Is Tayshaun Prince too old for a sign-and-trade?

When I posted a report that the Nets will target Tayshaun Prince once the lockout ends, a few commenters began scouring New Jersey’s roster for a potential return in a sign-and-trade.

But why would the Nets, who will almost certainly have cap room, give up an asset to sign Prince? Really, why would any team give up an asset to sign Prince?

Joe Dumars didn’t trade Prince to the Mavericks for their first-round pick at the trade deadline, and word is Dumars thought he could get more for Prince in a sign-and-trade. If Dumars hadn’t already spoken with Prince and other teams to assess the sign-and-trade market (and maybe even if he had), I think the Pistons president miscalculated.

Prince, 31, is too old for a sign-and-trade. Of course, no rule prevents a sign-and-trade based on age, but practicality does. A chief reason a team acquiring  a free agent does a sign-and-trade is to offer the player more years and more money. But will teams really want to pay Prince when he’s 37, let alone give him larger year-to-year raises?

That’s why, of the 35 examples of sign-and-trades I found in the previous seven summers,* Prince would be the third-oldest player to get signed-and-traded. (Darrell Armstrong and

Ervin Johnson, who were both 38 when signed-and-traded, are outliers). The median age for a player when he’s signed-and-traded is 27.

Here’s how many players of each have been signed-and-traded in the previous seven summers and where Prince would fit:


Now, maybe Dumars has a specific sign-and-trade already lined up for Prince. (I’ve speculated Prince for Chris Kaman would work for both Detroit and the Clippers.)

Dumars certainly commands a respect around the league that probably allows him to get credible information from other teams. Plus, Dumars has always treated his veteran players well. Ideally, in exchange, Prince was up front with Dumars in February about his summer plans. So, Dumars hopefully has a sound understanding of Prince’s specific sign-and-trade possibilities.

I certainly hope Dumars has a plan. If he’s just winging this one, he’ll likely find the sign-and-trade market for Prince lacking partnering teams. But even if Dumars has a plan, a lot could change between the trade deadline and the beginning of free agency.

Banking on a Prince sign-and-trade returning more than Dallas’ first-round-pick seems misguided to me. Maybe that’s why Dumars has interest in re-signing Prince.

It could be the only way for the Pistons to get any value from the 31-year-old.

*I couldn’t find a complete list of sign-and-trades, and I could find what I consider a close-to-complete list only since 2004. There’s a strong chance I’m missing at least one. I If you know of any sign-and-trades, post a link in the comments, and I’ll update the chart. A list of the sign-and-trades I found follows the jump.

Player Year Age
Hakim Warrick 2010 28
David Lee 2010 27
LeBron James 2010 26
Anthony Morrow 2010 25
Josh Childress 2010 27
C.J. Watson 2010 26
Carlos Boozer 2010 29
Amar’e Stoudemire 2010 28
Chris Bosh 2010 26
Jon Brockman 2010 23
Shawn Marion 2009 31
Hedo Turkoglu 2009 30
Carlos Delfino 2009 27
Keyon Dooling 2008 28
Rashard Lewis 2007 28
Darrell Armstrong 2006 38
Andre Owens 2006 26
Peja Stojakovic 2006 29
Al Harrington 2006 26
John Edwards 2006 25
Kwame Brown 2005 23
Eddy Curry 2005 23
Dan Dickau 2005 27
Jermaine Jackson 2005 29
Marco Jaric 2005 27
Ervin Johnson 2005 38
James Jones 2005 25
Laron Profit 2005 28
Antoine Walker 2005 29
Chris Mihm 2004 25
Kenyon Martin 2004 27
Amal McCaskill 2004 31
Jamal Crawford 2004 24
Erick Dampier 2004 29
Mike Wilks 2004 25

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