News

news blogs news

Pistons Set to Sign Ben Gordon, Villanueva

Posted: July 2, 2009, 11:05 AM ; Updated: July 2, 2009, 11:26 AM

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons wanted to add talent and get younger this offseason.

On the first day of free agency, Detroit did both.

Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva agreed in principle to five-year contracts with the Pistons, a person with the knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because NBA rules prohibit announcing deals with free agents until next week, said Gordon's contract is worth $50-plus million and Villanueva will make at least $35 million.

The 26-year-old Gordon averaged 20.7 points for the Chicago Bulls, leading them in scoring for the fourth straight year.

He improved his market value by scoring 42 points in a playoff game against the defending champion Boston Celtics and averaging a team-high 24.3 points in seven postseason games.

Bulls officials had said re-signing Gordon, the No. 3 pick in 2004, was a top priority after previously failing to keep the former Connecticut star with a long-term contract.

Villanueva, who turns 25 next month, averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds last season for the Milwaukee Bucks. He went from being a restricted free agent to an unrestricted one when Milwaukee chose to not make him a qualifying offer.

The Toronto Raptors drafted Villanueva No. 7 overall out of Connecticut in 2005 and traded him to Milwaukee after his rookie season when he averaged 13 points, 6.4 rebounds and was on the All-Rookie team.

Detroit desperately needed to make a splash this offseason, entering it with nearly $20 million in salary-cap space and coming off its worst season in several years.

The Pistons had a lot of money to spend because Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson had expiring contracts. The franchise wanted to infuse the roster with fresh options after breaking up a group of players that won the 2004 NBA title and advanced to six straight conference finals.

Detroit was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round this season, mercifully ending a miserable season that soured as soon as All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups was dealt to Denver for Iverson and his cap space.

Michael Curry, who struggled as a rookie coach in a tough situation, was fired Tuesday and might be replaced by Avery Johnson, Doug Collins or John Kuester by this weekend.

Detroit's fifth coach in nine seasons will potentially have an interesting decision to make if the roster remains intact.

While the 6-11 Villanueva can easily slip into the starting lineup, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Gordon does not seem to have a spot secured.

Gordon likely has to replace leading-scorer Richard Hamilton at shooting guard or come off the bench behind him.

Gordon was voted the NBA's top reserve in 2005 and if he accepts that role again, the Pistons would have an intriguing three-guard rotation with him, Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey.

Gordon or Hamilton may a problem with coming off the bench and the next coach could have to deal with poor chemistry just as Curry did.

If the Pistons have enough money -- and talent -- to re-sign Antonio McDyess, one of the most likable players in the league can help them cope with issues on and off the court.

McDyess, though, is a free agent with plenty of options.

"We are in the process of evaluating our options and will make a decision shortly," McDyess' agent, Andy Miller, wrote in a text message to the AP.

 

Red-Hot A-Rod Leads Yankees

NEW YORK (AP) -- A little rest here and there has done wonders for Alex Rodriguez .

The streaking slugger hit a tiebreaking homer and Andy Pettitte pitched seven strong innings, leading the New York Yankees over the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Wednesday night for their seventh consecutive victory.

A fatigued Rodriguez, who had hip surgery in March, was held out of the lineup June 19-20 in Florida. Soon after, his swing started to come around.

Now, the three-time MVP is on a hitting tear. In his last seven games, he is 10 for 23 (.435) with four homers, 13 RBIs and 10 walks.

''I'm feeling better. I feel more energized out there,'' said Rodriguez, who also got a mini-break Wednesday as the designated hitter.

''Even when I struggled, I never had an at-bat where I didn't feel like I was going to get the job done. My question is always, how is my body going to bounce back? Now that my body feels good, I think the results are better.''

Your rating: None Average: 3.1 (12 votes)

By Sport News

By Year