The offseason hasn't been kind to these five teams
Posted: Monday July 24, 2006 12:09PM; Updated: Monday July 24, 2006 3:19PM
Free-agent signee Nazr Mohammed will help the Pistons forget Ben Wallace on paper, but he likely won't be as effective on the court.
The NBA offseason isn't over; any team could still swing a sign-and-trade for Shaquille O'Neal.Barring that unlikely circumstance, the NBA's shopping season hasn't been a joyous one for every team. If recent NBA history is any guide, this summer has been a step back for the Pistons, Rockets, Knicks, Jazz and SuperSonics. Let's explore why.
There are several reasons a team would pass on matching a $60 million offer for a 32-year-old, undersized center, but the fact remains that the Pistons lost the second-best center in the Eastern Conference this summer for absolutely no compensation.
Pistons GM Joe Dumars made a solid recovery by bringing in Spurs center Nazr Mohammed for below market value. Problem is, he doesn't fit in the Detroit system. He's never been a screen-setter on the perimeter (Flip Saunders' offense requires big men to be light on their feet some 20 feet from the basket, while avoiding offensive fouls), nor has Mohammed ever been a defensive stalwart. Still, he's a fine center, just not for the Pistons.
Picking up Flip Murray on the cheap was a good move, but this team's bench is still paper-thin, and Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace (both 32 years old on opening night) will be playing hefty minutes this season in spite of Mohammed's presence.
Making all this worse were the depth-killing moves made behind the scenes, seemingly created with Wallace's return in mind. Detroit sent Carlos Arroyo and Darko Milicic to Orlando in February for a future first-rounder and eventual cap space to sign Wallace, only to watch as Big Ben dashed off to Chicago and Milicic starting developing in the Sunshine State. The rumors behind the head-scratching deal that sent Maurice Evans to the Lakers intimated that Detroit was just dumping the solid bench forward because some Pistons from last year (Big Ben among them) regarded him as a bit of a spy for Saunders. Now that Wallace is gone, what was the point? And where's the bench?
Detroit certainly won't be ruing the Wallace deal in 2009-10, but for the time being they've taken a significant step backward.