Fans of the Detroit Pistons probably looked at the news headlines this week with a sense of what-could-have-been.
The Nets, in their ongoing quest to cast Carmelo Anthony as the newest member of the Jersey Shore attempted to lure Detroit into a three team deal. They sure are persistent in their quest to get Anthony and have stockpiled a number lucrative first round picks to entice anyone interested.
This potential deal would have united Anthony in New Jersey with Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton. Wait a minute, did Joe Dumars not have an opportunity to have these three players on the Pistons after the 2003 draft? The specter of Darko Milicic looms heavy over this potential trio.
The last thing the Pistons want to see is any incarnation of their draft faux pas become a reality. For the Melo-Billups-Rip joining to take place the Pistons would have had to take Johan Petro and give up a first-round draft pick. They then would take Troy Murphy and his expiring contract. Clearly, the Nets have only their own interests in mind when they talk to third parties. Detroit politely declined, if anything the fact that they are currently still for sale did not help matters either.
In the form in which it was crafted, the deal would have sent rookie Derrick Favors and Devin Harris to Denver along with at least two first round draft picks. Obviously the reunion of Avery Johnson with Harris is going swimmingly.
Hamilton is in the midst of his worst statistical season since his rookie year. He is averaging 13.5 points, a full 4.6 points fewer than last year which was injury shortened. His rebounding and assist numbers are also in decline. As for his shooting percentage, it sits at an abysmal .415. Why the Nets would want him is anybody’s guess.
A further complicating matter for New Jersey is the fact that Billups has come out and said, via his agent Andy Miller, that he has no intention of spending the remainder of his career in the Garden State and would like to continue playing in Denver. He doesn’t like the idea of being traded to the Nets and would insist on being bought out of his present contract, if traded, so that he could “survey the landscape and re-evaluate what he wants to do going forward.”
Billups, like Hamilton, has seen a drop in his numbers as well. However, his decline is not as dramatic as Hamilton’s. His field goal percentage is just as bad as Rip’s at .416 but his percentage from downtown is at a career high standing at .431.
The Pistons’ fans can take solace in the fact that a potential joining of what they could have had will likely not take place any time soon. They also have a ring to show for the team that Dumas put together. Anthony has not even tasted the Finals and honestly, who could envision Anthony chasing down Reggie Miller from behind and blocking his shot?
The Nets seem hell-bent on trading for Anthony by hook or by crook. They have the pieces that they think will be enough to get him there but have yet to find a third or fourth team who will buy into what they are selling. Outside of their picks, they do not have much to offer since they will be sending Harris and Favors to Denver in almost any trade scenario. It is surprising that Kris Humphreys has not been mentioned in any of the recent trade talks. He has to be a hot commodity right now because his close association with the magical luck that is Kim Kardashian but we have yet to see how that plays out…
Every team needs that kind of luck. If a trade for Anthony happens at any time this season, the Nets will certainly be players. They keep chasing waterfalls.