Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, May 19, 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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Kumar (Delhi, India): While Rip is still a good player, the Pistons should trade him and focus on their young talent. What are the possible teams or scenarios where he could be traded, apart from the Cleveland option?
Langlois: Very tough to project at this point, Kumar. The trade deadline deal that was reported with Cleveland, falling through when Hamilton was said to have rejected a buyout offer that would have covered all but about $6 million of the guaranteed portion of the two years still remaining on his contract, gives at least some appearance that the Cavs could have interest – though they were also going to receive Detroit’s lottery pick as part of that deal. Cleveland and Denver are the two teams with trade exceptions large enough to accommodate Hamilton’s salary without having to send anyone in return. Sacramento is the only team, I believe, with enough cap space to do a similar deal. It’s more likely that the Pistons would find a trade partner with interest in Hamilton that also wants to send a player or players back in return. Under normal circumstances, I’d say that would be more likely to occur after the draft. The prospect of a lockout one week after this year’s draft could affect some teams’ timetables.
Tyler (Austin, Texas): What would it take to get the No. 2 pick from Minnesota?
Langlois: Well, if I’m in the Timberwolves, looking at the Pistons’ roster, I’d ask for Greg Monroe. That would be a short conversation, I suspect. Not sure where they go from there. Derrick Williams, presumably, would be the bounty for the No. 2 spot – not saying that’s the player the Pistons would prefer, but if you’re trading into that position, Williams’ value is the barometer because he is the consensus No. 2 player in this draft. It all depends on how Minnesota and its trade partner value Williams at this point. The pick might not have as much currency as the T-wolves believe.
Jack (Sydney, Australia): Do you think we could package Ben Gordon and the No. 8 pick for Cleveland’s No. 4 pick? That would allow us to get Enes Kanter.
Langlois: I could be 180 degrees wrong, but I seriously doubt Joe Dumars would think the difference between four and eight in this draft is worth parting with Ben Gordon. My sense is that the front office still believes Gordon is the player who scored with remarkable consistency over his five years in Chicago. One other problem with your scenario, Jack: I think Kanter will be under serious consideration by both Minnesota at No. 2 and Utah at No. 3. So if Kanter was the bounty for sacrificing Gordon, then that deal couldn’t be done unless both teams pass on him.
Mike (Redford, Mich.): Valanciunas seems to have a situation with his contract that could cause him to drop. I’m wondering how far he might drop. Is it possible he would fall to the second round as Maciej Lampe did several years ago? Or do you think a team like the Spurs would scoop him up late in the first round and wait a few years as they did with Splitter and Ginobili?
Langlois: If Valanciunas’ agent senses, as the draft process plays out and teams do their best to pin down Valanciunas’ European team for details of his buyout, that his client will slip out of the top 10 or even the lottery – and I’m only developing this possibility as a hypothetical; I have no reason to think that will be the case – then he would be likely to convince Valanciunas to pull out of the draft and try again next year when the buyout, presumably, will be less restrictive. Valanciunas has not previously entered the draft, so he retains the right to pull out, and as an international player, he must only abide by the NBA’s June 13 deadline for withdrawal. (American college players, technically, have the same deadline, but effectively, they’re obliged to follow the NCAA’s deadline to allow them to retain amateur standing, which passed on May 8 this year and will be moved up to early April next year.) If the new CBA contains a similar rookie scale – as it is expected to – then it won’t serve Valanciunas’ interests to be taken in the teens or 20s and locked in at a much lower rate for the first three or four years of his career.
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