Back in November, we described the Detroit Pistons locker room as a house divided, where young players and veterans didn't mix much, and where frustration ruled the roost. As rumors regarding an ownership sale continue to swirl and the team finds itself in the middle of mega trade rumors this week, the toxic atmosphere is only getting worse.
On Wednesday, the Pistons lost to the Memphis Grizzlies at home, 107-99, and veteran guard Richard Hamilton unexpectedly received a DNP-CD. As you might imagine, he wasn't too thrilled, and neither was his 2004 NBA title-winning teammate Tayshaun Prince. Following the loss, Hamilton implied that he was disrespected and Prince apparently took issue with the intelligence of Pistons coach John Kuester.
MLive.com quoted Hamilton saying that the DNP-CD caught him by surprise.
“Tonight was a different situation,” he said. “This is probably the first time in my career that, when I put on a jersey, I didn’t play. I really can’t answer that right now. All I know is as long as I put that jersey on, I’m going to go out and play hard and be ready when my number’s called.”
“I came to the game with my same routine, that I was going to play,” Hamilton said. “Nobody warned me or told me anything. I just came out ready to play the game. “I was definitely surprised. Do I think it was a level of disrespect or unfair or anything like that? I’ll leave that to y’all.”"Buffoonery. Do you all know what that means?" Prince reportedly added regarding the decision, according to the Detroit News on Twitter.
The Detroit News also noted that Hamilton "stood away from his teammate during timeout, talking with longtime teammate Ben Wallace," during the game.
Kuester only said that Hamilton's benching was a coaching decision, according to the Detroit News. "We shortened the rotation and changed the lineup. That was it. Everybody's gotten a chance."
Hamilton's name has surfaced regularly in the Carmelo Anthony trade talks, and the Pistons were reportedly ready to send him to the New Jersey Nets for Troy Murphy. The deal was contingent upon Denver agreeing to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Nets, though, and those talks fell apart earlier this week.
Hamilton's situation is a frustrating limbo for any player to be in, especially one who has known much better days, is nearing the end of his career and understands that his role going forward is only going to diminish. For Hamilton, the Nets represent hope and change, if you can believe it.
With the loss, the Pistons fell to 12-26 on the season. They are currently in fourth place in the Central Division.