Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. We’re going to use 3-on-3s to assess the tradability of each Piston leading up to the March 15 trade deadline.
For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today, that’s Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.
Please add your responses in the comments.
1. How motivated are the Pistons to trade Tayshaun Prince?
Dan Feldman: When the Pistons re-signed Prince, I argued it was mostly done because of Joe Dumars’ comfort with Prince. If that was the case and still is the case, the odds are extremely low. Since then, Prince has played very poorly and improved his attitude. I suspect that makes him even more likely to remain in Detroit.
Patrick Hayes: Pistons fans are extremely motivated. I’m less convinced the Pistons are actively trying to move Prince. I don’t know that he was signed long-term so he could retire a Piston, but you also don’t bring back a guy touting his leadership then trade him a couple months later. Prince has seemed to be more accepting of this team’s rebuilding plight, and he’s actually talking to young players fairly often without flailing his arms at them in frustration. That’s an improvement over the last two years. I’m not saying the Pistons will never trade him, but I’d be shocked if it happened this season.
Kevin Arnovitz: Fair to middlin’. They’re aware that Prince’s best skills will diminish before the Pistons ever become good, but he’s still giving them some production at the small forward position – and it’s clear they don’t trust Austin Daye to fill those shoes.
2. How motivated are other teams to trade for Tayshaun Prince?
Dan Feldman: Prince has maintained a great reputation around the league, despite his declining play. Whether that carries over to NBA general managers, I’m not sure. Prince might have value to a contender, and his contract is far from untradeable. There’s probably at least a little interest.
Patrick Hayes: Not very. It’s not that his contract is extraordinarily bad. It’s not that Prince is obviously declining. But he’s having a poor season statistically at 31, and he has three years left on his contract after this at significant money. I’m sure contending teams would be interested in a player like Prince, but I also think his contract puts him down on their wish list some, and I don’t think the return would be much – he was worth only a late first rounder to the Mavs last year, and that was when he was having a better season and his contract was expiring. I can’t imagine his trade value is exceeding that level now.
Kevin Arnovitz: That fourth year on Prince’s new deal isn’t helping matters, but if the Pistons are willing to take back a little flotsam, he’d be a nice piece for a team in need of a little defense on the wing.
3. How likely are the Pistons to trade Tayshaun Prince?
Dan Feldman: I’d say Prince’s trade value has only declined since he signed. That shouldn’t necessarily make the Pistons more reluctant to trade him, but I suspect they’d rather stick with Prince than cut their losses – especially if trade offers don’t live up to their expectations.
Patrick Hayes: Not very. I’m just not convinced the teams that Prince could help will be motivated buyers at the deadline. Also, the Pistons don’t exactly have a solution at small forward just yet. Austin Daye has not proven he can be a reliable rotation player, let alone a starter, and Jonas Jerebko might be best suited to the multi-positional role he’s currently playing off the bench. If the Pistons are in position to pick a small forward prospect in the lottery, they might be more inclined to deal Prince in the offseason.
Kevin Arnovitz: Not terribly likely. His average annual salary isn’t horrible, but any trading partner for Prince is still committing to pay $7.7 million in 2014-15 for a player who will be 35 just after the All-Star break and is already in decline.