The Pistons held a press conference yesterday to officially introduce Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray. Joe Dumars pretty much said all the right things -- the Pistons will still be a tough defensive team without Ben Wallace and Wallace's departure has not lowered expectations or goals for the upcoming season. Flip Saunders, who seemingly never clicked with Wallace in the first place, wholeheartedly agrees. From the Detroit News:
"We have a chance to be a better defensive team," he said. "I know that sounds crazy. But the No. 1 thing you have to be able to do is stop perimeter penetration and I am excited about (Murray's) ability to defend on the perimeter. When he came into the league, he was known as a defensive player."
Flip Murray a defensive stopper? OK, so maybe Saunders' Kool-Aid needs a little more water, but it's clear that the Pistons braintrust is feeling optimistic about the upcoming season.
It was after the press conference, though, that I think Dumars made his most interesting points. In a radio interview with WDFN, Dumars clarified the reasoning behind the Dupree signing and stated plainly that he's not planning on trading Carlos Delfino. MLive's Full-Court Press has a link to the actual interview and transcribed the interview (not 100% word for word, but close enough for context):
Q: There is speculation that you acquired Roland Dupree in case you have to move Carlos Delfino in a trade; perhaps a sign-and-trade deal with Al Harrington. Is there any truth to that speculation?
A: No. First of all, Al Harrington is looking for $10 million a year and Delfino makes no where near that, so a sign-and-trade doesn't really work. We got Dupree because we needed depth after losing a guy like Mo Evans. We felt comfortable bringing in Dupree to fill that hole because he doesn't need to make a big transition to learn the system.
Q: Is Flip going to give Carlos Delfino a bigger chance this season?
A: I think he did well with his minutes down the stretch. Yeah, we've had that conversation and we intend for him to play this year. He's a guy that deserves to get some time. He's a 24-year-old guy that brings something to the table that we didn't have last season. He's a good open-court player, a good finisher around the basket and I like him a lot.
So that's that -- make of it as you will, but it sounds to me like Delfino will still be here come training camp. In case you forgot what Delfino is capable of doing given solid minutes, DBB reader Matt Gibson dug up a couple of box scores from late in the year: against the Bucks and against the Wizards. Considering Delfino is making just over $1 million this upcoming season and the Pistons hold a team option for $1.8 million in 2007-08, there's absolutely no reason not to hold onto him for at least another year to see what he develops into given actual playing time.
Dumars: Pistons' defense won't rest [Detroit News]
Dumars WDFN notes: Being a GM isn't like fantasy basketball [Full-Court Press]