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 DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Pistons expect to start the season next month with the same nucleus they've had in recent years.
That wasn't Plan A.
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars told The Associated Press on Thursday he's keeping the team together because no one offered him a good deal after he publicly put his players on the trading block in June.
``We talked to teams this summer, but nothing was presented to me that would make us better than we already are,'' Dumars said. ``This can be one of the elite teams in the league that contends for a championship.''
When coach Flip Saunders was fired, Dumars said Rodney Stuckey was the only player he wouldn't trade in a win-win deal.
``Whatever I said at that press conference wasn't new to the players,'' Dumars said. ``They know where I stood then and where I stand now, unhappy about how last season ended.''
ons lost in the same round the previous two years, getting sent home by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.
Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess have been Pistons since the 2004-05 season, the year after the franchise won its third championship.
Billups, Hamilton and Prince are entering their seventh season in Detroit, hoping to at least advance to the conference finals for the seventh year in a row.
But Dumars is confident new coach Michael Curry will motivate the old nucleus to play hard.
``Part of the reason we hired Michael Curry was that he can instill a sense of urgency in how we play and the discipline that we play with,'' Dumars said. ``Those two things were missing last year, in my estimation.''
The Pistons open training camp Sept. 29, and their season-opening game is Oct. 29 at home against the Indiana Pacers.
``We're going forward with the same nucleus, but I'm still not happy with how the season ended,'' Dumars said. ``But we'll put that behind us, and we'll try to make it right this year.''

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