At the stroke of midnight, the NBA sales pitch will begin, trying to entice some of the biggest stars to switch jerseys or to stay at home. Some will show up at the doors of the few marquee players, such as the Lakers’ Dwight Howard, who’s seemingly hosting a free agent summit for his suitors. The other big name, the Clippers’ Chris Paul, has already cut off the lights on the bat signal, letting everyone know he’s staying in Los Angeles. The Pistons weren’t in contention for one of the home run hitters. They’re swinging for some “doubles” instead, termed a team official, with the $20 million plus they have to spend this summer. “We’re in position to make a significant jump,” Pistons president Joe Dumars said, intimating the Pistons would be more active in the trade market than free agency. In his office inside the Pistons practice facility lies the name of every player on every team in the league. Next to the name is a number, the year his contract is up. They were already slated to have space this offseason, but once they traded Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince for the expiring contract of Jose Calderon, they were putting themselves in position to at least bid for free agents. They’re still going out to take their cuts, and it could be more than batting practice. If they get close enough, owner Tom Gores will be involved in the recruiting process. Atlanta’s Josh Smith, Denver’s Andre Iguodala and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Martin will be the top objects of the Pistons’ affections — but then again, with a less-than-stellar free agent class, they won’t be the only suitors. Smith is capable of playing both small forward and power forward, and the Pistons have been interested in him for over five years, dating back to the end of their contending days. Smith is the most likely to command a maximum contract, but although the Pistons have interest in him, they won’t offer anything close to that amount, as they’ve made clear that ensuring flexibility for future seasons is paramount. Iguodala is the top swingman on the board, but could return to Denver if the price is right. The Pistons have liked Martin, a shooting guard who played in Sacramento and Houston before being traded for All-Star James Harden prior to this last season.
Pistons poised to make 'significant jump' in free agency
Detroit News | Jul 1