Detroit Nabs Walton... Then does WHAT??
- By Joel Steelman, Day 1, 2023
DETROIT - The mood around Detroit fanbase appears to be a rollercoaster of emotions as the top choice for the Mustangs was available at the #10 spot. One Detroit fan at the draft was seen cheering in jubilation as the call at #9 came out to be Keyon Barber. Not long after Detroit called out Markese Walton's name, the same fan's joy seemed to instantly vanish as a friend, looking at his phone, whispered something to him. We can only assume this was him learning of Detroit's renouncing tenure rights of both Dawkins and Vaughn. Across message boards angry fans, perhaps not fully understanding what was going on, lashed out at the move. One post on gostangs.com reads:
"What the [expletive deleted] are we doing? We trade Pace. We fire Troy. Now we're losing Vaughn? I hope Steelman has a good resume. If I saw him in a bar I'd …"
The quote then digresses into a tirade of verbal abuse, but the sentiment is echoed across several posts with fans voicing their displeasure.
While some fans may not fully understand the move, it seems to be a calculated risk freeing up cap space in order to chase Sowder from day 1 in free agency. If it works out the Mustangs could sign Sowder, Clarke, and Vaughn or Dawkins. It's really the worst kept secret since acquiring Clarke, and the fans misunderstanding is baffling. Though, it should be noted that not all fans were upset, but their voices seem to be few and far between as most now seem to think they will lose both players, which is a very real possibility. The risk as seen by Mustangs GM Joel Steelman seems to be worth it.
The very "realist" Joel Steelman has subsequently issued a statement regarding the renouncing of tenure rights in an statement this morning. It reads:
The renouncing of Dawkins and Vaughn is strictly a cap space move and we are in active conversations with both about the direction of the team and their desires to be a part of it. We would be honored to return them both, but monetarily this may not be possible. We also feel this move is one of respect for both veteran players. If they do not like the direction of the team, this gives them a chance to go chase a ring elsewhere without waiting on us to make a move. Whatever happens next, we thank both players for their tremendous contributions to the team. For the Mustangs/Vaughn/Dawkings fans, we ask that you please bare with us, and as always, we appreciate your support.
So, calm down Mustangs fans. Wait for free agency to end before grabbing your pitchforks! But sure. Make sure they're nice and sharp just in case!