Today, Joe Dumars made progress.
And that progress has nothing to do with what Corey Maggette may or may not bring to the Detroit Pistons in the 2012-2013 NBA season.
There was a time when Corey Maggette was an intriguing and productive NBA player who demonstrated a remarkable ability to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. But age and injury raise serious questions about his ability to do that while wearing Red, White, and Piston Blue. A quick look at his stats illustrate the point.
Stats courtesy of The NBA Geek
Yes, it’s possible (if very unlikely) that being traded to Detroit could rejuvenate Corey Maggette’s career. Antonio McDyess and Tracy McGrady both know a little bit about how injured veterans can rediscover their productivity under the careful watch of Arnie Kander.
But even if he doesn’t return to his pre-thirty-year-old form, acquiring Corey Maggette is an important step for the Detroit Pistons – if for no other reason than it demonstrates that the franchise is finally moving forward from its dismal failures of the summer of 2009.
Ben Gordon, signed in the summer of 2009 along with Charlie Villanueva, has been an enigma. By Wins Produced, Ben Gordon was never a star player, but since coming to Detroit, he hasn’t even played at a rotation-caliber level. A quick look at his numbers illustrate the point.
Whatever Ben Gordon’s problems have been, I sincerely hope he figures them out in Charlotte and realizes his full potential. He’s been an active member of Detroit’s community and seems like a genuinely good person.
From a basketball perspective, Maggette’s best has been better than Gordon’s, but that simply cannot be Dumars’ motivation. Likely, Maggette’s career is nearing its end, and he doesn’t fit any need the Pistons currently have.
This trade wasn’t about a talent upgrade, filling a roster need, or making an immediate improvement in the Win-Loss department. Corey Maggette the player doesn’t make the Pistons better.
But the financial flexibility that his expiring contract may provide might.
If Jason Maxiell picks up his player option, the Pistons suddenly have two expiring contracts that may be enticing to teams who will be scrambling to avoid the increasingly punitive luxury tax of the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the summer of 2013.
But even if Maggette and Maxiel remain Pistons for the duration of the 2012-2013 season, this trade – I hope – was about cutting ties with a failed “retooling” strategy and starting a true rebuild around one of the game’s most promising young big men, Greg Monroe.
Here’s hoping that on draft night, Joe Dumars takes the next step in that reinvention.