December 08, 2011
As a veteran player with heaps of playoff experience that spent the last two seasons working on a struggling team, Tayshaun Prince seemed primed to hop to whatever "almost there" championship candidate would have him. Pick any conference semifinalist from last season, and Prince would have fit right in.
And yet, the long-armed defender is heading back to Detroit to play for the rebuilding Pistons. Score one for improved organizational competence, apparently. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the lowdown:
For the Pistons, convincing Prince to re-sign was the franchise's No. 1 priority, and something of a coup considering the tumultuous past two seasons for him and the longstanding core of veteran players. With the market for starting small forwards thinning, the Pistons would've been in a bind had Prince decided to leave.
Woj went on to point out that a new Piston era under owner Tom Gores (improved facilities, a respected coach in Lawrence Frank, his longtime relationship with Pistons GM Joe Dumars, the absence of a lame duck ownership group) helped sway Prince. Four years and $27 million for someone who will turn 32 in three months didn't hurt.
This is a blow to other teams, closer to the top of that mountain. The Chicago Bulls have a younger Prince-type in Luol Deng, but they're still on the lookout for wing help with Caron Butler's defection to Los Angeles to play with the Clippers. The San Antonio Spurs need help at the position with the release of Richard Jefferson, but Piston security kept Prince at home. A "have-not," of sorts, won one for once.
Your move, "haves."