Rebuilding is hard work and it takes as much luck as it does skill. One example of this is the Pistons.
The building blocks for success are beginning to take hold, and while Dumars has exhibited great patience, he has received his share of criticism during this prolonged rebuilding process. "We like the direction that we’re headed,’’ Dumars said. "We knew that going with some younger guys in key roles, we knew with a new coach coming in, we expected to get off to a bumpy start. But we also expected to get better as well and we’re doing that and we like the growth that we’re showing right now.’’ The Pistons were in a situation similar to one the Celtics are in now. That 2004 team, loaded with unselfish veterans, unseated the Lakers to win the NBA title. The Pistons went to a Game 7 the next season against San Antonio and were perhaps a Rasheed Wallace missed defensive assignment against Robert Horry from winning again.
They tried to rebuild by clearing cap space, just as Danny Ainge plans to do. The kicker is that they used all that cap space on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Their rebuilding process is just now starting to recover and they are finally showing signs of turning a corner. A cautionary tale to be sure.
If the C's miss out on Dwight Howard and maybe Deron Williams, then the free agent prospects this year aren't much better than those two and likely aren't worth overpaying for. Which is why I'm in favor of using the cap space to trade for someone or banking the space for a later date. Cap space is great and all, as long as you use it right.