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Insult to injury: Details on aborted Hamilton trade

With the Piston Player Protest putting a national spotlight on the functional Detroit squad, more gruesome details are emerging about the level of discord among its players and coaches, along with other chilling details.

Among them is Adrian Wojnarowski’s latest column detailing the friction between former star Richard Hamilton and embattled head coach John Kuester. In it, Wojnarowski dishes on the horrific details of Hamilton’s relationship with Kuester and just how public their fighting was. It is worth a read if you can stomach it. But more interesting to me was his discussion of the planned trade of Hamilton from Detroit to Cleveland:

With $25 million left on a contract that runs through the 2013 season, Hamilton had been nearly impossible to trade for Detroit. Still, Pistons general manager Joe Dumars and Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant had an agreement to send Hamilton and a lottery-protected 2012 first-round draft pick for a $12.6 million trade exception and a second-round draft pick on Thursday, sources said.

Cleveland was mostly interested in the draft pick, but was willing to let Hamilton join the team for the remainder of his contract. Once Hamilton made clear he didn’t want to play for a last-place team, his representatives discussed a contract buyout that would’ve allowed him to likely join the Chicago Bulls, sources said. Cleveland wanted him to take $18 million in the buyout, arguing that he could secure his 2011-12 salary now when it’s possible that money wouldn’t be paid him during a lockout next season.

Hamilton declined, and the trade died within an hour of the Thursday afternoon deadline. Hamilton stayed in Detroit, and turned out to be one of several players who boycotted Friday’s shootaround and were benched in the 110-94 loss to the 76ers.

When this trade proposal was first discussed, I imagined that Cleveland would have needed an awfully large incentive to take back Hamilton’s hefty contract. With a first-round pick being involved, I assumed it must have been only top-3 protected. To hear that the Pistons would have had full lottery protection (and a trajectory that assumed they wouldn’t be giving up the pick in 2012) makes everything hurt just a little bit more.

Tags: John Kuester Kuester Watch Richard Hamilton

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