Tayshaun Prince: Veteran Forward Deserves Move to Contending Memphis Grizzlies

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14:   Tayshaun Prince #22 of the Detroit Pistons walks off the court after the game against the Brooklyn Nets on December 14, 2012 at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Detroit Pistons 107-105 in double overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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After being a loyal servant to the Detroit Pistons, Tayshaun Prince has earned his move to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports broke the news on Twitter that Prince will be moving to Memphis in a trade, with Rudy Gay going to the Toronto Raptors:

Rumors regarding the move had ramped up in recent days, with Jose Calderon's contract thought to be the main stumbling block to the trade. Those issues have been resolved, as Wojnarowski reported that Calderon will be moving to Detroit, with Prince and Austin Daye going to Memphis.

For Prince, it must be a bittersweet departure from Detroit. He has spent his entire 11-year career with the Pistons and was a key player for the team's NBA title run in 2004.

The Pistons, though, have taken a turn for the worse. They haven't had a winning season since 2007-08 and currently sit 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 17-28 record.

Prince didn't go down the path of Richard Hamilton, who gave the Pistons no choice in what they could do with him. Hamilton really made a mess of things in Detroit. 

For the most part, Prince has been a true professional for Detroit, continuing to give everything he has for a team that has floundered in recent years. The motivation level for Prince, though, couldn't have been very high since he had to watch the franchise fall so far from where it was in the early 2000s.

Surely Prince would have preferred a move away from Detroit, but he didn't publicly angle for it at the expense of the team's performances.

While no longer the defensive force he once was, Prince still has much to contribute to a contending team like Memphis. His numbers have declined, but you have to consider how much his supporting cast has declined as well. Even with of the drop in numbers, Prince is averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.

He's only 32 years old, so it's not as if he's completely washed up.

The Grizzlies are clearly getting a downgrade from Gay in terms of production, but you can't discount the kind of leadership and experience that Prince brings to Memphis. He has been to the mountaintop before, so he knows what it takes to get there.

For a team like Memphis, that can be the difference between being a threat in the playoffs and becoming a bona fide contender.

The Grizzlies have made some noise in the playoffs, but they run the risk of becoming like the Atlanta Hawks were in that there's a definite ceiling the team can hit in the postseason.