In the very building where Tayshaun Prince made himself a household name after an iconic block in May 2004, his professional life was changed forever.
Prince's block on Pacers legend Reggie Miller in Game 2 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals cemented him as one of the league's premier defensive players, but whatever joy he felt then might be replaced with a bittersweet feeling.
Prince was on the phone in the training room of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, receiving well-wishes from teammates as he's headed, along with Austin Daye, to Memphis as part of a three-way deal with the Raptors, ending his 11-year reign with the Pistons.
"I'm shocked, obviously. I didn't find out until I got here," Prince said. "It's a business, you never know what's going to happen. The mood in the locker room wasn't good. Definitely a tough, tough time."
Both Prince and Daye were inactive for Wednesday's game against the Indiana Pacers, and team security was carrying Daye's bags back to the team bus before game time. Neither player came out for warm-ups, though Prince was getting taped, presumably to play, before being notified.
Pistons coach Lawrence Frank called both into his office, closing the locker room to talk with them. Pistons president Joe Dumars was back in Detroit, having not made the trip.
"As much as people talk about this being a business, there's a brotherhood," Frank said. "I know Joe (Dumars) felt horrible that it had to be right before the game. I'm eternally grateful at how he's handled himself."
The Pistons will receive Raptors point guard Jose Calderon, whose $10.5 million contract expires after this season, adding to their cap space this summer, which will be $33-35 million.
"They free up money and Prince wasn't moving that train forward," texted a league executive. "Get a good (point guard) they can re-sign at a good number if they like."
The package includes Memphis star Rudy Gay, who's headed to Toronto along with reserve center Hamed Haddadi. The Grizzlies have had Gay on the market for weeks now because of his contract and the desire of new ownership to trim salary.
"I never thought I'd be the part of it," said Prince, who monitors the rumor mill. "There was always something about Rudy Gay and I thought he was in such a great situation. Look at what happens."
Dumars released a statement through the team:
"Trading a player like Tayshaun Prince, who has meant so much to our organization and contributed to our championship success, is never easy," he said.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130130/SPORTS0102/301300452#ixzz2JZ7Rbhtg
Pistons trade Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye to Grizzlies, get Jose Calderon from Raptors
Detroit News | Jan 31