The window is closed. But opportunity is knocking.
At least that's the optimistic view on Groundhog Day for the Pistons, now that Joe Dumars finally has lowered the curtain on his team's run of championship-contending teams from the last decade.
Gone is Tayshaun Prince, the only player left from the roster that won an NBA title in 2004 and played in six consecutive Eastern Conference finals. And here Dumars is again, flush with cash to spend and the freedom to make moves.
Problem is, the last time around — in the summer of 2009 — Dumars essentially flushed his good fortune down the toilet.
So, yes, he's aware we're all a bit skeptical when it comes to his next moves, though you certainly can't argue with Wednesday's three-way trade that packaged Prince and Austin Daye — another of Dumars' more-recent mistakes — and brought a veteran point guard in Jose Calderon in return.
"I wish we all could bat a thousand," said Dumars, who's clearly not batting anything close to that. "But, you know, you live and learn."
And, in Dumars' case, you learn to live for another day, and a chance — probably his last — to make amends.
As the Pistons head toward this summer's free agency with $25 million or so in salary-cap space, fans undoubtedly will have flashbacks to 2009, when Dumars plunked down $90 million for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, two players who proved to be free-agent busts, at best.
But as he looks to the future, Dumars not surprisingly has a different view. He says this current situation reminds him more of 2001, when the Pistons — having lost Grant Hill in a sign-and-trade deal to Orlando — finally shed those awful teal uniforms and started piecing together a championship team.
"It's a completely different scenario," he says of his two career crossroads as an NBA executive.
Joe Dumars optimistic he can reshape Pistons into a champion
Detroit News | Feb 2