Pistons can’t find a trade they like

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Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — There were some big names moved.

Tracy McGrady and Antawn Jamison were sent packing to different teams, McGrady to New York and Jamison to Cleveland. Jamison, in particular, could finally bring an NBA championship to Cleveland.

Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer remained with their teams, Phoenix and Utah, respectively, after thousands of rumors suggesting otherwise.

As for the Pistons, the trade deadline came and went Thursday without any transactions.

They tried but failed, said Joe Dumars, the Pistons president of basketball operations.

“We communicated with teams throughout the league, but at the end of the day, we were not presented with anything we thought was beneficial to us at this point,” Dumars wrote in an e-mail to reporters.

So, all those fans who were waiting for, probably wanting, veterans Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince to be shipped to create salary cap room and speed the rebuilding process will have to wait.

They’ll have to wait until just before the NBA draft and for the summer, when the names of Prince and Hamilton again will be linked to trade speculation, as could the Pistons’ draft pick, likely to be in the top 10 selections. (And wouldn’t a big man like DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors fit perfectly on the Pistons roster?)

Maybe even packaging the draft pick and a player off this roster to attract an elite veteran? You’re going to hear the speculation, and this time, there will be depth to the story.

Prince will have an expiring contract next season — which is all the rage in the NBA — worth $11.1 million. Hamilton’s contract has three seasons left after this one, worth $37.9 million.

Both have been hindered by injuries this season, which didn’t help trade prospects this time around. But with strong second halves, each could be in demand for his versatility.

Dumars rebuilt the Pistons once before, and coach John Kuester is confident Dumars can do it again.

“I have the utmost trust in what Joe wants to do,” Kuester said. “He has a vision. I’ve seen Joe operate for a number of years, and I’ve recognized what he and his staff understand in putting a team together.

“I witnessed it firsthand in 2004 (a Pistons championship).”

For now, the Pistons are concentrating on the rest of the season. There’s still time to salvage it. But the increasingly disappointing play of free-agent acquisition Charlie Villanueva, and the overall lack of consistency, are new problems.

“We have to get better,” Kuester said. “I really feel that this group has not shown its best foot forward yet.”

Last Updated: February 19. 2010 1:47AM