Pistons president Joe Dumars will be in his familiar perch when the
Pistons begin organized practices Tuesday at their practice facility.
He always watches from a corner desk with a cell phone by his side.
He wants to see signs of rebirth from a team that nosedived to an injury-plagued 27-victory season after long playoff runs that included six trips to the Eastern Conference finals and two to the NBA Finals. And he will keep an eye on that cell phone, hoping for a Hail Mary deal that brings in a young, aggressive big man.
Dumars likes his team. He sees improvement physically in Austin Daye and mentally in Charlie Villanueva, but he believes the team is incomplete without one more big man.
"They are scarce and very hard to come by," Dumars said. "A lot of effort goes into finding a big to make an impact. I need somebody who has a presence on both ends of the floor. It’s important for any good team to have that guy with that kind of size and presence. Now, we have guys who I think will do a good job. If I had one more to shore up the middle, that would be great."
The Pistons are loaded with guards but are thin up front. They re-signed 14-year veteran Ben Wallace, who was their best frontcourt player last season. Rookie Greg Monroe is a 6-foot-11 big man out of Georgetown who has a nice passing touch but is rough around the edges offensively. Chris Wilcox played in just 34 games and sometimes the Pistons were so desperate in the post that they put 6-7 energy man Jason Maxiell inside.
Dumars has assets other teams don’t appear to want. Guard Richard Hamilton and forward Tayshaun Prince have been named in trade talks for years, yet they remain.
Dumars wouldn’t say if anybody was on the trade block, saying: "I want a big man. Let’s put it that way."
Prince is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $11.1 million this season. Hamilton is difficult to move because he will be paid $12.65 million in each of the next three seasons. Unless a team becomes desperate, it’s unlikely Dumars will get his wish.