Pistons, per source, won’t use amnesty, saving the likes of Charlie Villanueva
Villanueva will make $8,580,000 next season, and I’ve come around to the idea that amnestying him might be a sound basketball decision. I don’t know what potential trades the Pistons have in mind – at this point, extra cap room wouldn’t accomplish much in free agency – but amnestying Villanueva could either help or hinder them.
The numbers can change slightly, but for simplicity’s sake, the rest of the post assumes the Pistons’ contracts (including Villanueva, but excluding any player they lose to reach the roster limit) exactly equal the salary cap.
If the Pistons amnesty Villanueva, they could take back only $8,680,000 in a trade without giving up additional players.
If the Pistons don’t amnesty Villanueva, they could take back $12,970,000 by trading only Villanueva.
So, if the Pistons are targeting Villanueva-related trades that would bring back large salaries – maybe for Rajon Rondo or Rudy Gay – they might be better off keeping him.
However, if they’re considering Villanueva-related trades for players who make $8,680,000 or less, they should amnestying him.
Imagine you have a team with a player making $8,680,000 or less you want to trade to the Pistons. To make the cap numbers work, would you rather take back nothing or take back Villanueva, whom you’d have to pay $50,471 per day. I think nearly every team would prefer nothing. In other words, any trade involving that scenario would give the Pistons more favorable terms elsewhere in the deal’s structure (draft picks, etc.) if they amnesty Villanueva.
Unfortunately, because the amnesty window closes Tuesday, the Pistons must likely decide on the amnesty before they know what Villanueva-related trades will be available. Maybe this move was made for sound basketball reasons – because Joe Dumars believes Villanueva’s contract will better serve the Pistons in a trade than additional cap space would. But amnestying Villanueva and completing such a trade would cost Tom Gores more money, because he’d have to pay both Villanueva and the replacement player. So, from the outside, we can’t know this decision was made in the interest of making the Pistons the best team possible or the interest of making Gores as much money as possible.
We do know the Pistons not amnestying Villanueva bode poorly for Kim English and Peyton Siva, as Detroit must trim its roster to 15. I’d be surprised if the Pistons don’t waive English by tomorrow, and though the they have more time to determine Siva’s fate, one avenue to clear a roster spot for him is now gone.