While everyone was waiting to see if Atlanta's Josh Smith, Boston's Kevin Garnett and the Lakers' Dwight Howard would be moved by Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline, the Pistons stood from a position of strength for the first time in a very long time.

The Pistons were fine with the move they made a month ago, when they traded Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade for point guard Jose Calderon.

It doesn't mean there weren't offers, but the Pistons weren't compelled to bite on any of them. Trade rumors had Portland offering forward J.J. Hickson for Jason Maxiell, but Portland wanted a first-round pick in return, a sure deal-breaker. The San Antonio Spurs also inquired about Maxiell, while the Oklahoma City Thunder were interested in Will Bynum.

Bynum and Maxiell will both become free agents at the end of the season, when the Pistons are among a handful of teams in prime position to be a major player come free agency and in the trade market.

After a few years of having money tied up in underperforming players, the Pistons are finally in a position to breathe.

They are expected to have at least $25 million under the salary cap, should the cap stay around $58 million. The contracts of Bynum, Maxiell, Corey Maggette and Jose Calderon expire after the season, although the Pistons view Calderon as a candidate to return.

Although the Pistons have a slim chance of putting together a run for the eighth spot (5-1/2 games back), this was a sign of looking toward the future — something fans have been clamoring for in recent years.

Even Maxiell, who's struggling after a strong start, has wrapped his mind around what's coming — before Andre Drummond suffered his back injury, Drummond was on track to start before the All-Star break — and Maxiell understood.

"I understand what the plan is, this team is working on things, to see if Andre and Greg (Monroe) can work together, to see if I can bring energy off the bench," Maxiell said. "I wasn't performing to my highest peak as I should've been. If somebody's playing better, you start him."

"I'm going to keep on putting the extra work in during practice and finish out the season, try to make this playoff run."

Of the players who were moved, none were guys who the Pistons were truly looking at in the future. Any explosive, elite wings capable of playing shooting guard and small forward —positions of need come July — stayed in the jersey in which they started the day.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130221/SPORTS0102/302210460#ixzz2LdwrwDTx