3-on-3: Trading Walker Russell

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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 Dave Pemberton of The Oakland Press.

Please add your responses in the comment.

1. How motivated are the Pistons to trade Walker Russell?

Dan Feldman: The Pistons signed Walker Russell when Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum were injured, and now that those two are healthy and Brandon Knight is improving, Russell’s role has diminished. He no longer holds value as a steadying force in the backcourt, so if the Pistons can get a return for him – and/or send him to a team where he’ll play – I’d think they would.

Patrick Hayes: They’d probably trade him. Russell isn’t any kind of long-term solution on the roster. If a team wanted him and was willing to give up something for him (a prospect or pick), the Pistons would do it.

Dave Pemberton: The Pistons have no real incentive to trade Russell since he likely won’t garner much in return and his salary is the league minimum. Russell is well liked in the locker room and by the coaching staff, so odds are they want to keep him around.

2. How motivated are other teams to trade for Walker Russell?

Dan Feldman: The Pistons should call every team in the league pitching Russell as “The player the Knicks wanted before Jeremy Lin.” If that won’t generate interest, nothing will.

Patrick Hayes: Well, the Knicks were supposedly interested before they went with Jeremy Lin, but the caveat is they were interested in signing Russell if the Pistons released him, not trading for him. There are probably teams who would like a player like Russell to fill out their bench. I’m not sure any would part with a pick or a player to get him, though.

Dave Pemberton: Seeing as any NBA team could have had him before the Pistons called him up, I would say few teams are interested. He’s currently out of the Pistons rotation, so he’s not going to catch anyone’s eye. He is also a 29-year-old rookie with little NBA experience, so he’s likely not what contending teams are looking for at the trade deadline.

3. How likely are the Pistons to trade Walker Russell?

Dan Feldman: I don’t see Russell involved in a trade on his own, but like Vernon Macklin and Damien Wilkins, he has value in a multi-player trade, because minimum contracts count toward outgoing, but not incoming, salary.

Patrick Hayes: Not likely. There are a few teams looking for backup point guard help, but there are also better players that may or may not be available in trades (including Russell’s teammate, Will Bynum). If one of those point guard-needy teams misses out on all of its targets, they might try to get Russell, but I would think he’s pretty far down on that list.

Dave Pemberton: I would be surprised if he was dealt, unless it was part of a bigger deal. Russell earned his spot on the Pistons roster and can contribute as a backup point guard when called upon, but there likely is not much interest in trading for him.

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