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Two takes on Detroit’s situation

Someone had to be "that guy," offering a slightly different take for the sake of being different, and fortunately for ESPN, J.A. Adande stepped up:

Now that Chauncey Billups' departure brings an end to an era in Detroit, we have to look at these Pistons' lone championship as an aberration, and their attempt to become a sans-superstar dynasty a failure. They shocked the world, but they didn't change the game.

... And so on and so forth, skipping ahead ...

We'd like to think that an outside-the-box approach such as Dumars' could flourish, that a savvy GM could concoct a way to build a better rocket ship with only spare parts.

Sorry. This will drive all the quantum theory stats analysts and Trader Bob armchair GMs crazy, but it really does come down to luck. The difference can be as small as the coin flip that brought Magic Johnson to the Lakers or the bouncing pingpong balls that brought Tim Duncan to the Spurs. As great as the front offices of those two franchises have been, the Lakers' five championships in the '80s and the Spurs' four since 1999 simply don't happen without those random, fortunate events.

Luck? As in, the bad luck that happens when Rasheed Wallace has a brain-freeze and leaves Robert Horry open? If one play goes differently, the Pistons have two titles in five years and Adande's entire thesis goes out the window. Just saying.

I've never bought the argument that the Pistons needed to win multiple titles to justify their place in the league -- by that measure, the only team worthy of holding its head high for the greater part of the last decade is the Spurs. The Pistons are what the are: consistently good, sometimes great, a champion once. They're like the NBA's version of Martin Scorsese -- a body of work that makes every director drool with only one Academy Award to show for it.

Or something like that. I'm not saying only winning one title is ideal, but "only" winning one title is more than what 26 other teams have done the last six years, and consistently keeping their fans entertained through three playoff rounds every single year is more than what any other team can say. Consistency isn't everything, but it's certainly not nothing.

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski
, on the other hand, had a far more uplifting take, suggesting the move was made in hopes of luring none other than LeBron James to Detroit in 2010. I don't see it -- If LBJ leaves the Mistake on the Lake, it'll be to head east to New York, not north to Detroit -- but Woj lays out an intriguing conspiracy theory:

So why Iverson over a possible package for Kidd? Several league executives know exactly why: The trade with Denver to make an unhappy Iverson happier just further imbeds the Detroit franchise deeper into James’ agent, Leon Rose, and advisor, William Wesley. Just as they represent James, they rep Iverson.

And as much as anyone, "World Wide" Wes is one of the most important voices in Lebron’s life. Wesley lives in Detroit, where one of Rose’s clients, Richard Hamilton, is a Pistons star. What’s more, Dumars is close to an agreement with Hamilton on a two-year extension that will keep him through 2012, sources say. This is a terrific show of faith for Hamilton, who is trying to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars that a business manager allegedly stole from him.

Wesley comes and goes at the Palace of Auburn Hills as he pleases, and few have such a window into the winning culture of the Pistons.

As one rival GM said Monday, "Damn it, I am afraid Joe has this whole thing wired. He’s got everything in place to pull this off."

Even if it's not LBJ, the Pistons will still be in the running for any other free agent they so desire, either in 2009 or 2010 (and maybe even both).