Dec 3, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Detroit Pistons power forward Greg Monroe (10) prepares to shoot the ball as Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (31) defends during the first quarter at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons are taking the right approach to Free Agency

When the clock strikes midnight on the eastern coast and nine on the west, the NBA’s players, coaches, executives and fans will all be in a tizzy to find out where the big name superstars in free agency are taking their talents.

You can talk all you want about Carmelo Anthony, the big three, Kyle Lowry and Lance Stephenson. Pau Gasol, Luol Deng, Eric Bledsoe and Chandler Parsons are all top secondary players in the NBA.

Many teams will be listening to these player’s demands tonight. They’ll try to court the best players any way possible, because they believe it’s the best thing for their franchise.

Meanwhile, Pistons executives will be on a different mission.

First, they’ll secure their secondary asset in top 10 free agent Greg Monroe. They’ve already made a decision that if they can get better value for him, that they will pull the trigger. If not, he’ll be back with the Pistons organization.

Secondly, they are looking for some of the smaller pieces of the puzzle to form the identity that Stan Van Gundy envisions.

Think back to when the Pistons were last winning championships.

Chauncey Billups wasn’t a superstar when he decided to sign with Detroit after one good year under Flip Saunders in Minnesota.

During the Pistons last championship run, the biggest free agent signing outside of the organization was Darvin Ham. “Dunkin’ Darvin” provided just what the Pistons will be looking for tonight when the clock strikes midnight.

Players that can contribute, while providing energy and veteran leadership.

What it takes to build a championship team goes beyond bringing in big names. Stan Van Gundy has been very vocal about it.

 

Mar 17, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jerryd Bayless (11) reacts during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 94-89. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

All signs point to him aiming for players that will add a small piece of the winning mentality pie.

It starts with a veteran laden point guard that can help this team better take care of the basketball and to lead by example for young guards Peyton Siva, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Spencer Dinwiddie.

MLive’s David Mayo has nailed it down to ten guys that fit the mold. Shaun Livingston had a great year in Brooklyn as Deron Willams’ backup. Steve Blake is a veteran floor general that could add decent depth to the bench. Jameer Nelson was just waived by the Magic and has experience in a Stan Van Gundy offense.

Like Livingston, unrestricted free agent Jerryd Bayless brings size to the back court and a ton of experience. Bayless is the type of player that coaches love to coach. Just ask Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who talked about what Bayless means to Boston late in the season.

“I think obviously, you don’t know how all the numbers are going to work themselves out, and all the different people. But he’s a good guy to have on your team,” the Celtics head coach said before falling 107-102 to Chicago. “He’s bright. He thinks about the game on both ends of the floor. He’s physical. And he can score the ball in a flurry.”

Bayless, like fellow Boston guard Avery Bradley, who is a restricted free agent, can play both guard positions.

Who is the best fit with the Pistons projected 10 million dollar cap space?

During the Pistons last championship run, the biggest free agent signing outside of the organization was Darvin Ham. “Dunkin’ Darvin” provided just what the Pistons will be looking for tonight when the clock strikes midnight.

Players that can contribute, while providing energy and veteran leadership.

It’s a good question that only Detroit executives can answer over the next couple weeks.

The other major need for the Pistons is on the wing. Finishing 29th in three point shooting and among the bottom of the league in team defense, Detroit is searching for a stop gap at small forward. Luol Deng, Gordon Hayward, and Paul Pierce will get a lot of attention across the board.

Yet the Pistons will look for someone to compete with and compliment Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko, and Kyle Singler.

As much as Trevor Ariza’s name has been thrown out there as a potential target, it’s hard to imagine the Pistons getting into a bidding war for the Wizards forward that really turned his game around this season. He is arguably the best affordable three point threat on the market, but might just be too much for a cash strapped team.

One thing that has been clear is that no matter who signs as a free agent to play in Detroit, it won’t be because the Pistons are trying to win the sprint to the 2015 playoffs.

Stan Van Gundy is in this for the marathon.

He envisions building a perennial championship contender the right way, by not rushing something that isn’t there.

Gone are the days of signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva because the franchise has the money to spend.

Stan Van Gundy won’t reach for players like Josh Smith and count on them to play anything different than their best role on a team.

The next couple weeks might not be exciting to fans because of the lack of blockbuster names that will be mentioned with the Pistons.

I’ll take a long and bright future though over a handful of days full of exciting possibilities.

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