Pistons picked up Austin Daye’s fourth-year option in June – June!

First-round picks have two guaranteed years on their contracts followed by two team options. The options must be picked up in advance of the season before the option year (e.g., the Pistons picked up Austin Daye’s option for the 2010-11 season in October 2009). Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com:

Due to the lockout, the usual October 31st deadline for these options was put back to January 25th. So there’s still time.

[NB: Despite no customary press release saying so, Detroit did in fact exercise their options for Greg Monroe and Austin Daye back in June.]

What the what?

Any argument that Daye needs minutes this season to show the Pistons what he can do before they decide on his option is irrelevant, or at least on hold. Daye is guaranteed $2,958,077 next season, regardless.

Why pick up that option in June when the Pistons had until Jan. 25? Maybe they were concerned the lockout, set to begin July 1, would vanquish their window for picking up the option. After all, several other teams uncustomarily picked up options on their players in June.

If that were Detroit’s logic, I would have defended it. At the time, I think Daye had shown enough to deserve a fourth year. But did the Pistons have an idea they’d have part of this season to evaluate Daye? And if so, why not use it?

I don’t have a clue on these questions, because I haven’t seen the Pistons – either directly or through the media – inform fans about Joe Dumars’ rationale for picking up Daye’s option. The transaction has hardly even been mentioned. Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit wrote (incorrectly) that the Pistons picked up Daye’s option for next season before last season during his recent chat and mentioned it in passing in another article, but otherwise, I’ve seen nothing.

The lockout has created a whole new set of rules to learn on the fly. Until Tim Donahue of Eight Points, Nine Seconds informed me yesterday, I didn’t know the deadline for these options was Jan. 25 this season. I’m certainly not blaming the beat writers for missing this story.

I’m also not necessarily blaming Dumars. If the choice were still open Jan. 25, I would’ve picked up Daye’s option. He has enough ability that I’d spend $3 million for another year of hoping he sorts out his confidence and physicality issues. The Pistons – with access to Daye’s practices and other behind-the-scenes events – have more information than I do to make that decision.

But whether due to negligence or unforeseeable circumstances , the Pistons never gave themselves that option. I’d like to know why.

Update: Vince Ellis responds

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press responded in the comments:

Hi guys,

I will tell you guys a story from my first year on the beat. I can’t remember the player (Stuckey, Afflalo), but I was in near panic near the Oct. 30 deadline because I didn’t see anything in the archives saying the Pistons had picked up the player option. Then I calmed down when a source told me they did back over the summer.

Although I would prefer a release, when these deadlines come up from players’ rookie deals it’s not really news unless the team declines to pick up the option – basically giving up on the player. Hence you see articles when the DaJuan Summers and Terrico Whites of the world are dropped. I understand the confusion. Especially when I saw bloggers writing earlier this year that the Pistons had a decision to make that I already knew they had made back in June. It’s led to some inconsistent reporting. We report Stuckey, Summers and Jerebko last June, but no mention of Daye and Monroe. In my case at least, I know I was focused on the labor negotiations, coaching search and the draft during June so maybe that’s why Monroe and Daye slipped through the cracks. All we had to do was ask.

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