Joe Dumars has gone on record as saying that he still wants one more big man. And I think he should sign embattled big man Erick Dampier.
After a fruitless search in the offseason, luring no big-man free agents and putting together zero trades, the Pistons’ GM is still unsatisfied with his team’s front-court depth. I’m sure Pistons Nation agrees.
Unfortunately, the pickings have always been pretty slim, with a bad free agent crop and nothing particularly attractive about the situation in Detroit — a bad team in a cold-weather city with an ownership situation in flux.
There are reports that the Pistons have contacted representatives to free agent Earl Barron, who has had an undistinguished four-year career. In a small cup of coffee with the New York Knicks, Barron was able to put up a double double in 33 mpg, but there is nothing in his previous stints in the NBA that suggests he is a quality player.
Dampier, who has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism ever since signing a megadeal in Dallas several years ago has actually been a productive NBA player — just not someone who is worth huge money. Dampier has shot better than 60 percent from the field in each of the past four seasons as a cleanup specialist and uses his height and big body to block a fair number of shots and grab rebounds while not fouling at an egregious rate.
He’s not a difference-maker on a contending team, but on a size-challenged team such as the Pistons he could provide the difference down low to actually start to make sense of Detroit’s unbalanced roster full of wing players. The Pistons have minutes available, more than the minimum to offer and could sign Dampier to a one-year deal and trade him to a contender near the trade deadline if they are, as it is assumed, out of the playoff chase. It’s a good situation for all involved.