With Carlos Arroyo being shipped to Orlando in this week's deal, the Pistons find themselves with Lindsey Hunter as their lone experienced backup point guard. Perhaps in part because he knows how terrified I get at the thought of Lindsey running the offense, Joe D gave indications immediately following the deal that the backup point position was not settled and that another move was imminent. Alas, he now seems to be backing off of that statement.
During a conference call with the area beat writers yesterday, Dumars stated that another move was not necessarily forthcoming and that he's comfortable with Lindsey as his backup point. He also pointed out the obvious: there is no one he could acquire that would be able to lead this team to a championship in the event that Chauncey suffered a significant injury. So in that respect, the backup point position and the ten minutes of floor time it entails is much less significant than it is being portrayed. Dumars to the Detroit News:
"The ultimate question becomes, what if something happens to Chauncey (Billups )?" Dumars said. "Well, who are we going to get if something does happen to Chauncey that's going to lead us to a championship anyways? Don't kill yourself with that. You're up a creek without a paddle there anyways. You know what I mean?
"Everybody asks what happens if Chauncey goes down, I say, what happens if Lindsey (Hunter ) does?"
Elaborating further on Joe's comments, A. Sherrod Blakely suggests in his blog that the Pistons may settle for the scrap heap in the event Lindsey goes down, bringing a vet like Anthony Goldwire off waivers on a ten-day deal. Anthony Goldwire? I may have just thrown up in my mouth.
Look, no one can replace Chauncey, that I agree with. But if Joe stands pat--leaving Lindsey and rookie Alex Acker as the only backups to Chauncey down the stretch--this team is undoubtedly worse off than it was before the deal. For a team that has been preaching all season the importance of home court advantage, weakening the roster doesn't make much sense. And should the team hold onto Kelvin Cato and his very marketable contract (even though he has the same chance of contributing as a certain Serbian 7-footer) then it will be obvious that this deal was completed solely for financial reasons. After all, it isn't as if the market for Darko or Arroyo would have dried up after the season, but it would have been impossible for Joe to obtain $9 million in cap relief this offseason if he had waited until June or July (since the expiring contracts would have expired).
Yes, that 2007 or 2008 draft pick is nice. And resigning Ben Wallace this offseason to a reasonable contract is a priority. But amidst what could be a dynastic run, I would have liked the focus to remain on this team's chances of winning title in '06 before concerning themselves too much with staying below an imaginary spending limit after the season ends. I've stated before that Joe always deserves the benefit of the doubt; I'm just hoping he has one more move in him before the deadline.