Pistons Mailbag - Monday, April 25, 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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David (Grand Rapids, Mich.): So any trade we make involving Tayshaun Prince must now be a sign-and-trade deal? What happened to expiring contracts being valuable? We knew he was leaving. Why not get something before the trade deadline? He could be helping a lot of teams in the playoffs right now.
Langlois: Sure he could be helping a lot of teams in the playoffs right now, but it wasn’t the Pistons’ duty to help other teams make a playoff push or, for that matter, to give Prince a better shot at winning a ring. Joe Dumars’ obligation is to the Pistons. There were reports that the Pistons turned down an offer from Dallas for a No. 1 pick for Prince at the trade deadline. For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that was true. Why might the Pistons turn that down? It’s conceivable Joe Dumars believes he can get something more valuable than a pick in the late 20s – as Dallas’ pick seemed certain to be at that time – in an off-season sign and trade for Prince. It’s almost certain that he knows what many GMs around the league would be willing to give up for Prince in trade because he’s surely had those discussions the past few years for almost everyone on his roster. It’s also possible he has a sense for which teams will pursue Prince as a free agent, and further possible that he has an inkling what Prince might prefer to do this summer. So it’s likely not just wishful thinking on Dumars’ part if it’s true that he believes he can do better than a late No. 1 for Prince. Also worth considering: There just won’t be much of a difference between what a late No. 1 in this draft will yield and what the Pistons can expect to get at No. 33 with Toronto’s pick in the second round. And with a young team, and another lottery pick coming this year, the thought of adding three more rookies to the roster next season probably wasn’t terribly appealing.
Glenn (East Troy, Wis.): In Thursday’s Mailbag, you said the Pistons’ salary situation could change before free agency if they traded someone before June 30. Could they trade someone with an expiring contract (Prince, Wilcox, McGrady)? If they traded someone else, would we be trading them along with their 2010-11 salary cap figure or their 2011-12 cap figure?
Langlois: Players with expiring contracts can’t be traded, Glenn. If the Pistons were to trade someone before June 30, the dollar figures used to determine whether the deal met cap parameters would be from the 2010-11 season. At midnight June 30, the league closes the books on 2010-11 and then the numbers that would dictate trade parameters would be 2011-12 deals. Players like Rip Hamilton, Jason Maxiell and Will Bynum have flat contracts, though, so it wouldn’t matter if they were to be the ones included in trade.
Marcos (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): I have two country-based questions for you. First, what do you think the Pistons would give up to get Nene? Second, any chance the Pistons draft Lucas Nogueira early in the second round? He’s raw, but the kid has tremendous shot-blocking potential.
Langlois: If Nene exercises the early termination option in his contract, I’d be floored if it wasn’t with the understanding that he was going to re-sign with Denver. It’s really less a question of what the Pistons or any team would be willing to give up to get him and more an issue of what Denver would want for him. He has been clear that his preference is to stay in Denver and the Nuggets have no apparent motivation to move him – unless, of course, somebody was offering a tremendous player in return. Don’t see that happening. I also doubt Noguiera slides out of the first round. You’re right – he’s raw. But in a draft with very few sure things, an 18-year-old 7-footer with the potential Noguiera showed last summer in world competition will draw great interest. And let’s face it – the teams picking in the 20s, for the most part, are the ones who can most afford to wait on a project. If he somehow does get down to 33, you can bet he’d be on the short list for the Pistons.
Steve (Ionia, Mich.): In a crunch for time on our project in sports lit and there is no better person to get info from then Keith Langlois. What are your thoughts on the NBA playoff format? Should there be any changes?
Langlois: That is shameless pandering, Steve, clearly designed to get somebody to do your homework so you can devote more time to polishing your pickup lines for more meaningful pursuits, but I’ll play along – not that there’s much sizzle to my answer. I like the playoff system just as it is. I was never a fan of the best-of-five for the first round or – even worse – the old three-game miniseries. Too much chance of a fluke to wipe out the results of an 82-game season. I’m also resistant to any attempts to seed the 16-team field regardless of conference affiliation, which has gained some steam in the past few years with the West’s recent dominance. If you go to that system, you might as well completely abandon the conference structure. Competitive balance between the conferences is cyclical. There will be years one or the other is clearly better, but for the most part – as long as the collective bargaining agreement creates a level playing field – there are going to be two or three teams in each conference with a shot at going all the way and then a bunch of other teams with a shot at getting past the first round and making things reasonably competitive. Wouldn’t change a thing.
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