Pistons Mailbag - Monday, March 7, 2011 - Page 2
Pistons.com editor Keith Langlois answers your questions about the Pistons and NBA. Click here to submit your questions - please include your name, email address and city/state on the form. Return to the Mailbag homepage.
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Michael (Lake Orion, Mich.): Thinking back on LeBron’s decision last summer, I’m seriously wondering how he didn’t decide on Chicago. I know teaming with Wade and Bosh on paper is amazing, but Chicago would have been a much better choice. LeBron, Rose and Boozer would have been a big three, then you had supporting role players who play great defense when needed.
Langlois: If LeBron had chosen Chicago, I wonder if the Bulls would have pursued Boozer or had the wherewithal to pursue him. I think Noah is a bigger piece of the puzzle in Chicago than Boozer, so I’d say the big three there really would have been LeBron, Rose and Noah. With Rose and LeBron, I think Chicago would have been happy with Noah and Taj Gibson as the starters at the two power positions and allocated what was left of their resources elsewhere. They might have tried even harder to move Luol Deng, since LeBron would have assumed his position and made it difficult to find enough time for Deng to justify his big contract. It’s too early to say LeBron and Wade can’t work as a 1-2 combo, but the struggles Miami has had against quality competition this season certainly validate the initial concerns commonly expressed – would two guys who essentially play the same style and need the ball in their hands early and often to be effective find enough opportunities to simultaneously thrive? I don’t suspect we’ll go into the playoffs with any greater idea of their viability than we have today. Maybe the playoffs will draw out the best in them. If it doesn’t, I wouldn’t be stunned if the Heat dangle Wade in the trade market this summer.
Drew (Harper Woods, Mich.): What if the trade of Rip to Cleveland had been completed? Would that have given the Pistons cap relief? How?
Langlois: If the trade had been completed as reported – Rip and a protected No. 1 pick to Cleveland for a future No. 2 pick – then the Pistons would have gone into the summer under the salary cap. How much we don’t know. It all depends on what the new collective bargaining agreement yields. The Pistons also would have received a trade exception equal to Hamilton’s salary slot, about $12.5 million, that would have allowed them one year to make a similar trade – taking back a player making that much without having to send away a similar amount in salary.
James (Seattle): Can you give us an update on Jonas Jerebko? We’re starting to get to that time where the original timetable said he might be returning. How is he looking? And what’s the deal with Terrico White? Shouldn’t he have been back by now?
Langlois: When Jerebko partially tore his right Achilles, the original estimate was five to six months. It’s been just about five months now, and while Jerebko’s surgery and rehab went and are going well, he still needs to build additional strength in the muscles around the injured area. Particularly because of the way Jerebko plays and what makes him effective – the running, jumping, cutting and diving to the floor – the Pistons aren’t going to clear him for a return until that leg is 100 percent able to support his breakneck pace. For the record, the Pistons have not and will not issue a timetable for his return. I would not be surprised if we don’t see him in a game this season, but the good news is that he will be 100 percent good to go next season. As for White, I talked to him last week. He said he never imagined his return would be delayed this much. He was cleared for full activity in drills – not practice – about a month ago, but has since experienced foot pain that has prevented him from returning to practice. He also said he needs to rebuild more leg strength, in both the upper and lower leg, but he hoped to be ready to play in the D-League within a few weeks.
Jason (Algonac, Mich.): Am I to understand we couldn’t have put together a package more attractive than Gerald Wallace to acquire Joel Przybilla?
Langlois: Let’s be clear about the allure of Przybilla to Charlotte – his expiring contract. Przybilla has already talked about returning to Portland as a free agent over the summer – or retiring. He’s been beset by physical issues the past two seasons. If he decides to play again, it’s likely he will be limited to spot duty as a defensive specialist.
Al (Wolverine Lake, Mich.): You have said the strength of the coming draft is in big men, mostly power forwards. Which one, in your opinion, would be the best fit next to Greg Monroe?
Langlois: I don’t feel sufficiently versed on the crop of big men, especially the Euros, to offer a sound opinion, Al. I know what the scouts are saying. Enes Kanter, Jared Sullinger and Jonas Valanciunas are the three guys who look like back-to-the-basket scoring threats. Donatas Motiejunas and Jan Vesely are more comfortable facing the basket. One guy who intrigues me greatly is North Carolina sophomore John Henson. His lateral movement, wing span and timing add up to a guy who could be a game-changer defensively at some point. He’s only 20 and painfully thin – around 200 pounds – but his career path could approximate that of Joakim Noah’s. Right now, Henson is projected to go around 10th. But that’s assuming all the Euros and college underclassmen pegged for the lottery declare. Even if they do, I think Henson is going to be a guy whose stock goes up once teams get him in their gyms, test him and work him out.
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