Day 1 Wrap

Frank runs brisk practice; Joe D addresses Rip’s buyout

Re-signing Tayshaun Prince was Joe D's first step toward solidifying the Pistons' roster.
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The Pistons just wrapped up their first training camp practice and here are the highlights of the post-practice buzz from Joe Dumars, Lawrence Frank and a number of players:

Tayshaun Prince sat on the sidelines, but it was strictly because of formalizing the contract signing. Prince is back in the fold. The Pistons will practice once tomorrow and, according to the new CBA, can begin two-a-days on Sunday. Frank said he expects to do so, but will monitor the conditioning level.

Joe D said there is a verbal agreement to buy out Rip Hamilton, as was reported earlier in the day, but he couldn’t speak to the details because they haven’t signed off on the deal yet. So he couldn’t divulge why a buyout instead of the amnesty provision allowed by the new CBA. The likely answer, though, is that a buyout means Hamilton didn’t get the full value of the remaining two years on his contract. The amount of the buyout, under the rules of the old CBA, at least, would be divided over the two years left on his contract for cap purposes.

Dumars said the Pistons will have “a mid-level exception – there are three (different ones) now” at their disposal and he held that out as one possible, perhaps likely, avenue to add another veteran big man to the frontcourt.

With Hamilton removed from the equation, the door is ajar for No. 1 pick Brandon Knight to crack the rotation. Joe D said “sometimes that’s the best thing for a young player, to get thrown into the water.” I watched Knight shoot after practice and one thing is immediately clear: He has an effortless NBA 3-point stroke.

Dumars said he would resume negotiations with Leon Rose, agent for restricted free agent Rodney Stuckey, late Friday night. He said there is “always the possibility” that another team would throw a large offer sheet at Stuckey, but he displayed little alarm that negotiations would grow acrimonious. “It’s Stuck’s first negotiation,” he repeated a few times, shrugging his shoulders.

Jonas Jerebko said he felt “great” and seemed genuinely thrilled to be sweat-soaked and back on the basketball court. The players I talked to – Jerebko, Greg Monroe and Ben Wallace among them – all spoke highly of the command and efficiency with which Frank conducted the practice. So did Joe D. “He’s a coach, man – three hours, never stopped – but it’s what I expected.”

Frank began and ended the practice with a focus on defense, but said it was about a 50-50 split for the day and that usually it would lean more to a 60-40 defensive split. He expects the defense to be ahead of the offense in the early going.

More tomorrow and through the weekend on