We've heard the rumors swirling for months about the possibility of Detroit trading for oft-injured Carlos Boozer. With the Jazz looking to match Portland's offer sheet for Paul Millsap, we're about to start hearing them once again. Some people would accept Boozer with open arms, while others would rather gouge their eyes out with a fork.
How should we react to the imminent rumors?
Well, according to Pistons beat writer, Mr. Keith Langlois, ignore them:
The Boozer ship has sailed.
Two reasons for that. The first comes on Utah’s end. The Jazz are looking to trade Boozer, but any trade has to accomplish Utah’s primary objective: cutting the Jazz’s tax liability now that they’ve matched on Millsap.
As it stands, the Jazz are going to be paying $10 million or so in luxury tax. They’re not interested in swapping Boozer’s big contract for another – and in the case of the Pistons, the only two players who fit that contract slot are Rip Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince. On a talent-for-talent basis, either trade passes the test. But it doesn’t pull Utah out of its tax mess.
The second is on Detroit’s end. Even if Joe Dumars were interested in trading one or the other, Prince or Hamilton, for Boozer, he’s not interested in meeting Boozer’s asking price.
I think this was becoming increasingly clear over the past few weeks. Joe Dumars seems to be well aware of the risks involved with giving away his iron man, or one of his best scorers, for a red flagged big man. I think fans were starting to understand that a Boozer deal appeared unlikely at this point, too. If it was going to happen, I feel like it already would have went down.
That's not even the most interesting excerpt from Langlois' piece, though. He seems to think Joe Dumars is still setting the Pistons up to be placed in a quality position for the big 2010 free agent class, the Summer of Lebron as a lot of people are calling it:
The vast majority of those stars that dot the marquee of the Summer of LeBron are going to re-sign with their original teams. Chris Bosh might have eyes for his native Texas and there’s a slim possibility Wade will make good on his flirtation with his hometown Chicago Bulls, but other than that?
Most of the teams clearing space for 2010 were going to wind up disappointed, anyway, because there sure weren’t going to be 15 players worth max money on the market. Now? At least a dozen are going to wish they had an option remotely as attractive as coming away with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.
But here’s where it really gets good for the Pistons. While other teams might have pared down to six or seven players under contract to clear their cap space, the Pistons are going into next season with a deep roster already, and Joe D hasn’t yet signed the two veteran free-agent big men he expects to still add – both of them, more than likely, to short-term deals. They’re going to look a lot more attractive to a free agent with a skill that fits the Pistons’ needs, whatever that might be a year from now, than so many of those teams that depleted themselves hoping to be saved by a superstar.
According to lowposts, the Pistons only have a 10% chance of signing Lebron next summer. That's not a highly factual guesstimate, but I think if there was a number placed on the odds, that'd be a pretty accurate prediction (h/t LOD).
I don't think signing Lebron is going to happen, but you can't deny that Dumars, by getting arguably two of the best free agents available this summer, has put the Pistons in a tremendous position for attracting free agents next summer.
No matter what happens next summer, though, the Pistons won't be a team that comes out of the Summer of Lebron with nothing, but a depleted roster and lots of money.
(h/t to @JoannePistonFan for the link to the Langlois piece)