Pistons close book on Rip Hamilton during busy first day back

by | Dec 9, 2011 | 36 comments

Rip Hamilton vs Denver

Today was the first day that players could officially re-sign with their teams after ratifying the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) agreed to a little over a week ago to end the NBA Lockout.  Today was also really the first day that new Pistons owner Tom Gores’ staff could get to work evaluating the talent that is already on the roster, and evaluating the available talent in the free agent market.

Yesterday, in a bit of a surprise move, Tayshaun Prince and the Pistons agreed in principle to a 4 year, $27 million dollar deal.  The Pistons, who drafted 3 small forwards in

the 2009 NBA Draft and 1 small forward in the 2011 NBA Draft, brought back an aging Prince who has seen his statistics drastically decline in recent years to compete with Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko for playing time (DaJuan Summers was not brought back, and Kyle Singler has decided to stay overseas this season and is playing well).

Today started off rather dull, the Pistons announced the signings of 1st round pick Brandon Knight and 2nd round pick Vernon Macklin.  Signing draft picks is merely a formality, since 1st round pick salaries are slotted and 2nd round picks are often signed to non-guaranteed 1 or 2 year deals.

About 5:30pm today, the Detroit Free Press tweeted that Pistons guard Richard Hamilton had been bought out.  No, the Pistons didn’t use their amnesty clause from the recent CBA, they bought Hamilton out of his contract for the purpose of giving him outright release which will give him the opportunity to sign with the team of his choosing just as any other free agent can.  The Pistons would’ve been on the hook for approximately $20 million dollars had Hamilton not accepted the buyout, and remained in a Pistons uniform this season and next.

Richard Hamilton
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Hamilton was bought out of the contract extension that he agreed to on November 3, 2008, at the same time his backcourt mate Chauncey Billups was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson.  The contract extension was for 3 years, $34 million dollars and was seen as something given to Rip to prove his worth to the franchise while they traded his friend Billups out from behind his back.  This move was immediately questioned by the fanbase who saw that this extension would cripple the franchise every year that Hamilton remained on the roster, and it was only made worse by the fact Iverson came in pouted his way off the team while Chauncey Billups helped lead the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals.

I’ll admit, I never really have respected Rip’s game.  All of the talk about how he was well conditioned and modeled his game after Reggie Miller couldn’t make up for his poor ballhandling ability and penchant for getting technical fouls when the team needed them least.

But I’m not here to kick dirt on his time with the Pistons, he is an accomplished Piston.  He will go down as the all-time leading playoff scorer for a Pistons franchise that has had several great guard tandems, most recently being Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.  He was a member of a team that made an improbable championship run to beat the Lakers in 2004 and that took the Spurs to 7 games in 2005.

Hamilton will go down as one of the best all around players in Pistons franchise history.  Hamilton was one of the first players Joe Dumars acquired at the beginning of the early 2000s playoffs and championships run.  He was the centerpiece of the trade before the 2002-2003 season with the Washington Wizards that saw Dumars swindle Michael Jordan out of Hamilton, Hubert Davis and Bobby Simmons while giving up Jerry Stackhouse, Brian Cardinal and Ratko Varda.  In his 2nd year with the team, the team won the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1990-1991 season.  Hamilton was the leading scorer for the team as they beat the Lakers in 5 games, in an emotional series that ended perfectly on the Pistons home floor.

Rip Hamilton with 35 off the bench
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That same season in which they won the championship against the Lakers, Hamilton broke out his now famous protective mask that protects his nose from being broken.  His nose had been broken twice that season, and once before in the 2002 season.  He wore the mask as a recommendation from his doctor who warned he would need complete nasal reconstructive surgery if he were to break his nose again.

Hamilton leaves the Pistons having earned $79,744,283 in salary in his 9 years on the team (not including the buyout amount, which is still yet to be announced).  Hamilton leaves the team having played 631 games, and 21,679 minutes in a Pistons uniform.  He is a 3 time All Star as a Piston, from 2006-2008 (as a reserve).

Let’s not forget while we celebrate Rip and his albatross of a contract are gone, how important of a member of those playoff teams he was.  Rip had a great mid range game, he was a pesky defender and could often get in the head of the man defending him by talking trash to him all game.  He stepped up in some of the games the Pistons needed him the most, which made him one of the most clutch players in the NBA from 2004-2007.  Rip is already missed, but the old Rip has been gone since 2008.

It is not Rip’s fault that Dumars signed Ben Gordon and that Rodney Stuckey hasn’t panned out as the team’s point guard of the future.  It’s not Rip’s fault the Allen Iverson experiment didn’t work.  It’s not Rip’s fault that when Chauncey Billups left, his game went with him.  It’s also not Rip’s fault Dumars offered him that 3 year extension that most of us fans hated.

Rip Hamilton
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Rip is going to be remembered for his time in a Pistons uniform as being one of the best complimentary players of all time.  Rip is arguably a top 10 Piston of all time, and during the recent success of the organization, he was one of the biggest team players for an organization that built around team and not superstars.

Thank you Rip.  Thank you for playing your heart out, and for going to work night in and night out, no matter how screwy the situation has been in recent years.  You will always be one of our favorite Pistons.


  1. ali

    as much as i wanted him to leave and we can start fresh, this is a very emotional day because rip bleeds red,white and blue. and he gave so much to this franchise. wow how times change. guess u gotta move on. all i know is that #32 is gonna hang in the rafters with #1.

  2. Damien W

    There is really no other way to put it. Thank you, Rip.

  3. Bellllissimo

    a lot of backhanded comments in a post saying bye to rip.

    he was a good gu. later ripper hope to see you in chicago 🙂

  4. pistons 4 life

    Farewell Rip. Both sides are better off with this move. The Pistons can cut ties with the stress and the contract, and Rip can go to a contender and maybe get another ring. I’m sure there will be lots of teams that want him…Chicago anyone?

    • Natalie Sitto

      I agree, I thank Rip and his time here will be misses. However, both side will be better off.

      Rip will flourish somewhere else and maybe this team has a chance to move on.

      Ben Gordon may just turn back into the Chicago Bulls Ben Gordon after all.

      Good Luck Rip

  5. wbexclusive

    I’m shocked. Sad to see a HERO go. You’re the reason why I’m supporting D since glory days until now. I appreciate your existence here more than anybody else. Sadly, the organization let you down. You deserve much better. You and Chauncey should have been Pistons for life. Thanks for the championship. I’ll always remember your contribution to the Pistons. We will always love you RIP. I appreciate the joy you gave me as a fan btw. It’ll be weird seeing you wearing other team’s jersey tho. You will always be my favorite player. Goodluck bra! Gonna miss ya =)

  6. J.D

    Why dint they trade him? We coudve sent him to Chicago for Taj Gibson, instead we get jack…

  7. Fariduddin

    Damn! Rip will be missed. But from a basketball standpoint and for the Pistons to rebuild … this is a good thing, but I will miss Rip’s game and seeing him in a Pistons uniform… Peace

  8. edt

    I know as much as you don’t admire Rip’s game, I respect it.

    One of the worst problems for shooting guards in the NBA is their release. What I mean by that is that after you catch, most guard in the nba need to center the ball, slot it in, move it in the shooting motion follow through and sink it, but all this take time! As we have seen with Ben Gordon, sometimes a quarter of a second isn’t enough, so Gordon will freeze up, unable to take a shot, because he can’t slot in the ball and release in time, this makes life a lot more difficult for the point guard, because while Gordon doesn’t have to be wide open, you need to work to get him the shots he needs.

    Now what most shooting guards will do when they catch the ball is move both the ball and their body to slot it in.

    Hamilton does it differently, he will be following the arc of the ball with his eyes, and move his feel, so that at the moment he catches the ball, he is exactly square with the basket already, and immediately shoots. This looks like he has a faster release than other shooting guard, but what he is really doing moving his body around the arc of the ball so that first action other guards do, slotting it in, so you are either square or in some other position you like, he does that with his feet.

    Anyway, always loved his game on offense, my only problem with Rip is that he is not a as good defensively as he should be. He’s serviceable, but someone with such quick feet should be an elite defender, not just decent. I think under Larry Brown Rip got motivated, but he’s one of those ball player that should not need motivation to play defense.

    Another thing I like about Rip’s game is that he’s not in the business of trying to out muscle his opponents everything about his game is finesse, and in today’s NBA with man mountains like Lebron, Howard and Griffin, it’s beautiful to watch someone score with finesse rather than raw athleticism or size.

  9. Chris

    Rip is one of the greatest Pistons of all time. This blog article did his career here, and his deprture NO justice.

  10. Chris Cowan

    “poor ballhandling ability and penchant for getting technical fouls when the team needed them least”
    like Rasheed Wallace Whom this site is named after, was any better.

    Natalie you have become the biggest piston hater, Some fan you are

    • Leftos

      First of all, this is Boney’s article, not Natalie’s. And if you’ve heard any of their podcasts, you’ll see that their opinions don’t always meet, and Nat won’t editorialize (as in censor or edit) any of Boney’s articles, they’re both saying their opinion.

      And I don’t see how criticizing Rip in 2 lines while discussing his career and praising him is 5 paragraphs has anything to do with how Rasheed played.

      Your love for Hamilton doesn’t even let you read or think properly I guess.

      By the way, Nat said it recently (don’t remember if it was on Twitter), that she’s a fan of the team, not its players. She wants the Pistons to move on, she’s said it many times. She respects Rip’s contribution when it was respectable, she’s said it many times. But she wants the Detroit Pistons to be a good team. And if it’s time for Rip to move on for both him and the Pistons’ sake, then it’s for the best. Read her reply above, which was posted a day earlier than your post.

      You’re entitled to your opinion. Just make sure you come up with the right arguments for it.

      • Fariduddin

        i would tend to agree with Chris.. when i read the post about Rip i found it some what sarcastic and questioned the sincerity of wishing Rip well in his obvious departure (LOL)… at the same time there was a degree of recognition of what Rip did do in a Pistons uniform…. i just a loyal Pistons fan and i dont know crap of what happens internally…but from the outside looking in — it appeared to be a serious mistake with the past two coaches.. it appeared that players didnt respect leadership and leadership didnt know how to manage his team… this aspect of so vital to a teams development and success… Rip and others got extremely lost and the desire and focus changed… Last year Rip didnt play much and his desire seemed to be completely gone…hence why his numbers suffered…also, we have to factor in the financial dimension. im about the name on the front and for the Pistons to grow and get better — Rip and that money needed to be addressed… BTW…. Tay staying is a great move and im happy on this end…lol

  11. edt

    Danny Nat, what is your opinion on the rumor that Chauncey billups is signing with the Heat? Will a little bit of you root for darth vaders team?

    • Danny

      Don’t really want to see Billups in Miami but that mak them the definite favorite. I won’t be cheering for Miami but id be happy for him or Rip

  12. daddy

    thanks rip and if billups signs with the heat ill offically burn his jeresy bron bron style.

    • Drew

      Hamilton’s going to the Bulls officially.

  13. Aaron

    Best of luck to Rip — one of the best Pistons ever.

    That Prince re-signing is a huge head scratcher!

  14. jacob

    need for cp3 and Howard along with stucky

    • edt

      that’s not the plan Jacob. cp3 is going to new york, howard eventually to the lakers, though I have no idea how the lakers will do it.

      We got greg monroe and brandon knight and by gum that’s who we are gonna have to win with.

  15. Kevin (PHL)


    Rip has always been a winner, and a champion. From his college days to the pros. He always brought his best to each game and was always unselfish, always playing within the team concept. More than Big Ben, for me it was Rip who epitomized the “going to work” attitude of that championship team. No flashy, athletic plays – just consistent 20ppg.

    I understand the need to unload his albatross of a contract, but I still don’t get the hate spewed his way. I for one don’t fault him for all the off-court drama – i blame the string of bad coaches for that. I guess some of the newer fans don’t give Rip enough credit, while others are so quick to burn a guy at the stake.

    Thanks Rip. Hope you tear it up in Chicago.

  16. Bellllissimo

    i kind of hope stuckey’s negotiations stall and another team offers him a high contract that joe dumars just cant match financially. i think the decision with stuckey needs to be taken out of joe dumars hands

  17. edt

    We are not gonna be a luxury tax team, and with that said, I know for certain that other teams have looked at the pistons and blamed stuckey for our problems just like the fans have.

    Nobody is gonna be offering stuckey elite money, because our team has had such poor performance.

    Nobody is gonna offer elite money for Charlie V, nobody is going to offer elite money for Ben Gordon, nor Austin Daye.

    Our plan is to find undervalued players and put them together. Stuckey is going to be part of this plan.

    Now one of the primary problems with Joe Dumar these past few years is that he overpaid for offense. Offense is always expensive! So we had big contracts on rip, charlie and ben.

    Defense by contrast is a lot cheaper partly because so much of it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, so it’s hard to quantify.

    There’s a reason we had Ben Wallace who was primarily a defensive player, couldn’t shoot the ball, even missed dunks and had an elite team, defense is where it is at to build a cheap, but elite team.

    Chuck Hayes the “Chuck Wagon” just signed a 4 year for $21 million.

    Like I said, defense comes cheap in the NBA.

    That is the sort of deal we should be making to go back to being an elite team.

    • Bellllissimo

      i don’t like the precedence of giving stuckey more money than hes worth but i just want a team to make a contract for stuckey so joe dumars can understand how much smoother the team would operate without him on th team. at point or shooting guard

      i think with stuckey its a matter of joe not wanting to give up what he already has. Joe lost his imagination which made him a great GM. Part of it was the loss of john hammond as his advisor and this new Vice President of bball ops not having a strong basketball understanding to give joe good ideas. And i think scott perry is somewhat responsible for the lack of creativity and the lackluster players that are being brought in.

      I want stuckey out. The only way i want him is if you get rid of everyone else cause stuckey with this group does not fit. Joe needs to understand its a team game not a stuckey with the rest game

      • Bellllissimo

        and i honestly think we could get a good trade with stuckey in the mix but joe d needs to lift his “untouchable” label off stuckey cause it is undeserved

      • edt

        Stuckey is not gonna get a big offer, his best shot at making a lot of money is to sign with the pistons for $5 million this year, go unrestricted next year and try for a long term big money deal . . . but he’s not gonna get one in Detroit.

        If we could sign Stuckey to 4 year it would be great.

        Check out this:


        Here’s a multiple-choice question.

        Of the following players, who should make the most money?

        Player A: 15.5 points, 5.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 31.2 minutes per game.

        Player B: 11.2 points, 2.1 assists, 44% field-goal shooting, 26 minutes.

        Player C: 11.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 44.2% field-goal shooting, 21.9 minutes.

        Player D: 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 24.3 minutes.

        Even those who could not care less that the NBA season is on course to start Christmas Day probably would choose Player A.

        That player is Piston Rodney Stuckey, a restricted free-agent guard.

        Player B is Pistons shooting guard Ben Gordon, who is on the books for $11.6 million (prorated to about $9.3 million for the 66-game regular season). Player C is Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva, who is down for $7.5 million. Player D is shooting guard Marcus Thornton, who signed a four-year, $33-million deal with the Kings this past week.

        Make no mistake: Stuckey and Leon Rose, his agent, are well aware of those numbers and believe a case can be made that Stuckey is deserving of a contract that pays him $10 million per season.

        * * *

        I don’t think this is going to be a Joe Dumar decision, it’s going to be up to Stuckey to decide if he’s sick of Detroit.

  18. zane

    Houston center Hasheem Thabeet Should Joe make a bid for him????

  19. TradeRiptoContender

    #32 is gonna be in the rafters..there is no denyiing that…..Good luck rip and I’ll make sure I’m at the games when you come back to the palace and with the bulls and light them up for 30pts

  20. RashitFlawless

    I’m frustrated, I can’t stand what’s happening here.

    Look at Indiana, they sign D.West and they trade bench players for Mayo, now they’ve got BIG frontcourt and a scorer because of trades!

    And what about Joe?
    He did what? Signed Damien Wilkins? Bought out RIP and re-signed old skinny man? For what? What is this franchise is about? I don’t understant!

    • z

      Keep in mind … Getting those players not happing the Hornets are a mess… Mayo trade is the wrap up of last seasons trade that fail to happen before trade deadline… not to mention teams are sitting back waiting for the big free agents to go before sending out and taking in other players. Hell my fear is I just hope Joe don’t over spend on Stuckey. Maybe Stuckey is out only time will tell but the season is crazy and we still need players to fill out roster …… give Joe time at least he CAN make trades this season.

      • Bellllissimo

        in my opinion the best timing to decide what to do with the team would have been during the lockout, away from the pressures and influence. sort of like that clarity on vacation, from the moves he made so far he doesnt really seem to be setting up for a trade at all. usually you can see when a trade is going to happen, but from what im seeing it doesnt feel like a trade is in the works

  21. edt

    Come on fellas, we haven’t played a game yet, be positive, we got the moose knight, jerebko, rip’s bad contract is gone, we have a coach that knows and can teach defense.

    Think about this, our team was 30th or worse in defense the last 3 years, we have a perfectly adequate offense, think what our team will be if we start to lock people down.

    Joe has made a lot of mistakes, but he also has made a lot of good decisions. Maybe knowing his job is on the line will concentrate his mental abilities.

    Don’t jump off the bandwagon, we haven’t even gotten started the season yet!

  22. srj

    They can call us Aaron Burr from the way we’re dropping Hamiltons

  23. lolita

    well rip i hate to see you go it is going to seem stange with out you been a detroit piston and not in detroit anymore you will allways be my player love you good luck in chicago hope you want for get detroit and vist when you can may god bless you love you true fan lolita number32

  24. terry

    Just FYI but Jerebko at 6’10” and 250 will be better suited at the four than the three and with Singler staying stubburn in Spain there wont be any logjam at SF as Danny implied. Thanks Rip for being an over paid diva for the last three years. Peace!

  25. Wow

    I have long since abandoned this website. Why? Because the writers “love the pistons as a team, not the players”

    What the hell is that? If you don’t like the players and love the team…then you aren’t a fan. That’s like loving your family but hating them individually. Makes no sense.

    Richard Hamilton is going to have the greatest years of his career with Rose and the Bulls. I’m hoping so much so that it will eradicated the hatred and betrayal his “loyal detroit fans” gave him.

    If it’s about his attitude, I’d get pissed at the coaches too! I mean, imagine you were a starting star with your team. Your best friend got traded for a joke of a player (hello iverson, then ben gordon), and they benched you. You’d sit it and take it like a bitch? NO! You’d get pissed! Don’t blame Rip for that.

    Overall, I’m sad to see him go. But with him moving to Chicago, my favorite team has moved from Detroit to the Bulls. Once you can get REAL players on your team that don’t hate each other, then I’ll come back.

    PS: Stuckey is a huge reason this team has failed, yet he feels he’s worth more than $10mil a year. What a joke.


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