Anthony finds a role as big reserve in Detroit

Vincent Goodwill Jr.
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — When new Piston Joel Anthony looked around training camp as a member of the Celtics, he saw Vitor Faverani, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk — not just like-sized big men, but all played his position, center.

So when the deal between the rival franchises was consummated Friday morning, the process of mentally preparing himself had been done to a degree. Tangibly, it was a numbers game on the floor; on the balance sheet, though, trading him for Will Bynum was a move that could help the Celtics avoid the dreaded luxury tax.

"I talked to Danny (Ainge), he called me to this office and told me," Anthony said. "I talked to him face to face, I found out in the morning. Obviously he feels it's a good opportunity for me, he explained it to me."

If there was very little time to be had in Boston, he at least has a role in Detroit as a situational big man behind Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Anthony, whose $3.8 million deal comes off the books after the season, was acquired for his experience, defensive awareness and depth.

"My energy, focus and ability on defense could really help this team," Anthony said. "My shot blocking and everything. Those things are what I'll continue to focus on. Just play that role to the best of my ability."

From the sounds of things, the sting of being traded went away after he was traded from Miami to Boston this past January.

"The first trade was difficult because of the history and everything we've been through, but you understand that's the business," Anthony said. "If a trade were to happen, which it did, I felt was better prepared this time around."

Anthony, a 6-foot-8, soft spoken Canadian, hasn't been talked to about becoming a veteran mentor for Drummond, but wouldn't shy away from offering any advice. He was a member of the Heat teams when they were seemingly Public Enemy No. 1.

"I haven't really talked about anything like that," Anthony said. "Just my experiences through the league, we talked more about the team and what I could do to help the team. Anything I can do to help a talented big like that, it's more a collective thing. It's been like a family. They say, it takes a village to raise a child, we have to help each other."

Anthony last played significant minutes a member of Heat's championship team in 2011-12, averaging 21.1 minutes per game, and averaged nearly a 1.5 blocks his first five years in the league.

"He came in and adapted very quickly to what we were doing," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We didn't do everything we had in our playbook, but we did enough and he had no problem playing. I feel like we got better today."

With Aaron Gray out and Monroe suspended for the first two games, Anthony will probably play a little longer than expected early. He's impressed by Drummond and Monroe, calling them "unselfish guys" and is trying to fit in as quickly as possible.

"Guys were helping me out, with different things and how they do things and how they run things going through practice," Anthony said. "That's going to be a big thing for us."

Slam dunks

Center Hasheem Thabeet, forward Brian Cook, and guards Josh Bostic and Lorenzo Brown were waived Monday.

None had guarantees coming into camp, and the Pistons already have 16 guaranteed contracts, one over the league limit of 15.

... Spencer Dinwiddie went through a full practice for the first time in camp, and the second-round pick could make his debut in the last exhibition game against Philadelphia Thursday at the Palace.