- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2007

Chris Webber, who clears waivers today, will sign with the Detroit Pistons.

This is true not because of inside information but rather through process of elimination.

Webber wants to play for a championship contender, which eliminates most of the league. The Pistons still qualify as such in the Class AAA Eastern Conference.

Webber also wants playing time because no player wants to win a championship without breaking a sweat, although Webber’s friend and former Michigan teammate Jalen Rose may do just that with the Phoenix Suns.

That basically eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers because Phil Jackson likes his frontcourt rotation of Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum when those players are healthy.

It’s hard to believe the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks ever were serious about Webber because their coaches saw him up close during his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors and coach Don Nelson.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was an assistant for Nelson, and Mavericks coach Avery Johnson played on that team.

The Pistons are the fit because team president Joe Dumars is a calculated risk-taker — his trade for Rasheed Wallace three seasons ago brought Detroit a title.

Wallace, meanwhile, came off the bench twice last week — once after arriving late to a practice and a second time for “basketball reasons.”

Webber, who is from Detroit, may motivate Wallace or complement Nazr Mohammed and the disappointing Antonio McDyess.

But Webber always has been more promise than substance. He was twice traded for comparable players and three first-round draft picks.

Webber sulked his way out of Golden State and Washington. He helped revitalize basketball in Sacramento but ultimately had no finishing move. His contract was bought out in Philadelphia last week.

The Pistons are his last shot at career redemption.

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