Did the Detroit Pistons overpay Jodie Meeks? That was the knee-jerk response armchair pundits had after learning of the three-year, $19.5 million deal on the first day of free agency. DBB's Sean Corp outlined why the move made sense from the start -- especially when you consider the rising salary cap and Meeks' versatility -- but even naysayers are slowly coming on board after the likes of Greivis Vasquez are signing for the same annual salary.
In any case, Stan Van Gundy defended the signing Thursday, the first day he was allowed to publicly comment on free agents now that the NBA's free agent moratorium is over. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
“You can always look at every deal and find people that got paid lower amounts of money or whatever, but you can also find people who got paid higher, so it comes down to individual situations and what you need and again, for us, he was the guy we made sure we got,” Van Gundy said after the Pistons’ summer-league team wrapped up its final practice of the week.
“I thought we had to be very aggressive early on to get that done, and we did that.”
More from MLive.com's David Mayo
"We were in a situation where we would only go to a third year on one guy, but of all the wing players, twos and threes, he was the guy we targeted for his skill set, and I'm really happy with the deal we got with him."
Van Gundy said that taking into consideration cap space, salary structure and the Pistons' need for perimeter upgrades, Meeks "was the guy we had unanimous agreement from coaches, front office, everybody, as the guy we wanted to go after."
If you click through to Mayo's article, you'll see more from Van Gundy talking about how comfortable he is with the shooting guard position, especially after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's performance in Orlando, and Cartier Martin and Kyle Singler's versatility. Van Gundy isn't ready to name a starter, though, simply saying "that'll be a great competition" between KCP and Meeks.
Meeks will be officially introduced by the Pistons at a Monday press conference but likely won't be joined by Martin or Aaron Gray, who agreed to new deals believed to be worth the veteran's minimum. As Ellis notes, the Pistons will postpone making those contracts official for the time being, granting the team a bit more salary cap flexibility. With Greg Monroe's status still undecided (and -- cross your fingers -- a potential Josh Smith / Brandon Jennings trade still a possibility), the Pistons need as much wiggle room as possible.