Pistons trade Gordon, look to the future

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    Goodbye Ben Gordon. Detroit Pistons team president Joe Dumars recently sent him and a first-round draft pick to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Corey Maggette.

    The woeful Bobcats have the second pick in the NBA Draft after a disastrous 7-59 season. Gordon could give the Bobcats some much-needed outside shooting. They shot an NBA-worst 29.5 percent from 3-point range last season. The move comes one day after new coach Mike Dunlap said the Bobcats needed to add a 3-point shooter.

    Gordon is slated to earn $12.4 million next season and $13.2 million in 2013-14, which makes him the highest-paid player on the Bobcats roster, so Michael Jordan and company must believe that Gordon can rejuvenate himself and help Charlotte.

    The Pistons finished with a pedestrian 25-41 record, and for real Pistons fans it was yet another failed season. With a shortened year due to the lockout and a roster of unproven talent, the expectations for the 2011-12 Pistons season were set at a low bar. The Pistons weren’t expected to make the playoffs or become the Cinderella team of the NBA. Unfortunately, they lived up to those expectations.

    Fans are eager to see the Pistons get back to their winning ways. Here are some reasons to be hopeful for the Detroit Pistons in 2012-13.

    The Gordon trade was the right move by Dumars. Charlotte will get the Pistons’ first-round pick next year if they make the playoffs for the first time since 2009, a source said. If Detroit is in the 2013 draft lottery, it will keep the first-round pick if it is within the first eight selections overall. The first-round pick the Pistons owe the Bobcats from the deal would then be protected only if it is No. 1 overall in 2015 and it is unprotected in 2016.

    Gordon averaged 18.5 points per game in Chicago, during his first five years in the NBA, but for three seasons in a Pistons uniform, the shooting guard scored just 12.4 points per game. Meanwhile, Maggette is in the last year of a contract scheduled to pay him $10.9 million this season. By trading Gordon with two years and about $25 million left on his contract, the Pistons should save about $15 million.

    An eight-year NBA veteran, Gordon has shot 43.6 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line. He’s an 86 percent career free throw shooter. His career 3-point percentage currently ranks 12th among active players and 21st in NBA history, while his career free throw percentage ranks 10th among active players and 31st all-time.

    The 6-foot-3 Gordon was initially selected by the Bulls out of Connecticut with the third overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He signed with the Pistons during the 2009 offseason, part of a makeover that also included the addition of Charlie Villanueva. Detroit has not made the playoffs since then, and Gordon hasn’t come close to the 20.7-point average of his final season in Chicago.

    Maggette is a solid player, but injuries have been a problem for him. In 2011-12 he was limited to 32 games because of injuries, averaging 15 points. The 13-year veteran, in the final year of his contract, has averaged 16.2 points in his career.

    With Maggette playing the same position as Tayshaun Prince, what’s the deal there? Prince is a solid player, but this is an obvious rebuilding process, and Prince does not seem to fit into this real Pistons situation.

    Ben Wallace, God bless his soul, please do not bring him back to a team that loses more game than it wins. It is time to try the young players and see what they can bring to the table.

    The Pistons are now rebuilding around young players like Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. They cut ties with Richard Hamilton before last season, and now Gordon leaves after starting only 21 games in 2011-12.

    Let Prince and Wallace, two excellent people, go and then the real rebuilding can start.


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