The Detroit Pistons said goodbye Tuesday night to Tayshaun Prince, their lone member of the 2004 world championship team. It appears financial reasons were a key part behind the move.
The team announced that Prince and Austin Daye are going to the Memphis Grizzlies while Rudy Gay goes to the Toronto Raptors, who send point guard Jose Calderon to the Pistons. While Prince was a fan favorite going back to the 2004 title days, it seemed logical to unload him as the franchise continues to fill in with young talent in its bid to return to NBA contention.
Prince was a starter and his spot was taken by Rodney Stuckey Tuesday night in a loss to the Indiana Pacers. Apparently, Stuckey and coach Lawrence Frank have kissed and made up from their dispute, which resulted in Stuckey being benched recently.
Calderon gives the Pistons additional depth at point guard, although how he fits in with Will Bynum, Brandon Knight and Stuckey remains to be seen. But Stuckey had better enjoy being a starter while it lasts.
Pistons general manager Joe Dumars said in a statement that Calderon gives the team “tremendous flexibility on the court.”
Calderon is averaging 11.7 points and 7.4 assists per game. Prince has career totals of 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest.
But the move saves Detroit from paying Prince the next two seasons and will put the team around $30 million below the salary cap for next year. Undoubtedly, Dumars will try to lure another good player to try building his team into a more consistent winner.
It’s surprising that Daye lasted this long with Detroit after a horrible shooting season last year. He occasionally showed promise, but only occasionally.