By: Will Burchfield
Stan Van Gundy called it.
The flurry of rumors surrounding the Pistons fizzled out and led to nothing as the trade deadline passed on Thursday afternoon and Detroit stood pat.
Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, all of whom were rumored to be on the block, will slip on the same uniforms tonight as they have all season. And the Pistons will solider forward with the same ranks.
In the end, the Pistons' inactivity was a product of their high demands. As president-coach Van Gundy told reporters on Thursday afternoon, just hours before the deadline, "We place a high value on our guys. We have. And that's why we probably will not be able to desperately blow it up here."
In return for the struggling Jackson, for example, the Pistons were reportedly seeking a first-round pick, a young player and an expiring contract. And it's easy to imagine that they were asking for much, much more in return for Drummond and Caldwell-Pope.
That didn't slow down the rumor mill, of course.
In the days and hours leading up to the deadline, Drummond was linked to the Kings, Raptors, Trail Blazers and Nets; Jackson was linked to the Magic and Timberwolves; and Pope was linked to the Sixers. The excitement accordingly picked up.
Meanwhile, at the Pistons' facility in Auburn Hills, Van Gundy was likely chuckling and shaking his head.
"Chart all the rumors," he said on Tuesday. "95 percent of them will not happen and probably 90 percent of them were never even discussed seriously...All the rumors and stuff don't mean a damn thing. They don't. They really mean nothing."
"I usually can just laugh it off," he added later, "but it gets a little bit annoying because you go through this for two weeks and it's just bullsh*t after bullsh*t after bullsh*t."
Van Gundy made it clear leading up to the deadline that everyone on the roster was "available for the right price." That price, in every case, was apparently inflexible. The Pistons' unwillingness to lower their demands speaks to their belief in the players at hand.
"Even though we're three games under .500, I like our roster and don't think there's a significant hole," Van Gundy told reporters on Wednesday. "We've just got to play better."
Detroit enters play Thursday night with a 27-30 record, one game ahead of the Bucks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. A team seemingly on the rise entering the season looks to have taken a step back.
"It hasn't been what we would like it to to to this point," Van Gundy said. "We still have a lot of young guys with room for improvement and guys coming into their prime."
So the trade deadline came and went, with the Pistons refusing to succumb to desperation.
"It's not always the straight line you want it to be and it can be frustrating," Van Gundy added on Wednesday. "But at the same time, I don't think you want to panic and blow up your roster because you're not quite where you want to be."
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