Memphis Getting Desperate for a Center?

     Since the Memphis Grizzlies have no player on their roster listed as a center, GM Chris Wallace is looking to acquire one via free agency. But how desperate is Wallace to find a big man? It is rumored that the Griz have been talking to Orlando’s Darko Milicic out in Las Vegas during the NBA’s Summer League. Milicic isn’t the only player that the Magic have been looking at and talking to, but still…… It’s Darko Milicic.

     Memphis has the 7’0″ forward Pau Gasol, who averages 20 points and 9 boards a game, but obviously they think their play down low is lackluster. Either that or Memphis is expecting to get trade offers for Pau from other teams very soon, since Gasol is not a free agent.

     It looks like Darko might have another shot to prove himself with an NBA team. Nothing is for certain yet, and this is just a rumor, but it looks like the Grizzlies are getting a little bit desperate in their search for a center.

What About Chris Webber?

Webber    

     Now that the Pistons hopefully are done negotiating with Chauncey Billups, they need to look at their other players who need to be re-signed. One of these players is Chris Webber, who came to Detroit last season and signed just a one-year deal.

     My question is, should the Pistons even bother bringing Webber back? Sure, he is a home-grown player, and fans like him, but he isn’t getting any younger. His legs are just getting older and with one more year added on to Webber’s age he will more than likely just become more of a liability than an asset. I do realize that Webber averaged about 11 points per game and about 7 rebounds per game last season, but I don’t think he will be able to do the same next season. Even though Webber did help out on the offensive end for the Pistons, he just weighed them down in transition defense. Chris can’t run like he used to be able to, which left Detroit a man short many times when the possession changed.

     If I were Joe Dumars, I wouldn’t bring Webber back for next season. There are some decent unrestricted free agent centers on the market right now. Here are the guys that I would go after to replace C-Webb.

     Chris Mihm

     Chris Mihm did not play in the 2006-2007 season, but he had been a very decent big man up to that point. In 2005-2006, Mihm averaged 10.2 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, and 1.2 blocks per game. At seven-foot tall, Mihm is a giant, something that the Pistons haven’t had at the center position in a while. Although Mihm is coming off right ankle surgery last year, I still think he can be effective down low. I think that the Lakers are done with Mihm, so the Pistons should have a good shot at signing him if needed. If Detroit does not re-sign Webber, Mihm would be my first choice to replace him.

     If Mihm could not be acquired by the Pistons, Jamaal Magloire would be the second option I would look at. Over his seven years in the NBA, Magloire has been a stable big man. He is coming off his worst season since his rookie year, averaging just 6.5 points per game snd 6.1 boards per game. However, for his career Magloire has averaged about 9 points per game and 6 rebounds per game. Last season, the Trail Blazers were a very bad team. If Magloire was brought onto a better team, such as the Pistons, he might start playing like he did in his younger days. Portland probably has more salary cap room than Detroit does, so stealing him away from the Blazers could be difficult.

     If all else failed, there is one more guy who I would look at to sign in place of Chris Webber. And that guy is P.J. Brown. Brown is a very veteran guy, with 14 NBA seasons under his belt. But P.J. can still be effective. Last season with the Bulls, Brown averaged 6.1 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Since Brown is as old as he is, giving him the bulk of the minutes may be out of the question. If Brown was signed, P.J. and McDyess would more than likely have to split minutes playing center. I’m not so sure how willing Brown would be to go play for the Pistons, after giving them a run for their money in the Playoffs with Chicago last season. Then there is also the fact that Detroit wouldn’t be able to offer Brown a big contract, which might not be enough to lure him away from the windy city.

     If Webber is re-signed or if one of these players is signed in his place, Detroit’s solution at the center position is only temporary. Some time in the near future, Detroit needs to draft a promising, young big man to play as their starting center. Until then, the Pistons will continue to struggle with their play in the middle.

Pistons win Summer League Opener, 91-89 in OT

Sammy Mejia during Summer League    

     Earlier tonight, Detroit won it’s first Summer League game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The final score of the contest was 91-89. Four quarters wasn’t enough to settle this game, so it went into over time. Here’s a recap of the action.

     The story in this game was Jason Maxiell. Being the only Pistons who has actually played in an NBA regular season game on the floor tonight, Maxiell scored 22 points. Arron Afflalo and Rodney Stuckey started off their NBA carriers well also, scoring 14 points each. Sammy Mejia, the Pistons second-round draft choice, scored 12 points, as well as the game winning three-pointer at the buzzer.

     This game really means nothing, since there was no one extremely talented on either side of the floor. You can see this by looking at Jason Maxiell, who isn’t the most offensively talented guy in the world, dropping 22 on the Sixers. However, this was a good time for the Pistons to gauge how well their draft picks can play. Although Afflalo and Stuckey have already signed contracts with the Pistons, Mejia has not. This game and the rest of the Summer League games may be how Sammy earns his way onto the team.

     The next time the Pistons play is on Monday, against the Memphis Grizzlies. I’ll have a recap of that game for you on Monday.

Billups’ Contract is now “Unoffically Offical”

Billups Shooting a Jumper    

     According to the Detroit Free Press, Chauncey Billups and the Pistons have agreed to a deal. The new contract will keep Billups on the team for five years (with the fifth year being a team option). Billups will make 60.5 million dollars with this contract.

     Hopefully this is the last of the negotiations between Billups and the Pistons. Chauncey can officially sign a contract next Wednesday, which I hope he does with Detroit. This new contract is only slightly more than what was reported to the media a few days ago. Billups’ agent hasn’t renounced this agreement yet, which may be a good sign.

     Be sure to check back here on the 11th to see if Billups does in fact re-sign with the Pistons.

Could the Knicks Land the Meanest Front-Court in the NBA?

Ron Artest    

     According to a rumor I read about on NBA Fanhouse, the New York Knicks may be looking to pick up Sacramento’s starting small forward, Ron Artest via trade. As of right now, New York has 17 players signed to contracts on their roster, and the maximum they can have in an NBA season is 15. This means that New York has to get rid of two players before the start of next season.

     It looks like Isiah Thomas may be looking to deal some of his young talent for the veteran Ron Artest. Players the likes of David Lee or Jared Jefferies could be on the table during New York’s discussions with the King’s organization.

     If the Knicks could land Artest, I think that they would complete what is the most dynamic starting front-court in the NBA right now. If that is going a little too far, it would at least be the best front-court in the Eastern Conference. However, I’m not sure if Isiah wants to deal with the character problems that Ron would bring into New York. Old Zeke already has Zach Randolph to attend to, and adding Artest might be too much.

     But no one can deny that teaming up Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, and Ron Artest looks like a great group of big men on paper. If the Knicks do land Artest, thinking of how much damage those three could do to opposing Eastern teams is all most scary. I know that Curry, Randolph, and Artest would rip the Pistons bigs to pieces on the boards.

     If and when the Knicks land Artest, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

So who is Amir Johnson?

Amir Johnson against the Toronto Raptors    

     Detroit drafted Amir Johnson in 2005, straight out of high school. Last season, Johnson only played in eight games all year, due to the fact that he was assigned to the NBA’s Developmental Leauge for most of the year. However, in the Pistons final regular season game, Amir Johnson played 37 minutes against the Bostons Celtics, and scored a season-high 20 points. In the D-Leauge last season, Johnson averaged almost 19 points per game and almost 10 rebounds per game.

     If Amir is giving some quaility minutes off the bench next season. I can see him as a big energy guy coming into a game. Johnson has young legs, which is something the Pistons have become unacustomed to. Also, I think that Johnson is big enough to put in minutes as a power forward, but also has the skill and the swing-man ability to play small forward when Prince needs a rest. I really see good things in Amir Johnson. All I need to see now is if the Pistons will give him a steady dose of minutes coming in off the bench now that Delfino is gone. And for that I will have to wait for next season.

     If you still want to know who Amir Johnson is, check out this video.

Carlos Delfino No Longer a Piston

Carlos Delfino    

     This is not anywhere close to being “news”, because it happened on June 15th, but I thought I’d let you know anyways. Detroit’s former small forward from last season, Carlos Delfino, has been traded to the Toronto Raptors. In return, the Pistons receive two second-round draft picks from Toronto, one in the 2009 NBA Draft and the other in the 2011 NBA Draft. Personally, I really didn’t like Carlos Delfino anyways. He’s defense was weak and he was never really all that consistent. Although he came off the bench in all 82 games this past season, I don’t think he will be missed with the drafting of Aaron Afflalo. Also, look for Amir Johnson to be on the roster full-time next season, instead of playing in the D-League. Overall, I think two second-round picks is all anyone would have offered Detroit for Delfino.