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Trailing by 32 points to the Golden State Warriors last night, Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince ignited a heated exchange with coach John Kuester. It’s the second time in this young season that Prince has gotten into it with his coach.As a stalwart of Piston teams that reached the Eastern Conference Finals six consecutive years, Prince is probably just frustrated with all of the losing. But he’s also frustrated with the coaching.
“We have a lot of talent on this team…But I think at the same time coach is having a hard time trying to figure the right pieces out,” Prince told Fanhouse.
Then again, Prince is taking a shot at management, too. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons Prince alleges Kuester has a problem “figuring out the pieces” is the gluttony of wing players on the roster – one of which is the disgruntled Prince.
Normally, this would be a clear sign that the Pistons should start shopping the 30-year-old Prince. But the murky ownership situation complicates things.
Prince is the team’s longest tenured (9 seasons) and second highest-paid ($11M) player. He is a free agent this summer and has made it clear he’ll be shopping his services to the highest bidder.
The Pistons can go one of two ways. They can trade him and get something in return; or, they can allow him to sulk through the season, so the new owners won’t have to commit as much to player costs in their first full season at the helm.
Without knowing who their new owners are, let alone in what direction they want to travel, this is an impossible decision. But the most rational move is to trade him while he still has value.
The Pistons have been stuck in neutral for three seasons now. It’s unlikely that Prince suddenly becomes key to their revival. And while salary cap space is useful for some teams, it won’t be for the Pistons in 2011 when the lone marquee free agent is another wing – Carmelo Anthony.
Best to see if they can ship the rangy forward for someone that improves their team in the near and long-term. General Manager Joe Dumars should pray for an available point guard or big man, and current owner Karen Davidson should pray that doesn’t deter the team’s sale.
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