Detroit Pistons don’t have to – and probably shouldn’t – trade

We’re 10 days from the NBA trade deadline, and the Pistons have frequently been mentioned as one of the league’s most active teams. They have plenty of assets and plenty of holes. They could benefit by adding or shedding salary. It almost seems inevitable they’ll make a trade.

But in all likelihood, they won’t. And I think there’s good reason.

I’m all for making trade that upgrades the team – whether that be short- or long-term. But the odds of that happening are low. Nearly any trade the Pistons could make would involve selling low.

Go through the Pistons’ roster. How many players do you think will be more valuable at this time next year than they are right now?

Charting expected value

Value is determined by two factors: how good a player is and how much he makes. (Age factors into both). So, here’s how I see each factor applying to the Pistons’ trade bait.

  • A plus mean a player should be more valuable next year.
  • A minus mean a player should be less valuable next year.
  • An equal sign means the player should be equally valuable next year.
Player Production Contract
Richard Hamilton

+

+

Tayshaun Prince

+

+

Ben Gordon

+

=

Charlie Villanueva

=

=

Jason Maxiell

=

+

Chris Wilcox

=

+

Will Bynum

+

-

Kwame Brown

=

-

Ben Wallace

-

-

The Pistons seem intent on building around Rodney Stuckey, so I don’t think he’s tradable. And rookies aren’t traded often, so I didn’t include them, either.

My thinking on the first seven players in the chart:

  • Hamilton, Prince, Gordon and Bynum all lost significant time to injury. They have to be better next year, right?
  • Hamilton will have one fewer season left on his contract, and Prince’s expiring deal could be quite valuable. On a smaller scale, the same is true with Maxiell and Wilcox’s expiring contract.
  • Gordon and Villanueva will each have one few year left on their contracts, but the amount they’re owed per year goes up. Any team that acquires one of them would making a long-term commitment. I’d call that a wash.
  • Bynum’s contract is up after this season, and he will be paid more next year, likely by Detroit.

The exceptions

That leaves only two players whose value will likely decrease next year – Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown.

It’s amazing what Wallace is doing at 35. He’d be even more amazing if he’s doing it at 36. His value is probably the highest it will be the rest of his career.

But he came back to play in Detroit. I don’t think he’ll be traded without his permission.

So, the only player I think the Pistons should make a concerted effort to trade is Brown. Many teams need an extra center and an expiring contract, and he would provide both.

Brown hasn’t been in the Pistons’ rotation in a couple months, so I’d guess this is his last year in Detroit. If his contract expires at the end of the season and he signs elsewhere, the Pistons will get nothing in return for him.

Maybe the right deal is out there for Hamilton or Prince – but it’s far more likely Detroit would receive the most value from trading Brown.

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Tags: Ben Gordon Ben Wallace Charlie Villanueva Chris Wilcox Jason Maxiell Kwame Brown Richard Hamilton Tayshaun Prince Will Bynum

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