Davis to play forward, center for Pistons

Updated: August 25, 2005, 4:42 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Dale Davis signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, adding depth to their frontcourt.

"He went to the finals once in Indiana, and he's really hoping to get back there with the Pistons," agent Chubby Wells said. "He knows a lot of players on the team and [president of basketball operations] Joe Dumars, so he's really comfortable with the organization from top to bottom."

Davis has averaged 8.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks with Indiana, Portland and Golden State during his 14-year career.

Behind starters Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace, the 6-foot-11, 252-pound center likely will come off the bench after Antonio McDyess and might take away playing time from Darko Milicic.

The Pistons were interested in signing free agent Michael Finley and briefly considered adding free agent Latrell Sprewell to add a scorer behind small forward Tayshaun Prince and shooting guard Richard Hamilton.

But Finley made it clear he didn't want to join the Pistons, and they appear to have decided to not sign Sprewell. The Pistons might end up going into the season hoping Carlos Delfino will provide a much-needed contribution off the bench after he was injured during much of his rookie season.

Detroit used part of its mid-level exception to sign Davis, keeping about $2 million available to add another player if it decides to make another move.

The Pistons will go into the 2005-06 season with the same starters they've had the past two seasons in which they lost at San Antonio in Game 7 of the NBA Finals after winning the title in 2004. They will be coached by Flip Saunders. Larry Brown, who coached Detroit the past two seasons, was fired.

Saunders will have a talented, veteran team -- with Davis as the third or fourth player off his bench -- to coach after he was fired last season by the Minnesota Timberwolves

Davis spent his first nine seasons with the Pacers after they took him with the 13th pick overall in the 1991 draft. He was traded in 2000 to Portland for Jermaine O'Neal.

He was dealt last year to Golden State where he played 36 games before being traded to New Orleans, which released him. After pondering an offer to join the Pistons, Davis went back to Indiana late in the regular season. In 13 playoff games for the Pacers, including six in May against Detroit, the 36-year-old Davis was a starter and averaged 5.3 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Cleveland and Seattle were also in the running to sign Davis.

"I talked to Dale," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said. "I told him either we'd be able to keep him or he'd get a better deal. He got a better deal."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press