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Murray could be used at trade fodder

June 28, 2007

Pistons guard Flip Murray could be used as trade bait during tonight's draft after he picked up his player option for next season.

The Pistons still have no definitive news from forward Antonio McDyess or his agent, Andy Miller. But the team expects word to come sometime before the draft that the former All-Star will pick up his option as well.

McDyess, who will make $6.3 million if he stays, is likely to receive a contract extension this summer.

But if Chauncey Billups decides to go elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent, McDyess might opt to play only one more year with the Pistons.

KRISTA JAHNKE

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070628/SPORTS03/706280411/1051

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NIGHT OF INTRIGUE: Garnett trade could shake up deep draft

Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

AUBURN HILLS -- George David, director of scouting for the Pistons, isn't prone to hyperbole. So when he says tonight's NBA draft could be as impacting as any in the last five or six years, you take note.

"In most years, you would say that if the players taken in the top 15 to 20 picks reach their upside, it's a really good draft," David said. "But with this draft, you can say that about every pick in the first round. There's that much talent."

David also said it could be the most volatile draft in recent years.

Trade rumors involving Kevin Garnett alone make it that. At least four teams (Minnesota, Phoenix, Atlanta and Boston) could be affected.

# Phoenix has pursued trades to get one of the top eight picks.

* Philadelphia, desperate to land Georgetown forward Jeff Green, is trying to swap its 12th pick for Boston's fifth.

* Seattle is trying to pry away Atlanta's 11th pick for point guard Luke Ridnour.

* Golden State is trying to trade up to get China's Yi Jianlian.

* Atlanta, Charlotte and Chicago also have discussed moving their picks and Indiana is trying to trade its way into the first round.

The Pistons have been one of few teams to stay out of the fray. They are content with their 15th and 27th picks in the first round and 57th of the second.

By all accounts, the Pistons' first choice would be Southern California swingman Nick Young, whose explosive first step and mid-range shooting wowed the team. But most expect Young to be gone before No. 15, maybe 13th to New Orleans.

If Young is gone, the Pistons likely would select Eastern Washington's Rodney Stuckey, strong, 6-foot-5 guard. The best shooter to work out for the Pistons, Young also showed he can handle the ball and get to the basket.

Stuckey, however, might be gone by 15, too. Reports are that if the Sonics can convince the Hawks to move their No. 11 pick, they would take Stuckey. The Clippers, who draft 14th, could also steal Stuckey. If that happened, the Pistons would hope Texas A&M guard Acie Law, Georgia Tech forward Thaddeus Young or 6-8 Kansas forward Julian Wright were available.

With the 27th pick, the Pistons will be hoping one of the following players is available: Rice guard Morris Almond (6-6), Italian guard Marco Belinelli (6-5), Vanderbilt forward Derrick Byars (6-7), Ohio State guard Daequan Cook (6-5), USC point guard Gabe Pruitt (6-4) or Arizona forward Marcus Williams (6-7).

With the 57th pick, the Pistons would, in most years, draft a foreign player and stash him overseas for a couple years. But, as David said, with this draft so deep, a player whom the Pistons feel has first-round talent could be selected.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070628/SPORTS0102/706280423/1127

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Sky's the limit; Pistons ready for draft

BY KRISTA JAHNKE

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

Scan a list of No. 15 picks in recent NBA drafts, and you will find a solid if not awe-inspiring group. One or two stars, a few NBA rotation players and just a few flameouts.

But the Pistons would say studying recent history is a waste of time when it comes to tonight's NBA draft.

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Or rather, they would point to a different list of names -- Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Vince Carter.

Those players all went at No. 5. And the way the Pistons -- who also pick at No. 27 and No. 57 -- figure it, their first pick at No. 15 tonight is as good as a No. 5 pick in most other seasons.

And they're not entirely batty to believe so.

"This is a draft that is extremely heavy in talented upsides," Pistons director of scouting George David said. "What I mean by that is in some drafts, you might get to eight, nine or 10, and that's where All-Star status ends. And between 11 and 20, the starter status ends. And between 20 and 35, the backup area ends. That's all pushed down in this draft."

Much can be attributed to the one-year rule instituted a year ago that barred high school seniors and those not turning 19 within the calendar year from entering the draft.

Instead, those players -- from sure-thing No. 1 pick Greg Oden to No. 2 Kevin Durant to lottery locks such as Spencer Hawes, Brandan Wright, Mike Conley Jr. and Javaris Crittenton -- all had to get one year of collegiate seasoning.

What's more, Florida stars Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Al Horford made the rare decision to stay in school after winning their first championship in 2006.

Add in Chinese prospect Yi Jianlian, who is reportedly (and some say disputably) only 19, and that's 10 players -- all likely be picked before the Pistons select -- who might have tested the NBA waters a year ago under different circumstances.

"It's just a unique, unique draft in that regard," David said.

That means the pressure is on to use the No. 15 pick wisely. The Pistons want to add an athletic, hungry player who can make an immediate mark in the rotation. Positional needs will be considered, but above all, team president Joe Dumars wants a winner.

"Part of what we're looking for with those young guys is not only the talent, but that sense of urgency," Dumars said earlier this month. "We don't want guys who underachieved. We don't want guys who have been coddled. We want guys coming with an edge, with something to prove. ... Yeah, we're looking at them talent-wise, but we also want to know what's on their mind going forward."

The Pistons should have their pick of at least two of the following players: guards Nick Young, Rodney Stuckey and Crittenton, and forwards Thaddeus Young, Al Thornton and Jason Smith.

Predicting just who will still be available, though, is a crapshoot.

One NBA executive said he'd never heard so much trade talk prior to a draft and that as many as five picks in front of the Pistons -- Atlanta at No. 3, Boston at No. 5, Charlotte at No. 8, Chicago at No. 9 and Philadelphia at No. 12 -- could change hands tonight.

But regardless if the teams swap, the names in that top 12 shouldn't change too much.

It's the three picks before the Pistons that have them wondering who will be available.

If the Hornets at No. 13 let USC's Nick Young, the highest-rated shooting guard in the draft, slide by, he could be the Pistons' pick. If the Los Angeles Clippers don't take Crittenton, a 6-foot-5, athletic point guard, he'd be highly considered.

Contrary to some reports, the Pistons never promised Eastern Washington combo guard Stuckey that they would take him, but that doesn't mean they don't like him. They do, and he fits the mold of the play-hard kind of guy Dumars wants.

Thaddeus Young is the youngest of the players under consideration. The Georgia Tech small forward played just one season but has a huge upside with 6-8 size and solid athleticism. Still, he's more of a project.

Thornton could go as early as No. 12. The versatile Florida State product played four years of college ball and can score a variety of ways, including taking defenders off the dribble, a skill the Pistons have hoped to find.

Smith is a 7-foot big man from Colorado State, and the Pistons do need a post player who can play with his back to the basket, as Smith can.

For the Pistons' second pick, at No. 27, the list of potential draftees includes Rice's Morris Almond, Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars, USC's Gabe Pruitt, Wisconsin's Alando Tucker and Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray.

And unlike previous seasons, when the Pistons' veteran lineup made it clear rookies would rarely see playing time outside of practice, these picks will get opportunities immediately.

"Since we have No. 15 and 27, and because of the fact that we do want to instill some youth and energy into the team," team vice president John Hammond said, "we surely hope there would be opportunity to play right away."

Contact KRISTA JAHNKE at 313-223-4493 or kjahnke@freepress.com.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070628/SPORTS03/706280417/1051

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Stuckey would love to become a Piston

Free Press special writer Gabe Edelson caught up with some NBA draft prospects in New York. Here is what they're saying:

• Eastern Washington's Rodney Stuckey, on visiting the Pistons: "Detroit's a really good program, an organization that I would love to go to. ... Joe Dumars and I kind of have similarities, coming from a small school, and him doing well in the NBA. When I went there, I worked out really well. They really liked me, I liked them."

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• Stuckey, on his jump from a small school to the NBA: "That's why I have a chip on my shoulder. Coming from a small school, people not knowing who I really am and what I really can do, that's what I gotta do, that's what I gotta show. So I'm going to do it."

• Stuckey, on his draft-night outfit: "My suit's going to be looking nice, it's pretty nice. They did a really good job of picking out the color, and stuff like that. I'm not telling, I'm not saying what color it is, but it's a nice suit."

• Texas A&M's Acie Law IV, on being a potential Piston: "That would be huge. I like to compare myself to Chauncey Billups. For me to get the opportunity to play behind him and learn from him, I think that would do wonders for my career. I would love to get that opportunity."

• Law, on whether the Pistons are really considering him: "I didn't work out for the Pistons, so I haven't heard any feedback."

• Ohio State's Mike Conley Jr., on whom he looks up to: "Isiah Thomas. He's at the top of the pedestal. I got to know him pretty well. I love his game and everything he did and brought to the table."

• Conley, on the Big Ten: "We didn't get too many fouls called during the whole season. Nobody goes to the free-throw line at all when you play a Big Ten game. When you get to the (NCAA) tournament, the refs are a lot more strict and you can get to the free-throw line. It makes you that much better of a team. It helped me out tremendously down the stretch."

• Florida's Al Horford, on growing up in Grand Ledge: "I think it helped me develop my game to help me get to the college level. I think playing AAU basketball with the Michigan Mustangs helped me a lot, and pretty much shaped me and gave me the opportunity to be able to play at Florida. So it was a very important phase in my life."

Quick hits

• The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times has been at the forefront of the Chauncey Billups-to-Milwaukee speculation for a long time, and Wednesday's edition was no different. Writer Gery Woelfel said Billups' agent, Andy Miller, said the Pistons will be given every opportunity to re-sign him, but it would "be foolish" not to listen to offers from Milwaukee. Miller added that Billups likes the makeup of the Bucks' roster.

• SI.com's Kelly Dwyer ranked all 30 NBA general managers, and put Dumars No. 3 behind San Antonio's R.C. Buford and Dallas' Donnie Nelson. Among Dwyer's analysis: "Dumars' Pistons have been the class of the East for years, but he's also developed a roster that is long on arrogance and short on sealing the deal in the playoffs since the 2004 championship." New York's Isiah Thomas is No. 25.

• Former Fab Fiver Juwan Howard will meet Chandler Atkinson, a 13-year-old basketball player from Massachusetts, today in New York to increase awareness of how people with asthma can pursue active lifestyles.

Compiled from staff reports and news services.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070628/SPORTS03/706280401/1051

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Five players the Pistons will consider

June 28, 2007

POSSIBLE FUTURE PISTONS

The Pistons own the No. 15 and No. 27 picks in the first round and the No. 57 pick in the second round. “We don’t want guys who have been coddled,” president Joe Dumars said. “We want guys coming with an edge, with something to prove.” Some players the Pistons might take at No. 15:

G RODNEY STUCKEY

School: Eastern Washington.

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 207.

Age: 21.

The skinny: Competition is questionable but can shoot and defend.

F THADDEUS YOUNG

School: Georgia Tech.

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 210.

Age: 19.

The skinny: Talented but might be too raw.

G/F NICK YOUNG

School: Southern Cal.

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 206.

Age: 22.

The skinny: Top-rated shooting guard.

PG JAVARIS CRITTENTON

School: Georgia Tech.

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 194.

Age: 19.

The skinny: Athletic PG might be gone.

F/C JASON SMITH

School: Colorado State.

Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 233.

Age: 21.

The skinny: Solid fundamentals but must get stronger

F AL THORNTON

School: Florida State.

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 221.

Age: 23.

The skinny: Athletic forward who can score.

FORMAT

Teams have five minutes to make first-round selections and two minutes to make second-round selections.

DRAFT ORDER

The Free Press’ Krista Jahnke projects top 5 and the Pistons' picks:

1. Portland

C Greg Oden Ohio St.

2. Seattle

F Kevin Durant Texas

3. Atlanta

F Al Horford Florida

4. Memphis

G Mike Conley Jr. Ohio St.

5. Boston

F Jeff Green Georgetown

15. Detroit

G/F Nick Young Southern Cal

27. Detroit

G Gabe Pruitt Southern Cal

TWO CENTS

Don’t mess up tonight, Joe. This is the most important Pistons draft in years, and Dumars’ draft record is almost as bad as Matt Millen’s. (Remember Darko Milicic, Mateen Cleaves and Rodney White?) How about finding the next Tayshaun Prince or Mehmet Okur instead?

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070628/SPORTS03/70628005/1051

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Interesting about Flip Murray. If they get one of the guards they want with 15, then Murray really is of no use anymore. Maybe they could package him with the 57th to move up in the 2nd round and get a guy who slipped past the 1st round.

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Interesting about Flip Murray. If they get one of the guards they want with 15, then Murray really is of no use anymore. Maybe they could package him with the 57th to move up in the 2nd round and get a guy who slipped past the 1st round.

is the market really that high for Murray. I doubt the pistons would be able to move up much by trading murray, as this is a deep draft

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i heard on radio that if the garnett trade doesnt happen, the sonics might trade for atlantas #11 pick and take Stuckey, so we might not get him. i hope young/crittenton/law/thornton are available when we pick, id like one of those 4

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There is also the possibility that one of Brandan Wright or Julian Wright fall as well.

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I don't believe that Detroit isn't in all this trade talk, there is just way too much of it going on for them not to .. with Rasheed and two first round picks.

I won't even try and predict a thing with this draft, being that I suspect this to be one of the more eventful drafts, with all the trades, in a long time.

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Yes, I noticed that news about the Sonics looking at Stuckey as well. I've also heard that Atlanta will take Law and maybe the Clippers will take N Young. Some people even have T Young going before us. All I can say is that if all those guys are gone, that means somebody else will drop to us. We're actually in a pretty good spot at 15 to get a player we want or steal anything that slips through the lottery cracks.

As for Murray's value, you're probably right that it isn't high, but you never know. We have some combination of Murray, Nazr, and that 57th pick that we might be able to use to slide up even 10 or 15 spots in the 2nd round. That's a pretty good spot to get someone that slipped by.

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Oye, If the Pistons don't end up with Stuckey or Law at 15 I'll be happy. Stuckey - Flip Murray II, Law - upside of average. I'd be happy with either of the Young's, a Thornton, or a Wright at 15. I don't care much what they get at 27, probably just fodder anyway.

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Interesting about Flip Murray. If they get one of the guards they want with 15, then Murray really is of no use anymore. Maybe they could package him with the 57th to move up in the 2nd round and get a guy who slipped past the 1st round.

I'd be happy to get a 2nd rounder for him in 2020, I'd give one up almost to get rid of him, and maybe a #1 to get rid of Nazr. Dump his contract, free's up another 2 mill to put toward Chauncey and Amir J.

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Acie Law reminds me of Randolph Childress. I don't think he's going to make it in the NBA.

I just want the Pistons to get a player who can create his own shot and get to the basket.

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I know there's been a lot of speculation about Law and the Pistons, but there's one sign that should tell you we won't draft him: We never brought him in for a workout.

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Watching Jalen Rose as a commentator is painful. I swear he's a wind up toy and they just feed his lines into one of those computer simulated voice machines.

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I keep hearing all this trade talk in the East and no Piston talk involved and it's scary. I hear Celtics might get Ray Allen, Knicks might get Randolph, Rashard Lewis may be heading to Orlando. I see all these teams trying to get a star and get better and I see us potentially overpaying to sign Billups and sticking with our team (and coach) that couldn't get past the Cavs. Unless Joe's got something up his sleeve, if some of these trades happen, I'm afraid we might be looking at a free fall.

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Somebody please punch Steven A in the face. I haven't been this annoyed since...well... since...ever.

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Acie Law reminds me of Randolph Childress. I don't think he's going to make it in the NBA.

I just want the Pistons to get a player who can create his own shot and get to the basket.

Law is much bigger and a true point guard, Childress was an undersized shooting guard, who they tried to make a point.

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I don't think Acie Law is a bad player, I just think he's far over valued at 15 in this draft, at 27 he would be a good pick up.

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Watching Jalen Rose as a commentator is painful. I swear he's a wind up toy and they just feed his lines into one of those computer simulated voice machines.

It is hard to complain about Jalen Rose, when ESPN has Dick Vitale and Stephen A Smith on the same show. I wish their was individual volume control's, those guys aren't only cliche machines, but they feel them must talk louder too. Bilas to the rescue though, he's good, more Bilas less Vitale/Smith.

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I keep hearing all this trade talk in the East and no Piston talk involved and it's scary. I hear Celtics might get Ray Allen,

WXYT is reporting via ESPN that this is, in fact, a done deal.

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