Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, June 30 - 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, Pa.): Because the Pistons didn’t draft a big man until the 52nd pick, do you think it’s possible they will be able to get Greg Oden? He’s a huge risk but a perfect fit and has the potential to be the second-best center in the league.
Langlois: If Portland extends the whopping $8.8 million qualifying offer to Oden – and it sure sounds like that has or will take place – then your question becomes moot. Yes, Oden will be a restricted free agent, but that number means only teams with tons of cap space could even enter the bidding and it’s hard to fathom anyone offering him a contract that would scare off Portland if the Blazers are already willing to invest that much in him.
Che (N’djamena, Chad): With a good chance Prince and McGrady won’t be back, do you think it’s possible for the Pistons to sign Wilson Chandler from Denver? He’s a solid citizen who’ll play hard and take pressure off of Daye to have to control the three spot.
Langlois: The most important consideration, Che, will be what the new collective bargaining agreement allows. But the chances are very high that Chandler stays in Denver. The Nuggets are looking at cap space as a result of the Carmelo Anthony trade that really cleared out a ton of money, including Chauncey Billups’ big contract, and as long as they value Chandler – which it at least appears they do – he’s not likely to get out of Denver as a restricted free agent.
Heimir (Reykjavik, Iceland): Do the Pistons have the cap space to make an offer for free agents David West or Nene?
Langlois: Depends what the new CBA dictates, Heimir. If the cap is no higher than it was in the final season of the current CBA, the answer would be no, in all likelihood. It doesn’t appear the Pistons would have had anything more than the mid-level exception to offer, which would not be enough to join the fray for either pursuit. I’ve gotten other questions about Tyson Chandler, a third unrestricted free agent. You can throw him onto the same pile: The Pistons won’t be able to pay him. The same, probably, for Samuel Dalembert, though Dalembert is the closest thing to a realistic option.
Brett (Mililani, Hawaii): Do you think the Pistons will at least try to re-sign Tayshaun Prince just to show Tayshaun and the fans that they appreciate his contributions to the team for the past decade? It would be weird seeing him in another uniform.
Langlois: There’s not a lot of room under the salary cap – in the current CBA and, presumably, in the next one – for sentimentality, Brett. If they sign him, it will be for what they believe he can do to help them get back on a playoff track. There is no unqualified yes or no answer to the question of whether they will pursue Prince or any free agent. It really all depends on the price point. As Tom Gores said at his introductory press conference, value is the essential question. At some point between minimum contract and maximum contract, almost every player in the league – with the notable exceptions of the unquestioned superstars – becomes a liability. Prince at $3 million a year? Great value. Prince at $15 million a year? Tough to justify. Somewhere in between those extremes is the right number. It will all depend on what the Pistons feel he can contribute and what alternatives to Prince could offer and would cost them.
Gary (Middlebury, Ind.): The fact the Pistons have a pretty decent backcourt puts Brandon Knight in a unique position. He gets to play the role a lot of rookies drafted to playoff teams do – sit back and learn. This, to me, will allow him to become better than Rose, Evans and Wall. The pressure will be off of him.
Langlois: Hard to argue that the pressure got to those three guys, Gary. Rose was MVP in his third year, Evans was Rookie of the Year and Wall would have been if Blake Griffin’s arrival hadn’t been delayed a year. Irrepressible talents succeed in almost any situation. Knight will have to fight for playing time in ways those guys didn’t, but I don’t think it will affect his long-term status one way or the other.