Tuesday marked the re-introduction of Detroit Pistons legend, 2004 NBA Finals MVP point guard Chauncey Billups. While the guard spoke about his role with the team, now as the veteran presence and player-mentor to the young backcourt pieces, GM Joe Dumars found himself addressing the swirling rumors about his team's "interest" in Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings. Whether it's Dumars abiding the NBA's tampering rules, ones that forbid teams from publicly discussing interest with players under contract elsewhere, or whether it's Dumars playing it close to the vest (like he did before the NBA Draft), Dumars wanted to make one thing clear– the recent trade rumors are untrue.
During the press conference, which the public was given access to via Pistons.com, Dumars addressed both the Jennings and Rondo rumors:
"Bogus, bogus. No conversations." Dumars said when asked about the rumors of the Pistons inquiring about a sign and trade for Jennings with Milwaukee. "The trade rumor is not true."
In regards to The Boston Globe's weekend report that the Pistons had offered Brandon Knight and an expiring contract (Rodney Stuckey or Charlie Villanueva) for Rondo:
"I haven't had any conversations with (Boston Celtcis GM) Danny Ainge about Brandon (Knight)."
Dumars would go on to say that Andre Drummond is a player the Pistons would not consider moving, that the team's stance on trades is much like an open door policy, and that he's currently comfortable with where the roster is right now.
That's all fine and good, but forgive the fan base if they don't believe these words of rumor denial. Rumors can be untrue, but they usually don't come out of thin air, and they're especially not false when a major paper like The Boston Globe starts them. Dumars might publicly be voicing his confidence in Knight, telling the media that he hasn't specifically discussed trading the guard, but it's clear that the Pistons have a situation worth improving at the point guard spot.
Dumars has said that there's a possibility that Billups could be starting the season at point guard for the Pistons over Knight. While it's going to be great seeing Billups back in the red, white and blue, seeing him in a starting role is not a symbol of a team improving. The trade discussion may publicly be rumor, but there's no way Dumars hasn't been manning the trade lines and doing so with Knight as a trade piece. And if Dumars hasn't been manning the trade lines, and the rumors about both Rondo and Jennings are truly "untrue," then Dumars has decided to do only two-thirds of his offseason responsibilities (1/3 is draft, 1/3 is free agency and 1/3 is trade).
Whether you believe that there haven't been any trade discussions to back up the recent rumors about Jennings or Rondo, or you take Dumars' words with a grain of salt, it's still very early in the "trade third" of the offseason. For a player like Rondo, one who many believe might not be available until the February trade deadline, it's super early to be talking trade. For a player like Jennings, a player who will likely be traded before the season begins; it's also very early as the rumors about him wanting out of Milwaukee just broke this week. Dumars is being patient, testing the waters here and there, and considering his options (most likely). And that doesn't mean that his denial of the trade rumors should be taken seriously.
Tags: Basketball, Brandon Jennings, Brandon Knight, Chauncey Billups, Danny Ainge, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Joe Dumars, NBA, Rajon Rondo
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