Detroit made a statement with their move of Tayshaun Prince. The Pistons were already ushering in a new era, but now the eyes are completely shifted to the long term. Even if Calderon injects enough energy to make the 8-seed, the team still isn’t in championship position. So what is next? What moves could the Pistons make before the deadline, or in free agency 2013? Before we get into the future, let me put up a picture of Detroit’s current contracts (credit to HoopsHype) you should be referencing throughout this post.
Before The Deadline: There are people who believe that Detroit is going to make yet another move. I saw theories involving Maxiell, Bynum, and even Corey Maggette. I don’t see how any of those players that are on expiring deals make any sense. The only type of players that Pistons should be trying to trade any of these 3 players for are solid young guys on rookie contracts. None of those guys are going to fetch a solid player on a rookie deal (think about how Rudy Gay got Ed Davis). Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerekbo are other names being thrown out there for potential trades. If the Pistons could ship out Jonas for an expiring deal without giving up a pick it would be really nice, but I have no idea what other team would wilingly trade to pay Jerekbo in 2014/15. Not that Jonas is on a completely awful deal, but he is even tied to the bench in Detroit, plus he has two years after this. The Pistons would have to take on an even worse contract or trade away a pick, and that isn’t worth it. Now as for Stuckey, it could be interesting. The salary cap is currently set at $58.044 million. Shedding Stuckey’s salary would put the Pistons at about $28 million total for the upcoming free agency period. That is two $15 million deals, which is about the max. If Detroit wants to be a huge player in 2013 free agency, finding a way to ship out Stuckey could be a great move. The problem is finding a good deal for Stuckey. It was already hard to find a team to take his contract, and he has made it so much harder with how bad he has played. I personally don’t want to see the Pistons send out a 1st round pick like they did in the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette deal. If the Pistons could find a way to dump Stuckey for an expiring deal I say do it, if not free agency 2014 won’t be bad alternative.
2013 Free Agency:
The Pistons could be players in 2013 Free Agency now that Jose Calderon and Corey Maggette free up $20 million. The question is will they want to be? Chris Paul would be awesome in Detroit, but you can’t really believe a guy like that is leaving LA. OJ Mayo has a sort of similar track record at this part of his career that Ben Gordon had when he was a free agent, and Detroit doesn’t want to pay a similar guy that much again (I hope). Also, is someone like Andre Iguodala going to decline a $15 million player option to be a free agent? Also, obvious but needs to be stated, don’t expect Detroit to go after Dwight Howard, not with Andre Drummond here. There are a lot of options that either don’t make sense, don’t deserve the money, or probably are staying put. Josh Smith would be a guy to look out for, if Frank doesn’t want to play Drummond and Monroe together, who would be a better 3rd big to rotate? Paul Millsap is another player who would be a good 3rd big in Detroit. If you feel like they need to play Monroe and Drummond big minutes and think I’m crazy. Consider the fact that if you played Monroe at Center when Millsap/Smith is on the floor and Power Forward when Drummond is on the floor. Doing it in the most simple of context, if you play the 3 players at all 96 minutes of big man floor time, each guy can play 32 minutes which are considered a good amount of NBA minutes.
Another thing that this can be dependent upon is the potential Charlie V amnesty. Sean Highkin of Hardwood Paroxysm and Portland Round Ball Society tweeted this. I honestly have no idea what he is basing this off of, but if Charlie V gets amnestied and Rodney gets dealt. That leaves Detroit with a bunch of rookie deals, Victor Kravtsov, and Jonas Jerekbo. Going off of the salary cap number this year that means they will be about $40 mill under the cap. That could leave them for 2 max deals, a marginal deal, a mid-level exception (if granted), and a resigning of Greg Monroe after all that. The thing is, who is the next free agent? I am not sold that this season’s OJ Mayo is the one to stay. Sure, he is enjoying the reigns being more loose in Dallas, but I see him as another Ben Gordon type signing if he goes for $10 plus million. The Pistons are much, much better off standing pat in 2013 free agency unless they can get something better than Mayo. Resigning Monroe and getting the money set to make a run at 2014’s crop would be more enticing to me. Even if it is frustrating Detroit is stuck with Stuckey and Charlie V, they are off the books the very next season which makes Detroit an even bigger player in the 2014 market. Of course, this could all change if Chris Paul doesn’t resign, or if some teams holding onto restricted free agents doesn’t want to match other offers.