Have the Pistons already unveiled Plan B?
Shortly after media reports began to surface that the Sacramento Kings had made a massive four-year, 56 million offer to Pistons free-agent target Andre Iguodala Tuesday night, another story began to break.
This time, it was that Detroit had called Toronto to offer Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva for Raptors small forward Rudy Gay.
At first glance, the trade makes perfect sense for the Pistons. It brings in a quality player at a position of need.
Gay is fast and athletic -- the combination that Detroit craves. Detroit would giving up two players who are unlikely to be contributors, especially as Maurice Cheeks and Joe Dumars try to make the team bigger and quicker.
With Iguodala probably locked up and the Pistons facing fierce competition for Josh Smith, Gay would be another way of getting more athletic at the small forward position.
It would also leave Dumars with more than 20 million in cap space that they could use to focus on getting a point guard -- bringing back Jose Calderon would be a possibility -- and a shooting guard who would help Kentavious Caldwell-Pope get ready for the pro game.
Of course, this being the first 48 hours of NBA free agency, things changed again within three hours.
The Kings demanded an immediate answer from Iguodala and didn't get the one they wanted. so they reportedly pulled the offer from the table, putting the Pistons back into contention. They will still face serious opposition from Denver, who wants to keep him.
Wednesday morning, there were rumors from Toronto that the Raptors weren't happy with Detroit's offer, but nothing indicated that the deal was dead.
Like Iguodala and Smith, Gay isn't a perfect fit for the Pistons. He doesn't have 3-point range, which could make it difficult to find space for him, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in the halfcourt offense.
Gay's also not a top-line defender like Smith and Iguodala. Gay often needs his athletic ability to make up for fundamental lapses.
There's a huge money issue, too. Villanueva and Stuckey combine to make just over 17 million this season, but both contracts expire at the end of the year. That would give the Pistons room to extend Greg Monroe's contract next summer and still add another free agent.
Gay makes a few hundred thousand dollars more than Stuckey and Villanueva this season, so there's almost no effect, but he has a player option for a massive 19.3 million in 2014-15. That's more money than Detroit expected to be paying anyone next season.
Gay's contract would be for only two years, though, and his huge expiring deal would make him a trade chip in 2014-15. If the Pistons decided to try to get both Gay and Calderon, which is financially possible if they find an inexpensive point guard, they would have to some cap juggling to get Monroe's extension done.
By the time 2016 comes around -- and they might have to find a huge pile of cash for Andre Drummond's extension -- Gay would be long gone. But they would have Iguodala and Monroe both making something around 14 million a season.
Dumars is facing a fascinating couple days here.
Does he try to sweeten the pot with Toronto and get Gay? Does he try to outbid the Nuggets for Iguodala? Does he do both, or if he gets Gay, does he use the cap space to pick up a pair of starting guards, including someone who can hit a 3-point shot?
Smith or Iguodala was clearly Plan A. Trading for Gay seems to be Plan B.
Thanks to Sacramento giving up on Iguodala just after Dumars tipped his hand about dealing with Toronto, he might be able to go back to Plan A or even a combination of the two; however, if Denver makes a huge bid and the Raptors really want to hang on to Gay until the trading deadline, we might see Plan C before the Fourth of July.
Either way, Pistons fans should remember that, as crazy as the roller-coaster ride is, the only important thing is where you end up.
If it's getting too wild, go spend a relaxing long weekend Up North, and when you get back, there will be a new roster waiting for you.
For those of you who are going to stay with this, buckle in and keep your hands and feet inside the ride.