The Detroit Pistons once again find themselves muddled in a midwinter state of mediocrity as the NBA trade deadline approaches. Should the team make any moves as a result, or should they be content to play out the rest of the season and see what happens with a roster still talented enough, in theory, to win?
Opinions differ on those questions, especially after the Pistons' latest loss, an ugly defeat at home Tuesday night by the Charlotte Bobcats, who they're currently chasing in the standings. Many believe Detroit should start selling off assets like Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey, while others think they should stand pat.
Regardless of what happens, there's pros and cons of activity and inactivity. Here's three on each side that the Pistons will have to juggle as the phone rings for the next 24 hours.
Pro #1: Grabbing draft picks or player assets for the future. By making a trade, the Pistons have an opportunity to get a head start on rebuilding their team once again. Perhaps Stuckey could net a decent draft pick or two. Maybe if Detroit found the right deal full of players, they could move a valuable Greg Monroe, however unlikely it might be, or pick up players that might help them for the future. Gaining assets is a major focus of any trade season, and if good enough players or picks are available, the Pistons should pounce, sell and not limit themselves to make a move.
Con #1: Allowing Joe Dumars to make moves as a lame duck. Conversely, there's no reason the Pistons should allow Dumars to make any moves if he's on the way out. Many in the media haven't heard much from Dumars or his associates lately, which could mean the writing is on the wall in Detroit and he will be the next to go in a matter of months. In that case, why should ownership allow him to make any moves at all? That's especially true if he built the mess currently unfolding on the court.
Pro #2: Giving Dumars a chance to fix his mistakes. On the other hand, Dumars could be allowed to mop up some mistakes he made during the last offseason. Perhaps there's a way to move Josh Smith or Brandon Jennings and get decent returns. If that type of deal comes along, there's no reason to hold Dumars back just because he might not be the general manager in Detroit next season. If the Pistons are convinced Dumars can fix things and instruct him to do so, a trade might help for both the short term and long run.
Con #2: Killing any team chemistry that exists. The Pistons have been disorganized all season long so this particular point might be largely moot. Despite that, the current edition of the team is two games out of a playoff birth, possibly lending to the belief that the chance for a run still exists with the current group. If that's the thinking, there's no sense tampering with team chemistry just to make a trade move at mid-season.
Pro #3: Putting the team on notice. Perhaps a shakeup move would help set the tone inside the locker room that poor efforts and lapses are not acceptable. The move to fire Maurice Cheeks hasn't gotten that job done considering Detroit is just 1-2 under John Loyer, so maybe a trade is the only way to wake the team up and get them playing responsible, motivated basketball. Considering the efforts displayed lately, would anyone truly be against such a move? Not likely.
Con #3: Giving up draft picks. In a move that might haunt the team this year, the Pistons were forced to give Charlotte a first round pick (top eight protected) in order to get rid of Ben Gordon's terrible contract. If Dumars is allowed to make moves, the team should strictly limit his use of dealing away draft picks. Though picks deal with the unknown and promote hope, the Pistons will need them for the future, and should be careful about dealing away first round selections.
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