Pistons Mailbag - Monday, March 5
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Bruno (Sao Paulo, Brazil): There are opportunities to trade. The Clippers really need a shooting guard. It’s time to move Ben Gordon. Ryan Gomes, Randy Foye and Chauncey Billups for Gordon would work and could put the Clippers over the top. Chris Kaman is available for pretty much nothing. Tyrus Thomas is available. Can we expect a deal before the deadline, something more than a minor move?
Langlois: I don’t think you should “expect” anything necessarily, Bruno, and neither would I rule out most anything. It’s just a tough trade climate to gauge because, as I’ve talked about in recent Mailbags, teams just don’t have as much to go on when deciding whether they should be buyers or sellers. Because the West is so congested, there might not be as many sellers as there would be in a typical year, which could limit the number of desirable players on the market. It doesn’t seem likely that the Pistons would pursue deals that improve their present at the expense of their future. Would they be interested in deals that improve their future but might stall some of the progress they’ve recently made? Tougher call. We’ll see – the deadline is just 10 days away. As for the Clippers, there were reports over the weekend linking them to Ray Allen. Danny Ainge would have real trouble selling that in his locker room.
Preston (Ortonville, Mich.): So since we are in March, is there any chance of trading Stuckey, Prince or Jerebko?
Langlois: Actually, only Prince might now eligible to be traded. Jerebko becomes eligible to be traded on Saturday. There is conflicting information on whether Stuckey can or cannot be traded at all this season. The reason has to do with the minutiae of the collective bargaining agreement regarding the type of free agent they were and how much they signed for relative to their last contract. With Stuckey, I think it’s moot; the Pistons wouldn’t have been shopping Stuckey, in any case, and it’s really unlikely that they would trade Jerebko. Prince? I’d say there’s some possibility, simply because as a veteran who can defend a number of positions and can be used in a variety of ways offensively he will hold appeal to contenders. But the Pistons signed him for four years and I don’t think they would have done that unless they were truly interested in keeping him for the long haul. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t listen to offers, though.
Tim (Grand Rapids, Mich.): Are the Pistons actively pursuing Chris Kaman? It seems New Orleans is more than willing to shop him. Do you feel he would be a good fit next to Monroe?
Langlois: The Pistons have had reported interested in Kaman in the past. It’s common knowledge that New Orleans has been actively shopping Kaman for weeks, so it’s fair to assume the sides have talked. Kaman, though, is a pending free agent and has expressed interest in the past in returning to his native state to play for the Pistons. Rather than give up something of value now, the Pistons might be content to wait for the summer and see about landing Kaman for nothing more than a salary-cap slot. As for his fit with Monroe, I think it would be a good one. There is more than one type of player who’d complement Monroe – that’s a testament to Monroe’s versatility – but a player who can command post double teams, as Kaman does, is one of them.
Timothy (Philadelphia): Since last year media voters considered Gary Neal better than Greg Monroe, shouldn’t Monroe be a top contender for Most Improved Player?
Langlois: Ryan Anderson got a lot of buzz early as the leader for the award. Kyle Lowry will be another strong contender. Monroe has a legitimate case. He’ll probably be hurt by the fact the Pistons aren’t making national TV appearances.
Tuko (Detroit): I like the direction the team is headed. If Monroe keeps getting better, he’ll be among the elite big men for years to come. Knight has the raw tools to be a great point guard. Both these cornerstones are the high-character guys Dumars loves. I truly believe we are Anthony Davis away from being legit within the next few years and for the next decade or longer. Have you noticed the trend where teams who finish fourth to sixth seem to get lucky on draft night? I hope we finish within that range.
Langlois: Well, the Pistons were seventh in 2010 and eighth in 2011 and did pretty well for themselves with Monroe and Knight, Tuko. As for Davis making the Pistons legit, I guarantee you all of the teams in the 2012 lottery will feel the same way. Even Charlotte, which right now looks a few laps behind the worst teams in the NBA. Put Davis in the middle with Bismack Biyombo and the Bobcats will have a fearsome interior defense. Give Toronto Davis as well as Jonas Valanciunas and the Raptors will feel they’re a year’s experience away from a top-four seed. Cleveland? Washington? New Jersey? New Orleans? Sacramento? Ditto.
Michael (Phoenix): I’ve been critical of Lawrence Frank at times for his rotation, but I have to praise him on his work ethic and the way he protects his players. When Rodney Stuckey was fouled hard under the basket against Charlotte, Frank came sprinting out to make sure there was no harm done to him. I have renewed faith and respect for Frank and hope all the hard work will gradually pay off in a big way.
Langlois: Frank has preached the value of brotherhood and family since the first day of training camp, Michael, and it’s been in evidence throughout the season. The players notice incidents like you picked up on, too, and they know that Frank pours boundless amounts of time and energy into putting them in the best possible positions for success. They appreciate that.
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