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 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.