The Detroit Pistons are ready to welcome one veteran after saying goodbye to another, but Jose Calderon likely won't take the floor just yet.
Visa issues are expected to prevent Calderon from making his Detroit debut Friday night when the struggling Pistons try for a fifth consecutive victory over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.
Detroit (17-29) played like a distracted team Wednesday, falling 98-79 at Indiana for its second straight loss and fourth in five contests. Prior to the game, forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye were traded to Memphis as part of a three-team deal that sent Rudy Gay to Toronto in exchange for Ed Davis and Calderon, who was then dealt to the Pistons.
"(Pistons president Joe Dumars) felt horrible that it had to be right before the game," coach Lawrence Frank said. "This is the tough part of the business."
While Daye hasn't lived up to being the 15th overall pick in 2009, Prince spent his entire career in Detroit since being selected 23rd in 2002. He averaged 12.8 points and 4.7 rebounds during his career as a key role player, and was the last link to the Pistons' 2003-04 championship team.
"Trading a player like Tayshaun Prince, who has meant so much to our organization and contributed to our championship success, is never easy," Dumars said in a statement.
However, Detroit receives some financial freedom by not having to pay the $15 million over the final two years of Prince's contract.
Calderon, meanwhile, has a $10.5 million deal that expires at the end of the season. His 11.1 points and 7.4 assists per game also provide a playmaking aspect the Pistons lack.
"We've always had a high value on Jose," Frank told the Pistons' official website. "He's a tremendous competitor. It gives us flexibility moving forward, gives other guys an opportunity and see how they step up."
Calderon, who left Spain to sign with Toronto in 2005, took the news of the trade hard.
"It's been my home for eight years," he said. "It's tough. The fans have been with me since Day 1."
The Spanish-born guard was at Detroit's practice facility Friday, but the team didn't have any specific word on when he'd be able to take the court.
That should be good news for Cleveland (13-33). Though Calderon had 10 points and five assists versus the Cavaliers on Saturday, he's averaged 14.2 and 9.8, respectively, in his last six games against them.
Even without their new addition, facing Cleveland could help the Pistons break out of a five-game slump in which they've averaged 88.6 points. They've allowed 106.8 per game in the last four.
The Cavaliers averaged 77.0 points on 34.2 percent shooting in dropping three straight to the Pistons before delivering a more competitive effort in a 104-97 home loss Dec. 8 in the most recent meeting. Highlighted by a 30-point performance in that contest, Detroit's Brandon Knight is averaging 23.0 and shooting 60.0 percent in six career games versus Cleveland.
Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving has totaled 47 points in his last two against the Pistons, but injuries have forced the second-year guard to miss the teams' last three meetings.
Under the weather, Irving went 5 of 17 from the field for 14 points in Tuesday's 108-95 loss to Golden State that snapped Cleveland's season-high, three-game winning streak. Irving, named an All-Star reserve, averaged 35.7 points and shot 61.2 percent in the previous three contests.
"I just wasn't there in terms of my mental focus," Irving said. "That's no excuse. I tried to play through it, but my normal energy wasn't there."
Teammate Tristan Thompson has averaged 17.0 points and 10.6 rebounds in the last seven games. He's posted double-doubles in the last two trips to Detroit.
The Associated Press News Service
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