Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - Page 2
Pistons.com editor Keith Langlois answers your questions about the Pistons and NBA. Click here to submit your questions - please include your name, email address and city/state on the form. Return to the Mailbag homepage.
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Tim (Philadelphia): Assuming the new CBA is the same as the present one, what kind of contract do you think Stuckey would command? Given his potential but, so far, his failure to reach it, six years at $30 million seems right to me.
Langlois: The contract that I’m sure Joe Dumars will be confronted with at some point during negotiations is the one Memphis gave to Mike Conley last fall. They were in the same draft class, Conley going No. 4 – 11 spots higher than Stuckey. Stuckey hasn’t forgotten, and he has had some big games at Conley’s expense. I don’t think many would argue that Stuckey has consistently been the better player since they entered the NBA, though their numbers for this season are similar and Conley’s team made the playoffs. Memphis gave Conley an incentive-laden contract that reportedly will be for $40 million on the low end, escalating to $45 million if Conley achieves certain milestones and the Grizzlies experience team success. The new CBA is a complicating factor, as well. Even assuming Stuckey retains his status as a restricted free agent, if a CBA isn’t struck until late in the summer or beyond – limiting the window between then and when rosters are completed and training camps open – will they retain the system that allows RFAs to shop themselves, solicit offers and give original teams one week to match signed offers? If a CBA is completed well ahead of camps, then I would expect Joe D to go down the same path he traveled with Will Bynum last summer. As a RFA, Bynum did not sign an offer sheet with another team, then negotiated a deal with the Pistons several weeks after free agency opened. In other words, the rest of the league could set the market. If Stuckey doesn’t stir up an offer sheet, the advantage in negotiating goes to the Pistons. There is also the possibility, though I don’t think it’s a likely outcome, that Stuckey plays next season on the one-year qualifying offer the Pistons must extend to him by June 30. If they don’t extend that offer, Stuckey would become a free agent this off-season.
Robert (Georgetown, Ky.): Do you think Darius Morris would get a look from the Pistons in the second round? I think he could be a very solid pro with his size and ability to score near the basket and mid-range. He won’t be a 20 and 10 guy, but he could certainly be a 15-5-5 kind of guard.
Langlois: A “15-5-5 kind of guard” – that’s about what Rodney Stuckey gives the Pistons, Robert. If NBA scouts think Darius Morris, coming off of his sophomore season in college, could match the numbers of a four-year pro like Rodney Stuckey who will be looking at an attractive contract this summer, whatever the numbers come in at, he wouldn’t last until the second round. I won’t guarantee anything much about the draft, but that much I would. The best guess is that Morris heads back to Michigan unless somebody picking in the 20s gives the kid a strong indication he’d be picked there. But as we learned last year – the first draft under the new, earlier deadline for withdrawal imposed by the NCAA – teams simply aren’t prepared to issue that type of guidance so early in the draft process.
J.B. (Northville, Mich.): If you could pick a starting five for the Pistons as well as a sixth man, who would you pick among all the players in the league?
Langlois: I suspect the new CBA wouldn’t allow me to fit all of their salaries under the cap, but as long as we’re playing fantasy basketball, I’d want Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard on my team. That would make Wade, at 29, the old man of my starting five. So I’d feel OK about adding a graybeard like Kobe Bryant or Dirk Nowitzki to come off of my bench. (I know what I’m setting myself up for with this answer: Who would you take if you had to concern yourself with the salary cap?)
Jeremy (Detroit): I’ve been reading about the need for a point guard, but we’ve completely forgotten about Terrico White. I feel he would have a solid place on this team if he didn’t have his season-ending injury. Do you agree?
Langlois: No idea, Jeremy. The Pistons can’t say that with any confidence, either. There was very little expectation that White would crack the rotation this year even before he broke his foot. But they did hope that a full season of practicing with the team, working on the rough edges of his game before and after practices with the coaching staff and getting his feet wet in the D-League for a handful of games here and there would give them an idea what they had going into his second season. That got wiped out. And with the likelihood that at least a chunk of the summer, if not all of it, will be lost to CBA negotiations, it’s going to be like starting all over for White whenever training camp opens. Remember, even if training camp opens on time next September, teams can have no contact with their players after midnight June 30 if a new CBA isn’t in place by then. And those summer months of working out with Pistons coaches and strength coach Arnie Kander would have been big for White.
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