Pistons Mailbag - Monday, January 30, 2012 - 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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Osai (Grand Rapids, Mich.): I’ve been in love with James Harden’s game since his college years and followed his career ever since. I would love your opinion on what it would take to get him. Money aside, I think a package of Gordon and a future first-rounder (not this year, though) would get their attention. I would do whatever it took to get him here with Knight and Monroe.
Langlois: If I’m Oklahoma City, I’d start by asking for Greg Monroe. Once the Pistons rejected that idea, I’d ask for this year’s No. 1 pick – unprotected. I suspect the Pistons would reject that one, as well. Then, both sides would move on. I don’t see any other fit. You can’t say “money aside,” Osai, because OKC could not absorb Gordon’s contract without sending more than only Harden’s contract back. Brandon Knight, as talented as he is, wouldn’t pry Harden away because the way Russell Westbrook dominates the ball wouldn’t make Knight as valuable to OKC as he is to the Pistons. As a highly productive player still on his rookie contract, Harden’s not going anywhere unless somebody makes a wholly senseless offer to the Thunder.
Kendell (Baton Rouge, La.): I have a trade deadline proposal. How about Stuckey, Gordon, Prince and Charlie V to Boston for Garnett, Allen, Dooling and the Celtics’ No. 1 pick?
Langlois: Danny Ainge is on record saying he will consider trading any of his star players, but the only type of trade that makes sense for the Celtics is one that makes them significantly younger or gives them the cap space to pursue two free agents this off-season. There has been speculation they might try to lure both Dwight Howard and Deron Williams, and while neither has indicated a willingness to play in Boston, if nobody else can fit both of them under the cap I think they’d consider it. Your proposed trade would mean taking back four contracts that all would extend not only into next season but beyond. The only way Ainge signs off on that trade is if he thinks it boosts the Celtics’ title chances this year and extends their championship window another few years. That isn’t a very likely outcome.
Daniel (Detroit): Will the Pistons be willing to draft Perry Jones from Baylor? I think he would fit in perfectly with the Pistons. What’s your take on him?
Langlois: Jones is maybe the most intriguing player in the draft – if he decides to enter it this year, that is. It was widely assumed he would be in last year’s draft, especially when the NCAA suspended him at the end of last season and extended it for the first several games of this season. Jones is a legit 6-foot-11 and he has true perimeter skills – ballhandling, shooting and quickness. That said, if I’m a GM picking in the top five, he’d scare me. The skills are so obvious and the potential so great, you almost can’t bypass him. But for all his talent, he sometimes has very little impact on Baylor games. The tough call for scouts to answer will be if that is because of the way he’s used. Is it because Baylor has a number of other talented players? Or is it simply that Jones doesn’t play with great intensity, doesn’t have a high basketball IQ or doesn’t really love competing? I think there will be great debate on that going into draft night and I think there will be GMs picking high in the draft who love him and others who wouldn’t touch him. Some would rather take a player they acknowledge to have a lower ceiling but they feel will have a more certain level of productivity. On paper, yeah, Jones’ length and athleticism are ideal for the Pistons. And I know virtually every member of the front office has scouted Baylor, so they’ll have a thick dossier on Jones by the time June rolls around. I don’t know if there’s another projected lottery pick with a wider range of possibilities for his career than Jones – superstar or head-scratcher.
P.J. Moore (Greensboro, N.C.): What do you think of the possibility of signing Eric Gordon in the off-season since he has rejected New Orleans’ extension? He’s six years younger than Ben and is better suited to start alongside Knight. To make room for him we could trade Ben Gordon, Charlie V and a future first-rounder for DeMarcus Cousins.
Langlois: Highly unlikely Eric Gordon is getting away from the Hornets, P.J. He’ll be a restricted free agent. The NBA, temporary owners of the frnachise, nixed the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers because league officials didn’t think the Hornets were getting enough back. Gordon was one of the two key components – the unprotected No. 1 pick of Minnesota being the other, which no longer is a cinch lottery pick – that finally convinced the league office New Orleans was doing enough to protect the value of the franchise to approve trading Paul. When I scan lists of upcoming free agents, I don’t even really consider restricted free agents. Good ones just don’t get away. This one almost certainly isn’t.
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