When I posted a report that the Nets will target When I posted a report that the Nets will target

Is Tayshaun Prince too old for a sign-and-trade?

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When I posted a report that the Nets will target Tayshaun Prince once the lockout ends, a few commenters began scouring New Jersey’s roster for a potential return in a sign-and-trade.

But why would the Nets, who will almost certainly have cap room, give up an asset to sign Prince? Really, why would any team give up an asset to sign Prince?

Joe Dumars didn’t trade Prince to the Mavericks for their first-round pick at the trade deadline, and word is Dumars thought he could get more for Prince in a sign-and-trade. If Dumars hadn’t already spoken with Prince and other teams to assess the sign-and-trade market (and maybe even if he had), I think the Pistons president miscalculated.

Prince, 31, is too old for a sign-and-trade. Of course, no rule prevents a sign-and-trade based on age, but practicality does. A chief reason a team acquiring  a free agent does a sign-and-trade is to offer the player more years and more money. But will teams really want to pay Prince when he’s 37, let alone give him larger year-to-year raises?

That’s why, of the 35 examples of sign-and-trades I found in the previous seven summers,* Prince would be the third-oldest player to get signed-and-traded. (Darrell Armstrong and Ervin Johnson, who were both 38 when signed-and-traded, are outliers). The median age for a player when he’s signed-and-traded is 27.

Here’s how many players of each have been signed-and-traded in the previous seven summers and where Prince would fit:

Now, maybe Dumars has a specific sign-and-trade already lined up for Prince. (I’ve speculated Prince for Chris Kaman would work for both Detroit and the Clippers.)

Dumars certainly commands a respect around the league that probably allows him to get credible information from other teams. Plus, Dumars has always treated his veteran players well. Ideally, in exchange, Prince was up front with Dumars in February about his summer plans. So, Dumars hopefully has a sound understanding of Prince’s specific sign-and-trade possibilities.

I certainly hope Dumars has a plan. If he’s just winging this one, he’ll likely find the sign-and-trade market for Prince lacking partnering teams. But even if Dumars has a plan, a lot could change between the trade deadline and the beginning of free agency.

Banking on a Prince sign-and-trade returning more than Dallas’ first-round-pick seems misguided to me. Maybe that’s why Dumars has interest in re-signing Prince.

It could be the only way for the Pistons to get any value from the 31-year-old.

*I couldn’t find a complete list of sign-and-trades, and I could find what I consider a close-to-complete list only since 2004. There’s a strong chance I’m missing at least one. I If you know of any sign-and-trades, post a link in the comments, and I’ll update the chart. A list of the sign-and-trades I found follows the jump.

PlayerYearAge
Hakim Warrick201028
David Lee201027
LeBron James201026
Anthony Morrow201025
Josh Childress201027
C.J. Watson201026
Carlos Boozer201029
Amar’e Stoudemire201028
Chris Bosh201026
Jon Brockman201023
Shawn Marion200931
Hedo Turkoglu200930
Carlos Delfino200927
Keyon Dooling200828
Rashard Lewis200728
Darrell Armstrong200638
Andre Owens200626
Peja Stojakovic200629
Al Harrington200626
John Edwards200625
Kwame Brown200523
Eddy Curry200523
Dan Dickau200527
Jermaine Jackson200529
Marco Jaric200527
Ervin Johnson200538
James Jones200525
Laron Profit200528
Antoine Walker200529
Chris Mihm200425
Kenyon Martin 200427
Amal McCaskill200431
Jamal Crawford200424
Erick Dampier200429
Mike Wilks200425