At this rate, I might be able to actually get Joe Dumars' job. Let's compare everything good move he's made to the bad:
Traded for Rasheed Wallace, the last piece to the 2004 title
Did not extend a washed-up Ben Wallace
Drafted Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, Josh Howard, David West, Marquis Daniels.
Extended Rip Hamilton for 3 years and 34 million.
Traded away Chauncey Billups for a washed up Allen Iverson.
Signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for a combined 20 million dollars.
Signed Kwame Brown for any amount of money.
Hired coaches Michael Curry and John Kuester, both of which "lost their locker rooms" within 1 and 2 seasons, respectively.
Has considered Isaiah Thomas for any jobs in the organization.
Wow. Impressive. Do all these incredibly egregious offenses negate winning a title and making the Eastern Conference Finals all those years in a row? Amazingly, I don't think so. That's how much winning even 1 title means. But maybe if the Pistons stay this bad for much longer.
Rip Hamilton: 12.65 million
Ben Gordon: 11.6 million
Charlie Villanueva: 7.54 million
Jason Maxiell: 5 million
Will Bynum: 3.5 million
Rodney Stuckey: 3.86 (qualifying offer)
Greg Monroe: 3 million
Ben Wallace: 2.24 million
Austin Daye: 1.9 milion
Terrico White: 788,872
Total: 48 million
Tayshaun Prince: 11.14 million
Chris Wilcox: 3 million
Tracy McGrady: 1.3 million
DaJuan Summers: 762,195
Jonas Jerebko: 762,195
Total: 17 million
Also, let's identify who are key parts of the team going forward, for various different reasons. I think that Greg Monroe, Austin Daye and whoever they select with their 8th pick are the makings of a core. Villanueva and Gordon will also be around, for contract reasons. Bynum, Maxiell, Wallace and Rip will all be long gone by the time the Pistons are in contention again.
1). Blow up the final pieces of the 2004 Pistons
This team lost 52 games, finished 7 games behind Indiana for the final playoff spot AND had 14 million dollar worth of expiring contracts and did....what with it? Oh, nothing? Oh. Add that to the check list Dumars.
I can't imagine there was a world where Tayshaun Prince wasn't worth at least a 1st round draft pick, or Chris Wilcox a 2nd rounder. That's ludicrous to me. He's a free agent this year, and he won't want to stick around for a Detroit rebuilding effort. Goodbye, Tay.
Then there's the final connector to that 2004 team in Rip Hamilton. He's still got a lot of talent and will definitely have something to prove going forward, but has nothing left to give this franchise. I could see a match with the Bulls, Spurs, Suns, Celts, Knicks, or Nets. They actually should have done this two years ago, but instead thought it would be a better allocation of funds to give money to a point guard who can't pass (or shoot anymore) and another guy who someone once called a "cancer to the team + league". Wow.
Ben Wallace has 1 more year on his deal, but at this stage in his career, I don't really count him being on the team anymore.
2). With the 8th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select Alec Burks, from the University of Colorado - Boulder.
From what I've seen of Burks, he reminds me a little bit, ironically, of Rip Hamilton. Nice size for a 2-guard, high release point on the shot, same moves to the elbow, but not a fantastic three-point shooter. The Pistons could do much worse than having a Rip Hamilton clone for the next few years manning that shooting guard spot.
3). Give Rodney Stuckey a small extension - let's say 3 years, 18 million. If he doesn't like it, give him a one-year qualifying deal and a parting prize as he leaves the stage, Bob.
I have never really been impressed with Rodney Stuckey. It's not that he's a bad player, but I'm just not even sure what he's really good at. He's a decent shooter, a decent passer, a decent rebounder, but doesn't do anything really great. Either way, you could do worse than a stable, if unspectacular point guard for the next few years while the team rebuilds.
4). Trade for or sign a shot-blocker
Just because the team is rebuilding doesn't mean that they have to be completely uncompetitive. Right now the Pistons have a 4 guys under 6'10" switching around the center position, and at this point, none of them can really block a shot.
I'd try to turn Rip Hamilton into someone who can play a capable 5. Would the Suns sniff at a Robin Lopez for Rip Hamilton? Or maybe even a Chris Kaman for Rip? It'd really depend on who's looking and selling.
If not, a guy like Nazr Mohammed or Hamed Haddadi could be decent options. OR...do you throw out two years, 16 million at Greg Oden? I would definitely offer it, although he might get more money to play elsewhere. However, a lineup with Oden, Monroe, Daye, Burks and Stuckey, if healthy (which, with Oden, obviously good health is assured) could be a pretty fun team to watch.
5). Hire someone who is going to coach DEEEE-Troit basketball, and that man is Lawrence Frank.
Detroit Basketball is exactly what the last 3 titles teams personified; tough, suffocating, interior defense with great, penetrating guard play. No one gets lay-ups. Lawrence Frank does that for you.
Though the age of his players eventually led to a defensive break-down against the Miami Heat this off-season, Frank was brought in to Boston by Doc Rivers to serve as the next-Tom Thibodeau. He didn't fail to impress in his first year with the Celtics; they finished 2nd in opponents field goal percentage, 4th in opponents' turnovers and 2nd in defensive efficiency. This type of bruising play will work fantastic with the Pistons, especially with a young team going forward.
The Pistons are in pretty rough shape. Even in a very weak division and conference, I can't see them making the playoffs for at least 2 seasons. But a great coach like Frank and some good young building blocks give them a head start.