Austin Daye finally worked his way back into the Detroit Pistons’ rotation on Monday night, and head coach Lawrence Frank said he’ll use Daye as the backup small forward again Wednesday in Toronto.
But is this just part of a plan to showcase Daye a bit in hopes of a trade? In his Yahoo power rankings this week (Detroit’s No. 26), Marc Spears reports, via a source, that the Pistons “are actively shopping” Daye.
This should not come as a shock to anyone — the 24-year-old former Gonzaga forward has been a massive disappointment in Detroit and, until Monday’s loss, had not played since Nov. 28. Monday was the first time he played double-digit minutes (18) in a game this season.
The 6-foot-11 wingman is making nearly $3 million this season after the Pistons picked up the fourth year of his contract. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2012-13, pending a new deal.
Daye averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 rebounds during a promising rookie season, then improved those numbers to 7.5 and 3.8 while starting 16 games in 2010-11. The Pistons were hoping for more from Daye in his second season, as his role increased, and he fell almost totally off the map last year. His numbers dipped to 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds, and he started only four games in Frank’s first season with Detroit.
The Pistons could use some bench production, so Daye might be able to carve out a role if he plays well. Of course, he might not be around for long.