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Tayshaun Prince isn't ready to give up on Detroit, nor does he believe he'll be traded -- but that doesn't mean it won't happen.
Update: Guess what? It happened! Tayshaun Prince was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of a three-team trade that sends Rudy Gay to the Raptors. Austin Daye is also headed to Memphis, with Jose Calderon coming to Detroit.
Reiterating his comments over the weekend, Tayshaun Prince told Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News that he's ignoring the trade rumors and remains committed to the Pistons -- at least for the time being.
"You know what? I don't think about it. You know why? I've been on the trading block since my sixth year in the league, according to who you talk to," said Prince, who put additional emphasis on "according to".
Could there come a day where Prince could go to Dumars' office and ask out, later in his career? Of course, but not anytime soon, he said.
"One day it might hit me. I might get in a position where it's time for me to win one more (championship)," Prince said. "To go to a contender-type team. I might go to Joe that day and say 'it's time for me to move on' and play that route but now is not the time."
I'm obviously splitting hairs with the whole "for the time being" thing, but it's still kind of interesting to hear a guy leave the door open like that. (Or maybe not. I just remember standing in front of Antonio McDyess' locker after Game 6 of the 2008 ECF when he said he'd rather retire than seek a trade looking for a shortcut to a title. But the context -- stuck on a rebuilding team vs. two games away from the NBA Finals -- is completely different. I digress.)
In any case, talk all you want because Prince doesn't care. From Goodwill:
"You can't take things personal. There's no way, in any shape or form where you should be worried about it," Prince said. "I've been in that position so many times that it comes with the territory and it is what it is. Whether I hear something, it wouldn't affect me one way or the other."
Prince said he keeps an open line of communication with Dumars, which in essence, prevents him from any panic.
"There's been times Joe has come to me and said, 'here's what's going on, yada-yada-yada, this is what it is' and left it at that and gave me clear (perspective) about what's going on," Prince said. "It's not like I've been left out the loop. It's not been 'I'm trying to trade you and I haven't liked these deals'. There's been nothing like that. I'm not worried about it."
Despite his confidence that Joe Dumars will keep him in the loop, I'm not convinced that's necessarily the case. Remember how the Chauncey Billups trade went down? From ESPN's epic OTL feature on Billups a few years ago:
The talks are finalized before the team flies to Charlotte, and, on the flight, Chauncey can tell he's being ignored. "He notices Joe and none of the coaches can even look at him," Ray says. "And that's when he knows something is wrong."
When the flight lands, he chats with Antonio McDyess, who tells him about the impending trade. It isn't official yet, but the Pistons have filled McDyess in, because they need to trade his salary to balance the deal. They tell him that Denver will waive him, and they'll want to re-sign him. But they tell Chauncey nothing.
Though he has been traded three times before, it still stings. At the team hotel, on Nov. 2, Dumars and the coaches are staying right down the hall from him, but no one invites him down for a goodbye chat. Then, on the morning of Nov. 3, before the shootaround, it becomes official: Chauncey to Denver.
I don't actually think Prince will be traded -- Dumars has shown a strange loyalty to him unlike any of the other players from the Goin' to Work era -- but if the only reason he thinks he's staying is because Dumars hasn't told him or his agent otherwise, well shit, that's not how the NBA works, and he should know that better than most.