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Surprise! The Pistons sign Jarvis Hayes

The Pistons announced today the signing of Jarvis Hayes. From

We are pleased to add Jarvis Hayes to our roster," Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a statement. "Jarvis has proven himself as a solid NBA player over the last four seasons and we like the flexibility and depth he will bring to our team at the small forward position."

Hayes is a more consistent outside shooter than Delfino and, at 6-foot-8, is bigger. He got squeezed out in Washington when the Wizards, already heavily invested in their perimeter with Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and No. 1 pick Nick Young, chose not to extend a qualifying offer to Hayes, who was scheduled to be a restricted free agent.

Unfortunately, the Pistons didn't release any of the contract terms, including the length of the deal. But if we assume Hayes was had for a relatively modest one-year deal (he made just $2.5 million last year), it's not a bad move at all. I was concerned about the small forward depth earlier this summer but eventually bought into the company line that Arron Afflalo could handle the job. Now I realize the Pistons had other plans all along.

Hayes may not have lived up to his billing as the former 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft, but he might not a horrible guy to play 15-20 minutes a night. I'm not sure his size is really an asset, though; yes, he's two inches taller than Delfino, but that's kind of beside the point considering he's not as good of a defender and he makes his money shooting jump shots.

In fact, even though Hayes is a legitimate small forward while Delfino was an off-guard playing out of position, I'm not sure Hayes is an actual improvement. If you compare their seasons last year, you'll see Delfino had more assists, more rebounds, just two fewer steals and a better field-goal percentage despite playing far fewer minutes. The only real advantage Hayes has is shooting from long distance, where he shot .361 compared to Delfino's .331.

The real comparison shouldn't be between Delfino and Hayes, though, but rather between Hayes and Afflalo/Ronald Dupree/Sammy Mejia. Those three are all unproven while Hayes is a legitimate rotation guy, so getting deeper is getting better. Even so, the Pistons already have 15 guys under contract, so someone has to go. Will Lindsey Hunter retire? Flip Murray be bought out? Mejia released? The Pistons have the rest of the summer to make that decision, so we'll probably have to wait and see.

Thanks to DBB reader Glenn for the head's up.