The thought of the Pistons trading some of their older, more valuable players to a contending team in exchange for younger pieces, expiring contracts, or draft picks is an idea that has been welcomed with open arms from Pistons 101 since the beginning of the season. This past weekend Tayshaun Prince discussed the idea of being a part of such a trade scenario. Still, what he had to say and what his agent had to add didn't quite fit into the perceived rebuilding script that the Pistons are in right now. Shams Charania of RealGm.com was there with his thoughts as well as Prince's take on the situation. Charania writes:
Prince is still the consistent, durable player coaches love. He and the Pistons have a comfort level together, too. When Prince signed a four-year deal with the Pistons before last season, he knew Joe Dumars gave him a generous contract that would maintain a relationship and reward him within the organization past his playing career.Prince understands there are contending teams that he can bolster, organizations that have inquired about him. He remains a savvy defender and a versatile playmaker offensively, averaging 12.1 points and 4.7 rebounds this season. Some across the league believe Prince, at 32 years old, and the Pistons would be smart to move on from each other. Nevertheless, Prince is assured the Pistons won’t field trade offers for him, and the two sides have “never” discussed dealing Prince, agent Bill Duffy told RealGM.“I know there are a lot of contending teams that I can help,” Prince told RealGM. “But right now, this is the team I have to help. Everybody wants to be in the position where they have a chance of winning a championship every year, but obviously it doesn’t work that way.”
At the risk of sounding like a Tony Robbins or Richard Simmons motivational type, in regards to trading Tayshaun Prince, the word from the above excerpt that should be getting under the skin of anyone following the Pistons right now is "never."
Granted, Tayshaun Prince is having one of his better seasons as an NBA player, putting up numbers that have played a major role in at least eight wins that the Pistons would otherwise not have if Prince were not on the floor. Prince's contributions this season are in no way detrimental to the team's success, and keeping him around would allow the Pistons the ability to focus on filling their need at shooting guard while banking on Prince to be a "sure thing" for another season.
Still, as the 11-year veteran is unlikely to be a part of the final, rebuilt Pistons product, why wouldn't GM Joe Dumars at least allow himself to be pitched potential trade packages that could be of greater value to the franchise down the road?
The likely reason a Tayshaun Prince trade won't happen this season is Pistons owner Tom Gores's unrelenting commitment to providing his fans with a winner. Before the season began, Gores insisted that the playoffs were a realistic expectation for this year's Pistons team. Although it is a long shot, the Pistons are still in the mix for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Pistons are five wins worse and have played one less game than the current eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. There's a chance, as there always is in the Eastern Conference, that if the Pistons could get their record at or near the .500 mark by the end of the season, they might be able to slide into the eighth and final playoff spot. As the Pistons wouldn't be able to improve in the win column with a Tayshaun Prince trade, sacrificing competitiveness right now for future improvement, it is unlikely Gores would allow a trade that would have the Pistons going from "long shot" to "no shot" this season.
Tayshaun Prince will always be thought of kindly in Detroit for the essential role he played during the Pistons' mid-decade championship run, but watching Prince play for a rebuilding Pistons team is like watching "Rocky 5." It was odd seeing a "Rocky" film end anywhere outside of the boxing ring, let alone in a street fight with a guy named Tommy Gunn. It's also odd watching Tayshaun Prince trot out with this young, future-thinking Pistons core on a nightly basis. During a rebuilding period there are ways ownership can show that they have a commitment to winning. Right now, holding onto to Tayshaun Prince and "never" discussing possible trade offers is not one of them.
Tags: Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Joe Dumars, NBA, Tayshaun Prince, Tom Gores
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