January 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Terry Foster

Richard Hamilton, Pistons must part ways

Richard Hamilton says he wasn’t told he’d be sitting. (Clarence Tabb Jr./The Detroit News)

Auburn Hills The Pistons may as well tell Richard Hamilton to stay home.

It became obvious the Pistons have moved on when Hamilton was a healthy scratch during Wednesday's 107-99 home loss to the Grizzlies.

The benching was insulting, but that's the business of the NBA. You're a hero one day, a zero the next.

We all know Hamilton is on the trading block, expected to be part of a blockbuster power struggle between the Nets and Nuggets that will send Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey.

But, he deserved better.

He got nothing from Pistons coach John Kuester.

"They didn't tell me anything," Hamilton said after the game about being a healthy scratch. "I was definitely surprised. Do I think it was a level of disrespect or unfair or anything? I'll leave that all to you."

The reason Hamilton is owed that much is simple: He's Pistons royalty.

We might not like his antics on the floor and sometimes he is too much of a hothead. But he was part of a championship era.

Hamilton has given the Pistons 610 games, 11,254 points, six Eastern Conference finals appearances, two NBA Finals appearances and an NBA title.

He deserved more.

Simply, the Pistons need a change, and Hamilton should be one of the first casualties.

He no longer fits.

Hamilton is going to be paid more than $24 million the next two seasons, which is why the Pistons want to part ways. If they want him to sit on the bench wearing a party hat, he should do it.

But teams talk about wanting respect, and they, in turn, should show some.

That didn't happen Wednesday.

Kuester said everybody has had a chance to turn things around.

"We shortened the rotation and changed the lineup," he said. "That's it."

It didn't work.

The problems with this team, however, run deeper than Hamilton.

The Pistons aren't good. The young guys are developing and can put up cheap numbers, but when push comes to shove, they can't win enough games to make the Pistons good this season.

The Pistons need to rebuild and let Hamilton find happiness in basketball again — elsewhere.

terry.foster@detnews.com

(313) 222-1494

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