While watching the Trailblazers-Celtics game last night,my wife asked,"If Boston wanted Rasheed Wallace,why couldn't the Pistons use him?"You see she's a Piston fan,more of a casual one since she really can't bear to watch an effortless team parade toward Lotteryland.I'm a Pistons fan through and through.It's where I'm from so I'll always support them.Well,back to the point of today's posting.We always have the discussion about how the business of sports works.More specifically about when to break a contender up and start over.
A lot of people in the Detroit area were upset about the Chauncey Billups-Allen Iverson trade.Including my wife.At that point it seemed like a trade that wanted to put fans in the seats.You know,get a bonafide superstar without a championship,and add him to a team that made the Eastern Conference finals for 6 straight seasons and you might make a deep run in the playoffs.In addition,seeing someone fresh and new,you could put a few extra fannies in the seats.My wife hated that move,but I explained that since Iverson had an expiring contract they had to get something for Billups while they could.If it worked out for the Pistons,great.If not,then they had the option to start the rebuilding process instead of waiting out everyone's contract,having an old team going nowhere.Which is something I always bring up.You can't let a team age and just get old without having younger talent in place for the future.This is something I alluded to in a previous post about the current Celtics.They have 3 of the premier players in the league,but in the NBA you can get old quickly.Just ask the Miami Heat (2001) about that.Yes someone wanted Rasheed Wallace.He signed with the Celtics.But they had a better role for him,also he's a better fit with Boston than Detroit.I explained that to her as well as the art of the trade nowdays in the NBA.You try to trade a player with a heavy contract for a player with equal ability and value with a contract that is up after the season.It just didn't work out well for the Pistons.
In the NBA,when your team has a lot of good,but not great players such as the Pistons did,there will come a point where you have to cast an eye to the future.Detroit wasn't getting any better as they were constructed.They would've put up 50 or more wins in the regular season, only to be embarrassed by teams they once dominated such as Atlanta,Cleveland,and Orlando.Then you would have to hear,why didn't they get rid of these players when you could've? Joe Dumars had to do something .It's just that the wrong move was made last year.If you allow your team to get old without having younger talent to take their place, there will be a longer,steeper climb back to the top.Celtic fans know all about this.They weren't going to trade Larry Bird,Kevin McHale,or Robert Parish,but they got older and eventually walked away from Boston with no one there to take their place.Of course the untimely deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis didn't help.In the early 90's when the Pistons were surpassed by the Chicago Bulls,they were devoid of younger talent to replenish the roster which led to some dark days at the Palace.The Los Angeles Lakers seemed to overcome this phenomenon by getting lucky with younger,cheaper talent like Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones and Vlade Divac,the latter two being parlayed into Kobe Bryant.Good things don't last forever.Some fans need to learn to let go.Sometimes you have to get bad before you're good again.If management makes the right moves and has a little luck it can happen a little quicker.You gotta learn how to bridge the gap.