Fred VanVleet rumors are swirling with NBA Free Agency on the horizon. And he’s a guy the Detroit Pistons should avoid at all costs.
Fred VanVleet being on the Detroit Pistons radar should scare fans.
The reason for that is the organization is at risk of repeating history. After all, Pistons’ fans have seen this story multiple times. And they’ve seen for close to two decades. The Pistons have made numerous wrong decisions in NBA free agency. Each time they get a little bit of cap space, the organization signs a player (or two) who flat out don’t cut the mustard.
And to make matters worse, the players they signed were all overpaid. For an organization with rebuilding aspirations, the Pistons must treat Vanvleet like the plague.
The Pistons must distance themselves from recent history.
Mediocre signings describe the free agency moves of both Joe Dumars and Stan Van Gundy. When both were Pistons’ president of basketball ops, they were also in charge of player personnel.
And they made countless errors in free agency.
Now let’s be fair to Troy Weaver. The new Pistons’ general manager hasn’t had the opportunity to put his imprint on the team. He’s preparing for his first NBA draft and free agency with Detroit. So it would not be fair to blame him for the PTSD that predecessors in his position caused Pistons fans.
However, let’s revisit a few of those moves.
When discussing some of the free-agent blunders of Joe Dumars, throwing $90 million collectively to Charlie Villaneuva and Ben Gordon stick out like a sore thumb. The two players came to Detroit and mailed it in. After signing with the Pistons, both players began the downside of their careers. Gordon went from scoring 20 points per game to nowhere near it for the rest of his career. Then there was Charlie V, who virtually provided nothing for the Pistons. The mere fact the Pistons paid him $40 million is mindboggling.
Most would agree they could’ve found a significantly cheaper option if they wanted a guy to get only 11 points and four rebounds a game.
Let’s not forget the signing of Josh Smith either!
Dumars signed him to a four-year, $54 million deal when the market for him was a year less for half the money. Stan Van Gundy isn’t exempt here. He’s had several bad signings himself. Re-signing Reggie Jackson and picking up Jon Leurer were financial setbacks.
Bringing in Fred VanVleet would fit in the same category as those signings.
If not Fred VanVleet, then who?
The Pistons have fully committed to a rebuild. It was evident when the team finally moved on from franchise staple Andre Drummond at last season’s trade deadline. And according to rumors, they’re looking to move Blake Griffin as well.
This type of news is music to the ears of Pistons fans who understand their cap space.
Fred VanVleet is one helluva player. He’s a reliable shooter and would provide immediate help to the Pistons spacing issues. After all, Bruce Brown is excellent on defense but a liability on offense. The problem with signing Vanvleet is the four-year, $85-90 million deal rumors say he is expecting. His production doesn’t warrant the price tag, especially with the Pistons rebuilding. As talented as he is, Vanvleet is not the type of guy who can be the cornerstone of a franchise. When a team like the Pistons is trying to attract more free agents, Vanvleet will not be the significant signing point for any marquee name.
VanVleet is an NBA champion, so he knows how to win. However, the rebuilding Pistons don’t need a $90 million locker room guy. They need a player who can excite fans, potentially attract free agents, and be the cornerstone of the franchise.
The Pistons need a guy like Brandon Ingram.
Better yet, the Pistons should do their due diligence and offer the Pelicans restricted free agent a deal. With Detroit not being a free agent destination, they’ll have to overpay anyone they acquire. Reaching out to the Pelicans to execute a sign and trade for Ingram would significantly advance the Pistons rebuilding process.
Should they decide to go after Fred VanVleet, they’ll repeat the same pattern from previous management, one they’re working to eliminate.