Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, January 19
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Ahmad (Royal Oak, Mich.): Everyone keeps saying amnesty is the way to go, but wouldn’t it be smarter to make a trade with one or more of the guys on the team? That way, if we need to take a player with a bad contract to make the numbers work we can simply amnesty that player and keep the player we actually want?
Langlois: Not allowed, Ahmad. The amnesty clause is only for players currently on your roster and for players who signed contracts before July 1, 2011. If you trade for someone, you can’t amnesty him.
Andrew (South Lyon, Mich.): If the Washington Wizards intend to make pieces available, the Pistons should try to acquire JaVale McGee to pair with Greg Monroe. Which salaries would the Pistons have to send to the Wizards to make it work and do you think Joe Dumars would also part with his 2012 No. 1 pick if the Wizards started by requiring that?
Langlois: The only easy answer in all of that is a resounding “no” to sending a 2012 No. 1 pick to Washington. I can believe that there is a fairly high level of intolerance left for the immaturity of McGee and other Wizards in Washington, and I can believe that the Wizards are discreetly finding out what the market is for him and Andray Blatche, among others. In a one-for-one trade, the possibilities aren’t exactly endless. The two salaries on the Pistons closest to a match belong to Ben Wallace and Brandon Knight. Neither is a remotely realistic deal. The Pistons, though I believe they like any NBA team would be intrigued by McGee’s physical ability, would have to think long and hard about adding him to an environment they are very carefully trying to cultivate right now with earnest young players like Knight, Greg Monroe and Jonas Jerebko at the forefront.
Roz (Ann Arbor, Mich.): Was it Roundball One that had problems en route to Houston?
Langlois: Yes, the third version of Roundball One, a plane the Pistons only put into service at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Roz. Passengers on the plane were in no danger and, in fact, weren’t aware of any difficulty. Only after landing and successfully taxiing to their awaiting buses did they become aware of an issue with the appearance of emergency vehicles and personnel. The minor issue was repaired and Roundball was back in service to carry the team to Minneapolis late Tuesday night. It was strictly procedural to report the issue, but there was no danger to the team in the air or even at landing. The hydraulics issue limited the pilot’s ability to turn the plane once on the ground.
John (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.): The Pistons really do look like they’re going in the right direction. But with wins hard to come by and attendance below expectations, do you think ownership will continue to be patient with the Pistons’ front office and the process? I’d hate to see new leadership and a Knicks-Stephon Marbury type of trade just to generate fan interest.
Langlois: I can’t speak for ownership, John, but I did talk to Joe Dumars just this week and asked him about the feedback he’s gotten from ownership since the season started. He could not have been more emphatic that ownership is “totally on board with rebuilding this the right way,” as I wrote earlier this week. We’ll have more from that conversation with regard to ownership’s directives soon on Pistons.com, so keep checking back. The bottom line: There are not going to be any desperate moves that maybe help produce a few more wins now at the expense of the future.
Geoff (San Francisco): Is it too early to begin the Greg Monroe-Tim Duncan comparisons? Some of those head shakes we’ve seen from Brandon Knight look an awful lot like a young Isiah Thomas, too. It’s worth reminding all of the complainers that Chicago took nearly a decade to contend again after Jordan retired. The Pistons were in limbo for over a decade after the Bad Boys. Fans should be patient. I’d say, given our last two draft picks, we’re ahead of schedule.
Langlois: It’s best to avoid comparing young players to legends, Geoff, but it’s useful for young players to study players they’d like to emulate. For Monroe, Duncan would be an ideal model. Even as a young veteran, Duncan was a crafty, versatile scorer. Approaching Duncan’s defensive excellence will be the biggest challenge for Monroe, but again, Duncan became a superb defender without Dwight Howard-level athleticism. I’ve cautiously written that there are elements of Knight’s game, and now I see it in his competitive streak, that call Isiah to mind. We’ll see where it carries him, but the two of them give the Pistons a great head start on fielding a competitive team for the next generation. You’re right about the Bulls, too. It took them a few stabs at rebuilding. Elton Brand turned into Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry and still the Bulls spun their wheels. Then they took a few steps forward with the Ben Gordon and Luol Deng group, but it really took two more trips to the lottery – Joakim Noah and the incredible good fortune to hit on the 1.7 percent chance to draft Derrick Rose at No. 1 – before the Bulls rose to championship-contending status again.
Jason (Marquette, Mich.): Ben Gordon’s play has consistently failed to live up to his contract since he came to Detroit. My question is do you think it has anything to do with our point guards? Knight could eventually become a better playmaker, but neither Knight nor Stuckey are true passing-type point guards.
Langlois: No, I don’t think Gordon’s play has anything to do with his point guard. He played next to a number of different guards during his time in Chicago, starting with Kirk Hinrich. I don’t think many would argue that Hinrich fits the mold of an old-school point guard, yet Gordon put up consistent scoring numbers and shooting percentages no matter whom he played alongside with the Bulls. Also, the notion of a “pure” point guard has really become antiquated. There aren’t more than a handful of players left who truly fit the description and you can find them on lottery teams as well as contenders.
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