Another article appeared in The Free Press today talking about the likelihood that the Pistons will trade Austin Daye. Specifically it cites that Joe Dumars has a track record of trading first round draft picks like Daye the year before they are eligible for free agency, unless they’ve proven their worth to the team.
I think it should be a foregone conclusion that Daye is done.
The only real question is whether Joe Dumars believes the team needs another quality player at a position other than small forward? This is the real question that during the preseason must be decided. Perhaps Corey Maggette and Kim English provide the depth needed and nothing will transpire. Or, the versatility that is likely sought from Maggette won't play out and there will be a log jam at small forward, and reinforcements for the guard position may need to be considered.
The Pistons’ small forwards besides Daye include Tayshaun Prince, Corey Maggette, Jonas Jarebko, Kyle Singler, Khris Middleton, and perhaps Charlie Villanueva should also be considered as an option. Of these players the most valuable trade commodities are Jonas Jarebko and,or Tayshaun Prince. Maggette is a one year rent a player. Singler and Middleton are the young, inexpensive players that the team likely has high hopes for, but currently lack any true substantial market value. Villanueva seems too high priced relative to the current perceived value of his services to warrant a significant deal of trade attention.
So, did Joe Dumars sign Prince to a contract extension expressly to have a trade chip in his back pocket? Obviously there is a history between these men, and a sense that some link to the team's Championship past is a good thing to retain. However, I would also tenet that his experience, skill set, and veteran poise are of considerable value to several, if not many other teams.
Jonas Jarebko was signed to an extension, not simply because he is a fan favorite, but because he is another valuable commodity in the NBA, (as LeBron James will attest). He’s a sound rotation player that can fill this role likely for many years to come. Although he can play either forward role, he isn’t probably of above average grade starting caliber at either, but at least he's a competent role player with a well-rounded game. His youth (25), height (6-10), athleticism to score and rebound, and decent ability to play defense are all very appealing aspects of his game.
Jarebko's future in some respects might be determined in part by how well Singler and other newcomers Vyacheslav Kravtsov and Andre Drummond meld into the Pistons mix. These players could significantly restructure the team's rotations. Greg Monroe will remain a stalwart in the rotation, but available minutes at power forward and center are likely to dramatically be reduced and just how much playing time Singler is ready for at small forward should really determine just how much of a glut at small forward the team has.
Part of me could easily argue that Singler and Jarebko should win the majority of minutes at the 3 spot. Middleton could be the lone developmental player to back them up. This would shove Maggette to the shooting guard position for the year, and see Prince as either a trade chip, a form of road block to the future, or disgruntled veteran relegated to the bench. Of course, whether Singler is ready to play at least 24 minutes a game is the question, but remember there still is Maggette ready to jump in too.
Building a Singler and Jarebko tandem, with Middleton in the wings, provides a solid mix of slasher, crasher, and outside shooting capability for today and the future. Would Prince and Maggette then be relegated to a subordinate or supporting cast role to allow these players to gel?
Another part of me believes that Prince is still the best front line option and that Singler could be a good reserve to develop, with Maggette also being available to make Jarebko truly superfluous. I suppose this scenario also depends in part on how good you think Middleton may be in the near future. If he could prove to be even better half to a future Singler and partner tandem, then using Jarebko as the primary trade chip makes sense.
The fundamental question is first and foremost is, do the Pistons need to obtain another quality player? If they do, then I believe Prince or Jarebko are the two best candidates to be traded. Whether Daye is thrown in to a deal really would only be an after thought, probably based on salary considerations and to a much lesser extent, value to be received.
As Joe Dumars and the rest of the Pistons’ brass consider their options, they will likely focus on these questions:
· * Is Jarebko a long term dual role rotational player they really like and want as a piece of this team?
· * Is Prince’s locker room influence too valuable to lose (something that we as fans cannot fully appreciate)?
· * What players are available in a trade that really fit the needs of the Piston better than either of these players?
· * How will a trade affect a team’s play-off chances? (this would give us greater value leverage)
· * What salary cost does another player have in respect to which player(s) we trade?
· * If Prince is traded, will he like the move; will it be a trade that suits him?
Now that I’ve put the ‘trade bulls- eye’ on the back of these two players, I’ll research to see what team would likely have the greatest interest in either of them. Then, I’ll write a follow-up article to explore these options.
There was a time when I really hoped Daye would prove to a special player... He has the length, quickness, and skill set...