Pistons Mailbag - Monday, December 12, 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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Howard (Gladstone, Mich.): If the Pistons buy out Hamilton, will the buyout come off the salary cap? If not, why buy him out as opposed to using the amnesty clause?
Langlois: In the case of the amnesty clause, Hamilton would have been owed 100 percent of the guaranteed money left on his contract – $21 million, minus the prorated portion lost to the 16 games the lockout devoured, or roughly $2 million. The upside for the Pistons would have been that all of that money would have been wiped away for cap purposes. The advantages to the Pistons in negotiating a buyout are that it cost them less money – how much less depends on the terms of the buyout, but it could be half or more of what Hamilton was owed – and still allows them to use the amnesty on another player currently under contract at any point over the next three years. For cap purposes, the amount of Hamilton’s buyout will be evenly distributed over this season and next, so it could give the Pistons $7 million or so in additional cap room if the buyout was for 50 percent of what Hamilton was still owed.
Jay (Lebanon, N.J.): Last year, you wrote that the Pistons were thinking of adding an alternate jersey. Will they introduce a new jersey this year?
Langlois: Not this year or next, Jay. As I wrote in last week’s Mailbag, the NBA requires considerable advance notification. The Pistons are actively studying a new alternate jersey, but the earliest it could be unveiled is for the 2013-14 season.
Chris (Brighton, Mich.): The NBA’s blocking of the Chris Paul trade is interesting. Could that have been done if the NBA didn’t own the team? Was a franchise player tag ever discussed during CBA negotiations? It seems like that would solve a lot of small-market tension. And is there any way to address, now that the CBA has been signed, the amount of control players have in determining where they can be traded?
Langlois: A commissioner holds broad power. Yes, he could block a trade involving teams not owned by the league if he deemed it appropriate, but the circumstances would have to be extreme. A franchise tag was reported to have been discussed, but it wasn’t an issue that seemed to be one the owners pushed as hard as others. No, what’s in the CBA comprises the rules of the game for at least the next six years.
Stephen (Leiden, Netherlands): Why did the Pistons decide to bring back Tayshaun Prince for four years? It was obvious that a fresh start was needed. We have Daye and Jerebko. What is the reasoning behind this decision?
Langlois: The angst that exists over the return of Prince comes from those who see him as symbolic of the malaise that gripped the Pistons the past few years. To secure a small forward who, by almost any reasonable estimation, ranks in the top half of starters at his position, has been remarkably durable and has shown no evidence of regression and do it for money not all that much about the mid-level exception seems reasonable to me. If you’re Lawrence Frank, coming in determined to re-establish the defensive mind-set that has defined the Pistons at their best, it’s a lot easier to do when you have a small forward who can and has managed to limit the damage inflicted by the East’s array of scoring stars at that position – LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce. The Pistons see Austin Daye as a big part of the future, but Daye is best utilized now off the bench where they can both pick the matchups for him more judiciously and better utilize his versatility.
Mark (Romulus, Mich.): Is there any chance the Pistons can still land Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap? If so, what would it take to land either player?
Langlois: It makes sense that Utah will look to peddle one of those players now that they’ve added Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter and still have Mehmet Okur. Millsap would be a lot easier to move because of their contracts – Millsap two years and about $14 million, Jefferson two and more than twice that much. The difficulty would be finding a match. The Jazz need athletic perimeter players. Not sure the Pistons are a match for them.
Kira (Hamtramck, Mich.): Two trade scenarios: Austin Daye and Will Bynum for Michael Beasley and Rodney Stuckey for Robin Lopez or Marcin Gortat. Would those deals help the Pistons?
Langlois: Beasley still has character issues surrounding him and Joe Dumars has doubled down over the past few years on avoiding those types, best evidenced by draft choices Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. Not saying Beasley would be a non-starter, but they would have to be convinced his head’s in the right place. Stuckey is a more talented player than Lopez or Gortat and has more to offer, in my view, but big always trumps small in one-for-one trades. It wouldn’t be out of the question, but I’d expect to get something more in return for Stuckey – though I believe either one of those players would improve the frontcourt.
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