Adrian Dantley was still upset when he returned to The Palace a year after being traded to the Mavericks for Mark Aguirre. (Getty Images)
This is the fourth in a series of stories leading to the reunion of the Pistons Bad Boys team March 28 at The Palace.
Adrian Dantley was still upset when he returned to The Palace a year after being traded to the Mavericks for Mark Aguirre.
After the players were introduced, Dantley read Isiah Thomas — he believed Thomas forced the trade for his friend, Aguirre — the riot act on the court. The conversation lasted several awkward moments, but didn’t lead to anything physical. Dantley simply wanted to let Thomas know he was better than Aguirre.
But there was more to the trade than that.
Three weeks before the trade in 1989, the Celtics beat the Pistons, 112-99. Chuck Daly had grown tired of Dantley slowing the game up with his deliberate post moves. And that night, Dantley had a poor game — seven points.
Daly and Dantley argued during a timeout, and it wasn’t pretty.
“We’ve got to get that (bleep) out of here,” Daly said in the hotel lobby after the game. “I don’t want this (bleep) around here anymore.”
The other factor was Dennis Rodman. Daly wanted Rodman’s rebounding and defense late in games, and it was easier to sell Aguirre on giving Rodman more playing time.
“The unfortunate thing to this day that Dantley does not understand (the trade) wasn’t about him and Aguirre,” Thomas said. “It was about Dennis Rodman being better than him and Aguirre for us. I think he still has a difficult time understanding that.”