Joe D: ‘Going to Keep Changing’

Veteran big man could be next target for Pistons

Joe Dumars still has moves to make to facilitate the Pistons' transition to a younger core.
Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images
When Joe Dumars has found time between negotiating Rip Hamilton’s buyout and Rodney Stuckey’s next contract and getting his rookies into camp and dotting the final I on Tayshaun Prince’s deal – and in the course of laying the groundwork for the next series of moves – he’s engaged himself in conversations with his peers around the NBA.

And they’ve all had the same reaction to the frenzied pace that began last Monday, when they could at last begin conversations with player agents: Wow. Crazy.

“Every GM I talk to right now, everybody’s talking about just trying to get our guys signed,” Dumars said, “worried a little about restricted free agency – is somebody going to make a big offer? I talked to one guy, he said, ‘There’s usually a rhythm to it. You take care of your guys first. You look at other free agents, then you look at the minimum guys. You have time to do that (in other years). Now you’re trying to compact it in and do everything at the same time. It’s a lot of work right now.”

When somebody asked if Dumars could appreciate fans being restless at the thought of the bulk of the roster from last season returning, after Prince’s re-signing, he smiled and reminded everyone that he’d been back in business for mere days and pointed out the number of young players who factor heavily into the mix.

“Even when you are a building a young nucleus, you’ve got to have the right veteran to help those guys take that step,” he said. “I felt like we had the right veteran here already. We feel like he’s the type of guy that will lead the right way under the right circumstances. Move on doesn’t mean just throw the baby out with the bath water.

“We’ve just opened up. I don’t know how much you expect to get done in three days. We’re still working and we’re going to be here working for a while. We’re going to keep changing. We’re going to keep turning it over.”

  • When I asked Joe D if his wish was to add another big man to the mix on a veteran’s minimum contract, he said, “Absolutely, or even more, according to how this other situation goes, money wise,” a possible reference to the amount of money the Pistons will clear via the buyout of Rip Hamilton. “You will see in a few days what I’m talking about.”

  • The new CBA was distributed to teams late Thursday and Dumars said he and his staff were in the office until 3 or 4 that morning poring over it. He said the Pistons will have one of the three different mid-level exceptions available to them and indicated that it could be used to address the frontcourt.
  • According to Lawrence Frank, the CBA allows for six days of twice-daily practices starting Sunday until the start of the regular season. Frank anticipates running two sessions on Sunday.

  • The Pistons signed Damien Wilkins, 31, who played 52 games with Atlanta a year ago.

    We’ll have more following Saturday’s practice on and make sure to follow our training camp updates with the #pistonscamp hashtag.