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 Tim Thielke, who comments here as “tarsier.”
Please add your responses in the comments.
1. How motivated are the Pistons to trade Damien Wilkins?
Dan Feldman: It appears the Pistons signed Wilkins only when Kyle Singler decided to stay in Spain. Wilkins isn’t part of the Pistons’ long-term future, and he was only a backup plan for their present. Why not move him if any value can be had in return?
Patrick Hayes: They’d move him. Because Wilkins is playing for the veteran’s minimum, he wouldn’t bring back much in a one for one, but if the Pistons could get a modest asset – a second-round pick or a young player with a modicum of upside on a cheap rookie deal – I have to think they’d do it.
Tim Thielke: Not very. If someone calls and offers an asset for him, even a future late second rounder, Dumars may as well accept. But Wilkins is cheap, expiring, would be fine sitting on the bench as injury insurance, and often picks up minutes when Frank has to play somebody who won’t be too much of a liability (the Austin Daye argument is relevant in the case of a question "How motivated should the Pistons be…"). More importantly, the Pistons’ players who seem to have the most potential to be traded are Tayshaun Prince and Daye. If either is dealt and his return does not include a wing, the Pistons will need someone like Wilkins even more.
2. How motivated are other teams to trade for Damien Wilkins?
Dan Feldman: If injury strikes and a contender likes Wilkins more than any free agent available, maybe it would make sense to trade a second rounder for Wilkins. After all, when a championship is in reach, you don’t want to chance things. But, even ignoring the odds of an injury to generate demand, it’s doubtful a contender feels that way about Wilkins.
Patrick Hayes: He’s probably not high on many wish lists. Wilkins will probably get another NBA contract because he’s professional, hard-working and plays defense. That’s exactly the type of qualities many teams want in an 11th, 12th or 13th man. Unfortunately, it’s not usually the type of qualities a team will trade anything of value for, since players like Wilkins are pretty readily available for minimum salaries through free agency.
Tim Thielke: Not at all. What team is that desperate for a small forward who should be third string? If someone is, try Reggie Williams, Linas Kleiza, Luke Walton or Jason Kapono – all of whom are probably a bit better than Wilkins. The league is teeming with mediocre wings – I really named just a few – who could be had for a song. And their contracts come in every size and shape, so just about any trade could be manageable.
3. How likely are the Pistons to trade Damien Wilkins?
Dan Feldman: Other than as part of a multi-player deal – as I said in the Vernon Macklin post, minimum-salary players are especially helpful making trades work – I see only the very narrow circumstance stated above that would lead to Wilkins being traded. It’s very unlikely all that works out.
Patrick Hayes: Not very. Barring a larger deal that includes Wilkins to make salaries work, he’s probably not going anywhere. He’ll finish out the season in Detroit, then the Pistons will probably search for a more permanent solution behind small forward of the past/present/future Tayshaun Prince, and Wilkins will go earn his way onto another NBA roster.
Tim Thielke: Unlikely. If Wilkins is traded, it’s because he is a throw in to make salaries work. However, I am expecting the deadline to pass without any moves from Joe Dumars. Again, I think the most likely Pistons to move are Prince and Daye. That fact and the enhanced ease of matching salaries under the new CBA make Wilkins less likely to be attached as trade filler.