Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Detroit Pistons (Last Year: 29-53)
2013-14 Season Summary:
This might sound familiar; the Detroit Pistons use their plentiful cap space to sign a pair of big-name free agents, but the team fails to put it together on the floor. It happened in 2009 and again last summer. Detroit brought in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, but the franchise still failed to make the playoffs in the extremely weak Eastern Conference.
The Pistons should have a good amount of flexibility in free agency this summer, but the new front office led by first-year team president and head coach Stan Van Gundy must first figure out what to do with restricted free agent Greg Monroe.
2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Andre Drummond/#Josh Harrellson
PF: *Greg Monroe/^Jonas Jerebko/Tony Mitchell
SF: Josh Smith/Kyle Singler/Luigi Datome
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope/#Chauncey Billups
PG: Brandon Jennings/Will Bynum/Peyton Siva
NBA Free Agents:
*PF-Greg Monroe (RFA)
^PF-Jonas Jerebko (PO)
#G-Chauncey Billups (TO)
#C-Josh Harrellson (TO)
SG-Rodney Stuckey (UFA)
PF-Charlie Villanueva (UFA)
2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $39.2 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
1. What to do with Monroe?:
The Pistons need to figure out if they want to 1) sign Monroe to a long-term extension that he is due, 2) work on a sign-and-trade deal, or 3) just let him walk in free agency. The third option simply isn't feasible since Detroit can match any offer sheet he signs in the off-season; that leaves No. 1 or No. 2.
With Andre Drummond and Smith, the club doesn't NEED to bring back Monroe and might be better off working a sign-and-trade deal in hopes of adding a more offensively versatile player to the frontcourt. It also depends on how much the Pistons want to pay to keep Monroe. Van Gundy did recently call Drummond and Monroe an "ideal pairing" up front, so this decision will definitely shape Detroit's offseason.
After boasting the league's worst field goal and free-throw percentages, and second-lowest three-point mark, Detroit needs to add some shooters. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope not fully ready to take over at shooting guard, the Pistons should look for a better option in free agency. Adding some perimeter threats would also open up things inside for the team's monstrous front line. It's too bad Detroit had AWFUL luck at the NBA Draft Lottery and had to give its first round pick to Charlotte because there would have been some talented shooters available for the Pistons.
3. Head Coaching Stability:
The firing of Joe Dumars as general manager was long overdue, not only from a roster standpoint but also in finding the right fit on the sidelines. Van Gundy becomes Detroit's seventh head coach in eight seasons, so if the franchise can find some stability there and with new GM, Jeff Bower; that will tremendously help the Pistons get pointed back in the right direction as they try to end their five-year playoff drought.
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