Pistons Mailbag - Monday, June 13, 2011 - Page 3
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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Evan (Rochester Hills, Mich.): I read a report that said the Pistons will be interviewing Kelvin Sampson for the head coaching job. Why would he even be a consideration when you look at the unscrupulous actions of his past, combined with the fact he has never been a head coach in the NBA? I think if Joe D wants to keep fans on his side, he really needs to hit a home run with this hire.
Langlois: Sampson started making an impression and generating buzz as a future head coaching candidate almost immediately after landing on Gregg Popovich’s staff late in the 2007-08 season, Evan. His name popped up last summer as a possibility in Cleveland. It’s clear that he will be an NBA head coach soon, if not in time for next season. As for his NCAA transgressions – making phone calls to recruits at times they weren’t allowed – I don’t think that’s going to scare off too many NBA teams. If he wants to call his NBA players at any time of the year, I don’t think that would be discouraged. I’m not making light of his troubles with the NCAA; I just don’t believe, given all the factors that go into picking a man to do a job that very few can do successfully for any length of time, that running afoul of one of the NCAA’s many picayune rules will dissuade teams from hiring Sampson if they believe he measures up in every other area. Also remember this: If Sampson indeed is a legitimate candidate for the job, Joe Dumars will get a full and honest evaluation of Sampson from John Hammond, the Milwaukee GM who previously served as Dumars’ VP with the Pistons.
Kim (Sterling Heights, Mich.): What changes to the CBA do you think the owners must have in order to reach agreement with the players? What changes do the players must have to reach agreement?
Langlois: Billy Hunter, head of the Players Association, has been clear that he would prefer the status quo. The owners have been equally clear that it won’t happen. The NBA maintains, and has provided more supporting financial information than owners in both the NBA and other sports have divulged in the past, that more than two-thirds of its teams are losing money. If that’s the reality, then it’s not likely that a majority of owners are going to approve any plan that doesn’t put more stringent limits on spending. That could take many different forms, including a lower salary cap, a hard cap, elimination or reductions in cap exceptions, etc.
Zach (Southgate, Mich.): What do you think about the Pistons trading their picks at 8 and 33 to Houston for 14 and 23? That would enable the Rockets to take Kawhi Leonard and the Pistons could take Donatas Motiejunas or Jordan Hamilton at 14 without having to reach, then perhaps take Markieff Morris or Kenneth Faried at 23. Any reason why the front offices for either team wouldn’t do this trade?
Langlois: There could be several reasons they wouldn’t, Zach. The motivation for this trade would have to start with Houston landing someone at 8 that wouldn’t be there at 14. If it’s Leonard, the Rockets would have to know he’d still be there at 8. I wouldn’t rule out the Pistons trading down, though, but this doesn’t seem the type of draft that will spur teams to trade into the top 10 unless they fall in love with one specific player and have strong reason to believe he won’t fall to their spot.
Daniel (Austin, Texas): What do you think the timeline is to get a new coach? Will it happen before the draft?
Langlois: I don’t think there’s any correlation between draft day and a coaching hire, Daniel. If Joe Dumars is satisfied that he’s met his guy before June 23, it could happen before the draft. But a new coach isn’t going to have draft input and there won’t be much he can do in June or July to influence next season – especially if July 1 passes without a new CBA in place.
Jens (Cologne, Germany): Biyombo reportedly disappointed in what was a horrible setup for him in Spain, Motiejunas displayed questionable character and Valanciunas could become a repeat of the Rubio drama. I do not like Tristan Thompson because of his lack of strength and size and raw offensive game. The only one still intriguing to me is Biyombo because of his unique physique. So what are the chances of us trading down to pick up good value in the middle or end of the first round?
Langlois: Biyombo showed what teams already knew – he’s not going to be someone who creates any offense for himself other than lobs and put-backs. If teams believe he can have tremendous defensive impact, it still makes sense to take him at some point in this draft over other players who might have less glaring deficiencies but are unlikely to do anything well enough to contribute as much as Biyombo could at just one end. The team that takes Valanciunas either has to be confident his contract situation can be favorably resolved or comfortable with letting him remain in Europe for at least one more season. I think reports that question Thompson’s size and strength are off base. Thompson’s got plenty of size, combined with his athleticism, to defend most NBA power forwards adequately. As for his strength, he’s got a great base – that’s the key.
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