The Value of Patience

Joe D: No shortage of bad deals were available

Joe Dumars exercised patience at Thursday's trade deadline.
Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES – The fact the Pistons have taken a U-turn in their season – since a 4-20 start, they’re 12-8 – didn’t influence Joe Dumars one way or the other when it came to his pursuit of trade possibilities. But it did lessen his disappointment when Thursday’s trade deadline came and went with no bites on the lines he’d tossed into the water.

“There was no shortage of opportunities to make deals that would have done absolutely nothing for us,” he said. “We had some criteria internally that we wanted to hit and if it didn’t hit those, than what are you doing a deal for? If it doesn’t help you financially, it’s not helping you right now and it’s hurting your future, now you’re doing a deal just to say you’re doing a deal. … Does it make it easier that the team is playing well? Absolutely.”

Dumars knows the roster still needs augmenting. There will be deals in the months ahead. Some of the groundwork was laid in the dozens of daily conversations he amassed over the last several weeks leading to the deadline. If the Pistons fail to make the playoffs, they can deal with other non-playoff teams as soon as the season ends on April 26.

“When the season ends for us, we’re allowed to start these talks again and can get something done with other teams who are not playing,” he said. “You take notes – you have someone taking notes on every conversation you have – and you go back and revisit that as soon as you can start talking trade again, which in this situation could be in a little over a month.”

A few other notes, quotes and observations, both with the passing of the trade deadline and the progress of the Pistons:

  • As with waiting for the right trade, patience is also required in allowing a player to blossom. Not everybody is a finished product two or three seasons into their NBA careers, especially when there are surrounding circumstances that, it could be reasonably argued, impede development. It’s not a stretch to say Rodney Stuckey’s first four seasons would have tested any young guard’s progress.

    “We always knew the kid was a good player,” Dumars said. “I know this is a bad word in sports, but sometimes it takes patience to let a guy develop. If it doesn’t happen in the first couple of years, the answer isn’t to get rid of him.”

    Joe D said that Rodney Stuckey was eligible to be traded – there was a report by ESPN.com that said he was not eligible to be dealt this season because he signed less than three months before the trade deadline. Not that he was looking to deal him.

  • One of the players thought most likely to be moved at the trade deadline was New Orleans center Chris Kaman. That he didn’t get traded speaks to the ownership situation there – the league is still in charge and must approve all Hornets transactions. The Pistons have long been linked to Kaman, a Michigan native who has in the past expressed interest in playing for his home-state team. He’ll be a free agent this summer. It certainly wasn’t a bad thing for the Pistons that Kaman was not traded. Had he landed with a contender, they would have had the inside track on retaining him.

  • Pretty clear that Dumars believes the Pistons would have avoided their calamitous start had Frank been given the benefit of normalcy instead of the lockout-induced separation from his team throughout the off-season.

    “What it really does confirm and show everybody is how important Summer League is, how important training camp and preseason are, and not having that with a young team and a new coach, it was like the first 24 games represented that. Unfortunately, they were 24 games that counted.”

  • On Austin Daye: “Austin just hasn’t had the opportunity Stuckey has, but once again, this is not a guy you just give away. You see some skill sets in him. You see that he needs to get stronger. You see his body. If he can get his legs under him and get stronger, this kid can play. So you don’t give up on him right away. You try to get him to eat, try to get him to get stronger, but you don’t just give up on him.”