[Ed. note -- lightly edited and bumped to the front page from the wonderful FanPosts. Fantastic, Kriz]
I would think it's obvious by now, but I don’t think people really hate Tayshaun Prince (although there are many little things to hate about the way he plays and carries himself with the team). Ultimately, this goes back to the same guy we always tend to blame, because it is his fault: Joe Dumars.
There was a chance for Richard Hamilton to leave on good terms with a fully positive image from the team and fans, but Joe held on for too long, allowed the situation to become toxic and, while I think many fans are oblivious to it all, many developed a negative perception of him. Myself included.
Same is happening, has happened, with Tayshaun. He’s nothing he has not been before. Joe has intended on making him a focal point on offense when he is a guy who’s effective only as a third, fourth option and works off others. He’s tried making him a leader and a teacher when he’s more of a quiet guy who simply is there doing his job. There is no shame on being that guy.
We could have parted ways with the 30 year old role player who could have pursued a championship with a contender while we remember him with appreciation for everything he contributed. Instead, he’s still here in clear dissonance of the rebuilding process, projecting to be overpaid (even if he delivers as he usually does) and to grow more exasperated with a group of young guys bound to make mistakes on a team bound to suck. Maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe, even though on the court he seems to have a short fuse with young guys and seems to treat their faults in a detrimental manner, he’s actually an excellent teacher and motivator when the cameras are not on. Maybe he wants to be part of the rebuilding process and sees it as an honor to be the guy who helps the young guys and the team transition to an era that does not include him.
But even if all of that were true, his $8 million contract, on a team tied up with an $11 million per year contract to Ben Gordon and $7.5MM to Villanueva, on a team that has sucked with this core for the past two years, and who is still sucking in a horrible manner, makes no sense at all. Add to that Rodney Stuckey’s contract and you are tied up, and maxed out, on a core that can barely produce wins.
"Assets," Joe calls them. But how can slightly above-average, flawed at that, players that do not posses all around abilities, while being obviously overpaid, be referred to as "assets"? Who can see another GM thinking “I have to get myself Ben Gordon at $11 million"? Or "I have to get myself Charlie Villanueva at 8 million"? Or “I have to get myself 30 year old Tayshaun Prince at $6-7 million"? Because clearly their production on this team bodes well to their possible performance on other teams. I have nothing against each player themselves. I’m not even particularly mad about their contracts (even though I believe they are all overpaid). But the fact that such a shitty team has managed to tie itself long term to such a terrible collection of overpaid contracts of one dimensional players astounds me and, quite frankly, infuriates me.
We live in a world were Darko got a profitable multi-year contract and was lauded as a Vlade Divac kind of guy. Meaning, sometimes shit don’t make much sense. So yes, a miracle could happen. A series of odd, unexplainable events could prompt GMs to trade for our overpaid shit and not fuck us over in the process. Stranger things have happened. Perhaps Tay, Ben and Charlie could end up being traded. And I fully expect Joe Dumars defenders to portray him as some sort of genius who had the foresight of stupid events unfolding and that as consequence freed this franchise of his own stupidly bad decisions.
Will I change my mind about Dumars then? No.
Because while I’ve defended many of his actions (it boils my blood when people claim the assembling of the championship core was pure luck) the fact is that not only has he created a mess, but he has proceeded to lock us further into it and has thrown away the key. Every bit of information (and I’m not only talking about stats) points toward his managerial decisions being stupid.
There is no explanation for locking up Tayshaun long term. NONE. As there was no explanation for locking up Charlie and Gordon at $90 million on the first day of free agency (although I have to admit that at some point I felt Charlie’s contract, by itself, could be fair due to his production). At this point, it's not purely about Tayshaun himself, but the thought process that has a conclusion of retaining him on a rebuilding team that's already tied up to plenty of dead weight. To come in an interview right after you sign Tay and Stuckey to about $16 million a year, to a team already paying Gordon and Villanueva $20 million a year, which adds up to, at best, a 30 win team and claim that your motivation is rebuilding, the possession of assets and FINANCIAL FREEDOM, makes me worrisome about the mind that put all of this together.
Joe getting out of this mess would be the equivalent of a person who’s sole aspiration for the future is winning the lottery and somehow manages to do so. Sure, he’s now a millionaire, but that doesn’t make him smart, just an incredibly lucky, stupid person (sorry I’m not very good with analogies). So if Joe manages to trade out of this mess, the only thing I could muster would be, “Congratulations, you lucky idiot”