Currently viewing the tag: "Who is this guy and what has he done with Natalie?"

To quickly re-hash what has happened this offseason:

In other site news, we will be participating in the 2010-2011 NBA Season Preview that is run by Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog.com, so keep an eye out for that in the near future.  Natalie and I have also briefly exchanged ideas for more contests and giveaways for you guys for the upcoming season as well.

If you’re like me, at this point you just want training camp to open and the NBA season to start.  This has been an extremely busy offseason for just about every NBA team, and it’ll be interesting to see how the new faces in new places pan out for their respective organizations.  Aside from Miami, who do you guys think were the biggest winners of the offseason in the NBA?  Are you excited with the moves the Pistons have made?  If you were coach of the Pistons, what would your starting lineup be?  Have any of you been paying attention to the USA Basketball team this summer?  Does USA Basketball “do it” for you as a substitute for the NBA regular season or playoffs?  Do you see any trades, involving major players like Carmelo Anthony or Detroit’s own Tayshaun Prince, happening this season?

Those are just some short, easy topics to think about and discuss.  Let’s fire up the old comments section again, and get ready for the season.

Tracy trainers table

Get used to seeing this, Pistons’ fans.  Let’s see Arnie work some magic on these old knees.

If you thought the Pistons’ roster was loaded with wing players prior to the signing of Tracy McGrady, well, it’s even worse now.  I’ll be the 35,739th Piston fan who has questioned this move since finding out about it, and I’m likely not the only person who has taken the 96 available minutes between the SG and SF positions and tried to find a way for all of our wings to play.

Honestly guys, I can’t find anything positive about this move.  McGrady is a 7 time NBA All Star, he is a scoring champion, he is able to create his own shot, and he has the size to play both the SG and SF positions while also possessing the ball handling abilities to play PG on occasion.  What I also know is the team has used a mid first round pick on a small forward (Austin Daye) and 2 second round picks on small forward/power forward hybrids in Jonas Jerebko and DaJuan Summers.  Let’s say the acquisition of McGrady runs Summers out of town, you’re still left with Tayshaun Prince/McGrady/Daye/Jerebko.  Dumars has also used draft picks on Terrico White while there were other big men available in the draft this year.

(Let’s be honest with ourselves folks, unless Jerebko puts on about 25 lbs. of muscle, he’s not a power forward.  At best he’s a tweener who is better suited for playing power forward because he lacks the overall foot speed to keep up with small forwards on the defensive end of the floor).

I am not pleased at all with this pick up.  So he comes in and plays well?  What happens next?  The Pistons use whatever cap space they have next year to re-sign him?  He has 0 value on the trade market because if he plays above his contract value, he will only return the veteran’s minimum in contract unless we package him with a “bad” contract.  Even then he has limited value because who ever acquires him would not retain his “bird rights” going into the offseason, so they would be stuck paying him a portion of their mid-level exception and/or a significant chunk of their available cap space for a then 32 year old SG/SF who has lost explosion off the dribble and who has a history of injuries.

It’s easy to argue “We gave Chucky Atkins the minimum”, but Chucky Atkins is a veteran point guard who has come off the bench before and who could also, and say what you want about it, serve as a mentor for the younger point guards on the roster.  McGrady started to break down again last season when the Knicks played him heavy minutes after they acquired him.

Right now, this roster has even less balance than it had before.  Without another move in mind, or agreed to in principle, this move makes absolutely 0 sense.  The guy is a talented player, in 2003.  Right now, he’s just going to eat minutes from guys who need them to get experience and/or he’s taking up a roster spot from a big man who the team so desperately needs.

Evidently Joe Dumars’ answer for our post problems is Chris Wilcox and Ben Wallace.  Monroe is there but, if McGrady is coming in and taking minutes from Daye then who’s to say that Wilcox won’t be taking minutes from Monroe?

Bynumite!

ESPN.COM’s Marc Stein is reporting that Will Bynum and his agent, Marc Bartelstein, have announced they’ve re-signed with the Detroit Pistons for a contract that is 3 years and $10.5 million.

As the roster continues to line itself up, let’s take a quick look at what we got:

PG: Stuckey/Bynum/Terrico White*
SG: Hamilton/Gordon
SF: Prince/Daye/Summers
PF: Jerebko/Villanueva/Maxiell
C: Wallace/Monroe/Wilcox

Detroit still has full availability of their mid-level exception.  It’s safe to assume that at least part of that MLE will go towards signing a free agent big man.

*Terrico White is reportedly working on a 1 year deal with an option for a 2nd year but nothing is official.

Ok so a couple of moves have been made recently by other teams who were left scrambling after LeClown’s decision to re-sign in Cleveland to take his “talents” to South Beach, but none of the moves have hurt the Pistons in the free agent market.  Outside of maybe Brendan Haywood (re-signed in Dallas 5 yrs, $55 million), there were no real big men that were free agents that Detroit really should’ve honestly showed interest in, considering their financial position with the cap.

Here are some notable big man names that are left, that I wouldn’t mind Joe D. throwing some cash at:

Craig Smith, PF – L.A. Clippers – at 6’7 250lbs he’s a wider version of Jason Maxiell.  He averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds in 08-09 for the Minnesota Timberwolves before the Clippers acquired him last offseason.  He averages about 16 points per game and about 8 rebounds per 36, and has been productive in the paint when given a chance.  He is not tall but he is a wide body and he has the weight to be able to force taller men off the block.  He reminds me of Danny Fortson.

Josh Boone, PF/C – New Jersey Nets – Josh is going into his 5th year in the league out of UConn.  In just his second season, he averaged 8 points per game and 7 rebounds.  He’s not going to lock down his man 100% of the time, but he has the length to block shots and is averaging nearly 2 blocks per 36 minutes.  He’s got the body of a center (6’10, 250lbs), but he’s limited to just put backs offensively.  He lacks effective “back to the basket” moves like some of the better big men in the league.

Etan Thomas, PF/C – OKC Thunder - Etan is a couple of seasons removed from career threatening surgery to repair a heart condition.  Etan has always been a tenacious post defender, and a very strong rebounder for someone who is listed at 6’10 but is more realistically 6’8.  At 32 years old, he’s not an ideal choice for the Pistons and most likely he wouldn’t want to go to the Pistons who are in rebuilding mode.  Having spent most of his career with the lowly Wizards, he has a chance to either stay in OKC to mentor the young up and coming Thunder, or sign on with a team like the Miami Heat to make a championship run.  He’s like a taller, younger, Ben Wallace.  He will be a good mentor to any team that has young big men who are willing to work.

Now that doesn’t look like much but let’s be honest, there’s not really that many roster spots left to be had anyway (barring any trades).  If Kwame Brown does not come back, and with him being in Coach Kuester’s doghouse last season why would he, then we’re thin up front when it comes to frontcourt muscle.  Ben Wallace is the only legitimate frontcourt beef right now, and since Greg Monroe’s abilities defensively (or offensively) are unknown at this point, we as Pistons fans are looking at another year of undersized and underweight power forwards playing out of position fighting for rebounds and putbacks.

The 3 guys I listed above are just some of the guys that can be had, without making trades, that I think would sure up the front line defensively.  What do you think?  Obviously we all have wild, hair-brained trade ideas.  I have some trade ideas of my own that I’d be more than happy to discuss so long as we all have a general understanding of how trades work.  For information on NBA salaries and how players are able to move, check out this link.  It’s been helpful to me in understanding what teams can and can not do during Free Agency periods and at the trading deadline.

Ok, I know I told you guys that in the coming days (weeks) that I’d give some prospective on the current players on the roster and their contract status.  I will list them in order of the regular rotation position from last season.

Rodney Stuckey (PG) – 1 yr remaining at $2.7m, with an option to bring him back on a qualifying offer for $3.8m*
Richard Hamilton (SG) – 3 yrs remaining at $37.95m, with the 3rd yr being only partially guaranteed
Tayshaun Prince (SF) – 1 yr remaining at $11.1m, no player or team option for 2011-2012.**
Jonas Jerebko (SF/PF) – 1 yr remaining (non-guaranteed) at $762k, no player or team option for 2011-2012.***
Ben Wallace (C) – 2 yrs remaining at $3.8m, no player or team option for 2013-2014

Ben Gordon (SG) – 4 yrs remaining at $48m.  Gordon has a player option that will pay him $13.2m in 2013-2014 should he exercise it
Charlie Villanueva (PF) – 4 yrs remaining at $31.2m.  Villanueva holds a player option that will pay him $8.58m in 2013-2014 should he exercise it
Jason Maxiell (PF) – 3 yrs remaining at $15m.  Maxiell holds a player option that will pay him $5m for 2012-2013 should he exercise it
Austin Daye (SF) – 3 yrs remaining at $6.6m (roughly).  Daye’s rookie contract expires after 2010-2011 w/ 2 team option 2011-2012, 2012-2013
DaJuan Summers (SF) – 1 yr remaining at $762k, no player or team option for 2011-2012.***
Greg Monroe (PF) – 2 yrs remaining at $5.08m, with 2 team option years (2012-2013, 2013-2014) and a qualifying offer year (2014-2015)
Chris Wilcox (PF/C) – 1 yr remaining at $3.0m, no player or team option for 2011-2012.**

FREE AGENTS:
Kwame Brown (C) – Detroit holds Kwame’s “bird rights” meaning they can pay more than any other team for him, but he is free to go anywhere.  He is an unrestricted free agent.
Will Bynum (PG) – Bynum is a restricted free agent, and Detroit can match any offer made to him.

UNSIGNED DRAFT PICKS:
Terrico White (SG) – likely to receive 1 yr guaranteed contract with a team option for a 2nd yr.

TRADE ASSETS:
Tayshaun Prince (expiring contract, still has value, could be contributor for contender)
Chris Wilcox (expiring contract)
Will Bynum (although all signs point to Detroit matching any offer made to him, with him staying)
Austin Daye (rookie contract, could be paired with a “bad” contract like Richard Hamilton to acquire a significant piece)
2011 1st Round Draft Pick (likely to be a late lottery pick or mid-1st rounder depending on where Pistons finish the season)

* if Detroit makes the qualifying offer to Stuckey, he will become a restricted free agent and Detroit can then match any offer made to him
** Detroit holds Tayshaun’s “bird rights” so if he remains on the roster all season, they will have the opportunity to pay him more than anyone else.  He will be an unrestricted free agent.
*** Detroit will hold Summers’ and Jerebko’s “early bird rights” after this 2nd season meaning they will be restricted free agents and Detroit will be able to pay more than anyone else.
**** All numbers are from hoopsworld.com

The Pistons are currently over the salary cap for the 2010-2011 season.  They have the ability to spend their full MLE (Mid-Level Exception) on any free agents available.  The MLE can be divided into different contracts but those contract values cannot exceed the overall value of the MLE.

All players who remain un-signed for the 2010-2011 season (Kwame Brown, Will Bynum) have a “cap hold” placed on the team’s salary cap for the next year until their rights are re-nounced.  Currently, the Pistons have a hold of $4.8m for Kwame Brown and $990,596 for Will Bynum.  While Kwame may not come back, Will Bynum is expected to see a raise from his current cap hold.

With Luke Ridnour receiving a contract from the Timberwolves of 4 yrs, $16m, I would not be surprised to see Bynum receive something in that same ballpark.  Perhaps a 4 yr, $12m contract is most suitable for him as it will give him a sense of stability and it falls in line with contracts that players of his ability are currently earning in the league.  Whatever he signs for, I believe front loading the contract to be best because as the years go on, they will have more and more salary cap space available for use.  Since they’re already over the cap now, there’s no use in backloading the deal only to hamstring yourself a year down the line.

As I said in the previous post in reply to a comment about Minnesota trading Al Jefferson for draft picks, the Pistons are not in a position to make deals like this.  Detroit would actually need to trade the same value in salaries (or within 125% total values) in order to receive players back.  Since draft picks do not have value until the picks are made, they can’t simply send picks to other teams for players.

I hope this helps a little.  There will be more to come, later.