Trade Idea: Rip Hamilton could give the Toronto Raptors needed scoring and Jose Calderon could give the Detroit Pistons stable point guard play

Trade

Pistons receive:

  • Jose Calderon (10.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.7 steals)
  • Reggie Evans (3.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.5 steals)

Raptors receive:

  • Rip Hamilton (18.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.7 steals)
  • Chris Wilcox (4.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.4 steals)

Salaries

Data from ShamSports.com

Pistons receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Jose Calderon $9,000,000 $9,780,992 $10,561,983 $0 $0
Reggie Evans $5,080,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total $14,080,000 $9,780,992 $10,561,983 $0 $0

Raptors receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Rip Hamilton $12,500,000 $12,500,000 $12,500,000 $0 $0
Chris Wilcox $3,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total $15,500,000 $12,500,000 $12,500,000 $0 $0
  • Fully unguaranteed if waived on or before Aug. 15, 2012

Pistons’ perspective

Unlike many people out there, I don’t believe it’s imperative that the Pistons trade Rip Hamilton. But in the event that they do, I also don’t believe that a comparably talented big man is coming back in return. There really just aren’t many out there who would help.

Even an all-baggage team guy like Zach Randolph, who is again having some off-the-court problems, is not a guy who can easily be obtained. He has an always valuable expiring contract and Memphis has Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo on the perimeter, so Hamilton probably isn’t high on their wish list.

So if a good big man is likely out of the question, and if Hamilton is dealt, the Pistons should try to net a competent point guard in return. Calderon is a great shooter — nearly 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the line for his career. He’s very steady running an offense with nearly a 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio for his career. And if you have any doubts that the Pistons could use a more willing passer in the backcourt, just compare Calderon’s assist percentage (assists per 100 possessions) to the Pistons’ guards last season: Will Bynum led Detroit at 28.2 percent. Rodney Stuckey, who played the bulk of the team’s PG minutes, was at 24.7 percent. Calderon’s was at 33.8 percent last year, and that was the worst mark he had since his rookie season. His two previous seasons in Toronto, he was over 40 percent.

He does have downsides. Namely, he’s pretty terrible defensively, although you have to admire the way he didn’t get rattled when Kevin Garnett was pulling his annual ‘pick on men much smaller than me’ tricks a year ago. Replacing Hamilton with Calderon undoubtedly makes the Pistons backcourt a little worse defensively, but with Stuckey’s progression as a defender a year ago, the benefits Calderon will bring to the offense might be worth it.

The other piece in the trade is Evans, who has an expiring contract. But while that is the most appealing part of what Evans brings, he might also fill a need. The Pistons have been searching for a veteran big man in free agency. I have my doubts they’ll be able to find one — veteran bigs tend to be in demand and tend to end up chasing rings on good teams. Detroit, as a rebuilding project with serious roster questions, doesn’t fit that mold, so getting a guy like Evans, a hard-nosed (Chris Kaman may describe him differently) hustle player and rebounder, via trade might be the best bet for Detroit. Evans has injury concerns, but if he’s semi-healthy, he’d be an adequate presence off the bench for Detroit.

Raptors’ perspective

Since I have impeccable timing, I began writing this post the day before Calderon was reportedly traded to Charlotte. I sent out e-mails to the guys at Raptors Republic, asking for their take on whether or not this was an offer they could see the team be interested in. Then, about a half hour after sending, it was reported that Calderon-to-Charlotte was official, so my first PistonPowered trade idea post looked ruined.

But shortly after the reports, Michael Jordan perhaps sensibly thought pairing a defensively challenged PG signed long-term with Larry Brown was not the best match, and backed out of the Calderon deal.

The general consensus in Raptors land is that GM Bryan Colangelo is pretty clearly looking for salary relief (the Charlotte deal would’ve been for expiring contract Tyson Chandler) in any deal for Calderon, which makes my little Hamilton scenario a bit more far-fetched, but two of the guys from Raptors Republic had brief replies when they thought Calderon was headed out of town to Charlotte. Here were the responses I got:

"I don’t think the Raptors would have any interest whatsoever in Rip Hamilton since we have two guys in Weems and DeRozan that are being bandied about as the future here.  Hamilton’s contract is very similar to Turkoglu’s, if not worse, and I just don’t see Colangelo taking that on."

And …

"I would have liked to get Richard Hamilton truth be told, but getting Diaw and Barbosa looks to be a better fit (given the euro style we want to play)."

My response

I disagree vehemently with the Turkoglu comparison. Contract-wise, Turkoglu is signed for one more year than Hamilton (he has a player option for 2013-14). He also appears to be rapidly declining and had a lousy season in Toronto. Hamilton is still a 20 points per game scorer, efficient and keeps himself in great shape. There’s no question that his contract is a much better value than Turkoglu’s.

That being said, I can certainly appreciate that Toronto wouldn’t be looking to add long-term deals or guys who would play in front of their promising Weems/DeRozan combo. I’m not sure a team is willingly going to give the Raps a starting center with an expiring contract for a solid but flawed and fairly expensive PG like Calderon now that the Chandler trade fell through, however.

The Verdict

There probably wouldn’t be much interest in this trade by either team, but as I’ve pointed out, I view the Pistons’ current personnel better suited to run a more free-wheeling offense, and a point guard like Calderon would go a long way toward making them a more exciting team to watch.

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