The summer of 2014 marks the beginning of a new era in Detroit Pistons basketball. After 14 years as general manager, Joe Dumars officially stepped down from his role as Pistons president of basketball operations on Monday. Dumars decision paves the way for an exciting off-season for Pistons fans, as the rebuilding begins.
If the residents of the Motor City aren’t in fact excited, that’s understandable though. Technically, this will be the fifth straight year that rebuilding will have “started” for the Pistons. Detroit hasn’t made the postseason since they were swept in the first round back in 2009 by LeBron James‘ Cleveland Cavaliers, and if that’s to change in the near future, this summer will be key.
Obviously, whoever replaces Dumars will be the key figure and voice in reshaping the roster, as will the yet to be appointed new head coach, but there are certain realities that are crystal clear to everybody on the outside looking in.
Josh Smith can’t play small forward. The new man in charge faces the prospect of either looking for a team willing to take on his colossal contract, or pinning their fate on Smith, moving him to the power forward spot and letting Greg Monroe walk away this summer.
Josh Smith and Andre Drummond have the potential to mesh into a great frontcourt pairing, so the question is what needs to happen at the point and on the wings. With Brandon Jennings having an underwhelming season, his future needs to be considered. If a deal can be done to move him, the Pistons should consider, otherwise they need to look at better decision-making guards to surround him with.
Unrestricted free agents Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva have been criminally overpaid and will likely both be allowed to leave, while the injury-prone Chauncey Billups is highly unlikely to see his team option picked up for next year.
With those four players coming off the books, the Pistons will be committed to pay just more than $35 million next season, leaving them approximately $25 million below the cap and $38 million below the tax threshold, assuming those numbers stay at a similar level this year.
With that in mind, the Pistons have a little bit of flexibility to play with, meaning that they should at least take a look at the following ten players in free agency.