Auburn Hills — The NBA trade deadline is closing in — 3 today — but Pistons coach/president Stan Van Gundy isn't feeling any pressure. If a good opportunity comes to him, he's ready to make a deal, but he's not going to do anything foolhardy just for the sake of making a move.
The Pistons return to action Friday against the Bulls, the first of the final 28 games of the season, but whether their roster remains intact is still unclear.
Van Gundy said Wednesday there has been some preliminary contact about several options, but there's nothing close — not even a rumored interest for Nets guard Joe Johnson.
"We've probably talked to 20 teams about 30 different possibilities," Van Gundy said. "We've talked about just about everybody; everybody on our roster has been mentioned at some time. There's nothing imminent and there's nothing we're really working on trying to zero in on.
"We've basically said no to everything or other people have said no, so we're not anywhere along the spectrum."
After a 5-23 start, the Pistons have gone 16-10 and are two games out of the final playoff spot in the East. But that proximity isn't spurring him to make changes for change's sake.
"This team has enough," Van Gundy said. "It's a tough battle because it's six teams (competing) for two spots — it's not like it's three teams for two spots. And we're at the bottom of that with Indiana."
Van Gundy maintains he'd like to make a deal, but he's not going to give up too much for a potential short-term gain. What's more important, he said, is keeping the flexibility to make bigger deals when the opportunity presents itself.
"As much as I want to get in the playoffs over these next eight weeks — and I do, and everybody in here wants to — I'm not going to sacrifice things that might help us become a contender to try to make an eight-week push for the eighth spot," Van Gundy said. "I don't think that's prudent. If we can find something that would both help us now and not take away flexibility for the long term, we would do it — but we haven't been able to come up with that."
Back to practice
Van Gundy tried not to have so much structure during Wednesday's practice, choosing instead to let the players get a good workout.
"We did a lot of up-and-down just to get them back into the flow of playing — and it was pretty bad basketball," he said. "That's what I expected and they need to get back into it. It got better as we went along; hopefully, tomorrow it will be a little bit better and then by Friday, we'll be ready to go."