Calderon arrived too late to make a difference this year – the Pistons will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season, their longest post-season drought in 30 years – but his expiring contract might mean a bigger difference in the seasons to come. By standing pat Thursday, the Pistons confirmed their arc.
They’re heading into this summer – the Summer of Truth – with everything to prove and the assets to make nearly anything happen.
The Pistons committed themselves to this summer when they sent a first-round pick to the Charlotte Bobcats just to rid themselves of Ben Gordon’s contract a year earlier. They upped the ante by dumping Prince’s long-term contract, and they called any raises by silently letting the trade deadline pass.
Joe Dumars’ critics still point to his flubbed rebuild in the summer of 2009, and his supporters blame Karen Davidson’s sale of the team for interfering with Dumars’ plan. The truth lies somewhere between with Dumars’ reputation hanging in the balance.
He’ll have a tremendous chance to prove himself during the Summer of Truth.
The Pistons will have a lottery pick it can use on a player like Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke or Otto Porter. They’ll have cap space to sign someone like O.J. Mayo, Josh Smith and/or J.J. Redick or trade for highly paid veterans like Danny Granger, Luol Deng and/or Eric Gordon.
It’s a lot to navigate, and it must happen this summer.
The diminishing protection on the pick owed to the Bobcats (top-eight in 2014, top-one in 2015 and unprotected in 2016) demands the Pistons don’t prolong their rebuild. The longer the Pistons remain bad, the greater the risk they send a valuable draft pick to Charlotte.
The Freep editors lowercased the ‘T,’ but make no mistake it’s “The Summer of Truth.”