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Pistons news roundup: Brandon Knight looks back, Van Gundy looks forward, and more

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Stan Van Gundy looking forward to the future, Brandon Knight apparently not holding anything against the Pistons and your weekly rumor mill summary, all covered in the fourth installment of Pistons News.

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Knight: "I don't wish any negative things on the Pistons."

"How it went down, right before a game. You could definitely see from that point on that it's possible, really, to trade anybody."

January 30th, 2013, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye are traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

"You feel like Tayshaun would have been there his entire career based on what he did and all that stuff. I just learned early on that it's a business."

A business indeed, which meant his trade to the Milwaukee Bucks along with Slava Kravtsov and Khris Middleton didn't come as much of a surprise to the eighth pick in the 2011 draft. He was training in Miami when he was told the news, but despite being somewhat ready to be moved he still had a hard time sleeping that night. In an interview with Josh Planos from SLAM, Knight admitted that it was a challenging experience moving to Milwaukee and having to form new relationships from scratch.

A year and a half later, the fourth-year Guard has worked on his shooting and passing, and is in the midst of his best year as a pro, playing on an improving Bucks squad coached by sophomore-coach Jason Kidd. Although still turnover prone, Knight has played so well this season he - and fellow breakout Middleton - have made many declare the Pistons might have lost the trade on the long-term plan.

Knight has become the leader on a young, promising squad, but says he holds nothing against his former team. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press,  Vince Ellis tried to elicit a reaction when probing the young Buck about his past with the Pistons, but was stonewalled. Knight insists he holds no grudges or ill will against them, so much so that he doesn't follow their progress or pays attention to conference standings.

"I'm just focused on the Bucks."

We will probably never know his actual thoughts regarding the Pistons, but if there is one thing we do know, is that he is in not good with handling grudges. Apart from slipping in the draft and having this reaction to being drafted by Detroit, Knight always played with a chip on his shoulder when he suited up in Piston Blue. Amid rumors he felt slighted that Kyrie Irving was considered the better Point-Guard prospect in his draft class, he would go after Irving during their matchups, which led to this one-on-one during the Rising Stars game.

Knight's diplomatic remark can be taken a couple ways, but what thing is for sure, with both the Pistons and the Bucks looking like promising young teams, and the debate over which Brandon is the best, it makes for an interesting rivalry, and I for one am looking forward to the upcoming regular-season matchups - and hopefully, playoff games. The Pistons look to even the series against the Bucks, when they visit the Bradley Centre on Jan. 24.

Stan Van Gundy excited for the future

5-23. The Pistons were 5-23. Stan Van Gundy was doubting himself, after two years off the coaching circuit, had his magic worn off? Did he doubt his decision to join Detroit? Per Ethan Skolnick at Bleacher Report:

"Hell yes," Van Gundy said. "What I started doubting, quite honestly, at 5-23, was myself. After being out two years and being 5-23, I'd be lying if I tell you I wasn't doubting myself as a coach. There's no question, as a coach. I've never doubted our organization and what we're doing and the ability we have down the road. Even at 5-23, I had confidence in everybody else in the organization but myself."

He needed to make a move. Something to try and start fresh.

Josh Smith was waived on Dec. 22, Tony Mitchell was traded to the Phoenix Suns for Anthony Tolliver on the 24th. The Pistons started winning two days later.

A month after Smith's dismissal, the Pistons are looking like a classic Van Gundy-led team. The team's efficiency has increased noticeably, the bigmen are thriving in the post and the guards are shooting the lights out from three; and, more importantly, the team is winning. The team has gone from ‘on the block' to becoming a solid core for the future, and Van Gundy praises the addition of professional veterans such as Butler, Anthony and Tolliver who have all had an impact on the locker-room and the basketball court. Hard work, teamwork and enjoying one's self are core to Van Gundy's mantra for the team, one that has impressed the newly arrived Tolliver, convinced Butler to sign with the team and had Anthony keen to join the organization. SVG also reached out to the Piston veterans when he first arrived in Detroit, telling Jonas Jerebko there would be room in his rotation if he brought his trademark hustle, convincing Greg Monroe to give him a chance, and mentoring Brandon Jennings into becoming the player we see on the court.

"I'm really, really happy with the guys we have here right now [...] really, really professional, positive guys who work every day to keep themselves ready to play." he said. "I'm really, really happy with our culture and how guys are working. We've got the right things going for our future."

We too are all really, really happy with the team, Stan, and we have you to thank for it.

Trade Watch Bullets

  • Damion James, who has been on the Pistons' ten-day contract radar, has been receiving a lot of attention from the Washington Wizards. According to J Michael at CSN Washington, the Wizards have been heavily considering signing the 6'7" Forward.
  • With Italian league scouts "in full force" at the D-League Showcase games, and Datome's very low NBA trade stock, it might not take long before the former Italian league MVP is back playing in the Euroleague.
  • Per MLive's David Mayo, Van Gundy doesn't believe the Pistons will be offering 10-day contracts unless there is a break in the schedule, where the team can evaluate a player in the Pistons' gym during team practices.
  • USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt & Sam Amick believe the Knicks, Hawks and Lakers are all interested in offering Greg Monroe a lucrative deal in Free-Agency. However, apart from the Lakers' inquiry, neither the Hawks or Knicks seem interested in swinging a trade before the deadline.
  • Tony Mitchell, who has waived by the Phoenix Suns after the Tolliver trade is drawing interest from European teams according to Eurobasket.com's David Pick.

UPDATE:

  • The Pistons have reportedly reached out to former Cavalier DJ Kennedy according to Shams Charania over at RealGM. He played two games in Cleveland during the 2012 season. He has shot 35.7% from three this season for MHP RIESEN LUDWIGSBURG.

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