, where he went to high school. We don't have Jimmy Jam on the sidelines or Prince down the street in Paisley Park, but sometimes you need to make concessions.

Let's see, who can the Bucks give up to get Kevin Garnett? I say, let's give up Brian Skinner, Ruben Patterson, Bobby Simmons and Andrew Bogut. You'd do that in a heartbeat, right? And if you fire up the Trade Machine on ESPN.com and RealGM.com's TradeCheckerTM, it would fly.

SUCCESSFUL SCENARIO
"Due to Milwaukee and Minnesota being over the cap, the 25% trade rule is invoked. Milwaukee and Minnesota had to be no more than 125% plus $100,000 of the salary given out for the trade to be accepted, which did happen here. This trade satisfies the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement."

You can try it yourself by placing this number (3712460) in to the TradeChecker. As a matter of fact, you can include two more teams. Why keep the fun to just two?

See, anyone can play GM. Sadly, with the deadline passed, we have roughly another three months 'til the trade speculation begins again around the NBA Draft. In the meantime, I'll put the checkers and the machines on the backburner and start scouting some of the youngsters in college.

Couldn't hurt, right?

Thoughts? Complaints? E-mail us. We'll try to work the mail in next week. Also, you can listen to Rob Peterson on NBA Radio, Sirius 127 every Monday at 7:30 a.m. ET, and every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.