Ever since their resurgence in the mid-2000s, the Detroit Pistons have been known for defense, toughness and a hard-working attitude that comes mostly from the years Ben Wallace(notes) was still able to jump really high. The move back to red-white-and-blue uniforms from their oh-so-'90s teal atrocities referenced the Pistons' Bad Boys success, really tying things together like Jeffrey Lebowski's rug.
Then Wallace signed a huge contract with the Bulls, Chauncey Billups(notes) was traded for Allen Iverson(notes) and tons of cap space was used on Ben Gordon(notes) and Charlie Villanueva(notes). Whoops. Those are your notable personnel moves of the last four years, Joe Dumars.
And while those three moves basically signalled the end of the hard-nosed, team-oriented Pistons that garnered tons and tons of respect during their Eastern Conference mini-dynasty, the final nail in the Bad Boys 2.0 coffin didn't come until Tuesday. But as far as coffin nails go, this is a very large one. From Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
After impressing Pistons president Joe Dumars, head coach John Kuester and the Detroit training staff in a workout late last week, the Pistons became more serious about signing the free-agent forward.
Oh, awesome. Great pick-up. Not. (2010 not joke, you guys.) All joking aside, this is silliness. Sure, a $1.3 million contract for a big name like McGrady is basically nothing, and the Pistons will make that back at the gates, but what's the point?
Try as he might, Tracy McGrady's just about done. He might have a game or two a month where he looks not terrible, but the Pistons aren't contending and should be developing young talent. And while he's supposedly agreeing to come off the bench in Detroit, less than a month ago, his desire to be a starter submarined a potential deal with the Bulls. Seems fishy. Not to mention, McGrady won't be able to wear his preferred No. 3 in Detroit — that belongs to Rodney Stuckey(notes) — so he'll probably switch back to the No. 1 jersey, which he wore throughout the beginning of his career. The last Piston to wear that number was the one-and-only Allen Iverson, so that should bring back some good memories for Pistons fans. Not. (Again, 2010.)
Look, taking a flyer on McGrady for the veteran's minimum isn't the worst thing of all-time. It's just kind of sad from every angle. Sad that the Pistons are the one signing McGrady, sad that McGrady isn't very good anymore, and sad that I keep using not jokes. We can all do better.
On the plus side, late-period McGrady looks a lot like Will Smith in "Hitch," which is something I think we can all get behind.
- Tracy McGrady