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Ben Wallace to re-sign with Detroit Pistons, why not for more money?

Larry Lage of the Associated Press tweeted Ben Wallace will return to the Detroit Pistons:

Ben Wallace told The AP today he will sign a 2-year deal soon with the Pistons. He will make $1.9 million per season.

And in case you think Ben Wallace is lying, Joe Dumars confirmed, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com.

Wallace re-signing should come as no surprise. But the terms of the contract do slightly – namely the years (although there’s a decent chance that second season is eaten by a lockout).

But the amount of money Wallace is slated to get is also a little perplexing.

Why the numbers sell Ben Wallace short

The minimum salary for a player of more than 10 years experience is $1,352,181 and $1,399,507 the following season ($2,751,688 total), according to Larry Coon’s NBA Salary Cap FAQ. So, Wallace has likely signed using the Bi-Annual exception.

The Bi-Annual Exception is $2.08 million this year, and the maximum raise the exception allows is eight percent, according to Coon. That means Wallace could’ve made $4,326,400 during the two-year contract.

Instead, he will make $3.8 million total.

So why the difference?

Wallace will earn between $1,826,924 and $1,979,167 next season. The Bi-Annual Exception exception can be split between two players, so my first thought was Wallace’s contract was designed to give Detroit room to sign another player.

But at most, his contract leaves $253,976 of the exception left this summer. That’s less than a minimum contract, so Wallace’s deal won’t help Detroit sign anyone under the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules.

Obviously, the Pistons are wary of paying the luxury tax (or more accurately, wary of not receiving the check teams under the tax receive). So, maybe Wallace’s contract will help them remain under the luxury tax. But given the salary cap is higher than expected, I doubt it.

I don’t know. Maybe there are trades in the works that would add to the Pistons’ salaries for next season and put them over the luxury-tax line. (Again, I doubt it.)

Wallace obviously could’ve gotten a bigger contract than this on the free market. He returned to Detroit because he’s comfortable here.

I think getting more than a minimum contract was important to Wallace. He’s a proud guy. So, maybe $1.9 million per season is all he truly wanted. No need to pay a guy more than he expects.

I hope that’s the case.

I would not be pleased if the Pistons low-balled Wallace because they knew he’d return. The wear and tear he put on his body for a team doomed for the lottery last season was incredible, considering his age. He is the heart of the team, and he attracts fans.

The Bi-Annual Exception was the perfect price for Wallace. He probably should’ve received it in full.


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  • Jul 11, 20108:06 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    Great news! And Dan’s right, this is a major, major discount for the Pistons. Lesser big men all over the league will make significantly more than Wallace this season and produce significantly less.

  • Jul 11, 20109:24 pm
    by The Rake


    I don’t think the Pistons would low-ball here. I think that this is Wallace’s willingness to sign for less, just doing the org a favor. He did make $60/4 yrs when he wasn’t deserving, so…nevertheless, glad he’ll be back in the fold.  Love Big Ben, was always sad to see him go and not ‘Sheed (at the time he did).  Now he’ll retre a Piston and quite possibly at some point have his number retired (though the #3 conundrum exists)…which is why I was so anti-Stuckey taking that number assoon as it was freed up (and the same for Ai swallowing Billups’ #1).  Have some class guys!!  Anyway, love that Ben will be back, he’s  useful force on and off court.
    The Rake

    • Jul 12, 20105:48 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      The Rake, on one hand, you say the Pistons didn’t have the class to keep his number off limits. On the other hand, you say they have the class not to low-ball him. Which is it? That’s why I’m not so sure Ben wasn’t misled.

  • Jul 11, 201010:11 pm
    by Tarbaby


    with all the money this guy’s earned, 2 million is 2 million. i love ben wallace, but he turned his back on this franchise once. whatever money he’s not making now, he got from chicago. he’s back home, all is forgiven, he’s giving the team a necessary and probably rightful discount. if his penance should be to play basketball for two years and make four million dollars, everyone should be so lucky.

    • Jul 12, 20105:50 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Tarbaby, did he turn his back on the Pistons, or did they turn their back on him? He was an absolute warrior for six seasons for FAR below market value. And when it came time for him to receive a raise, the Pistons’ offer was disappointing compared to the Bulls’. I was sad, and even angry at Ben, when he left. But I don’t blame him for going to Chicago.

  • Jul 11, 201011:27 pm
    by MikeMO


    Maybe he’s making up for the years he got greedy and left for the bulls, whatever it may be I’m glad he’s here helping the young guys, he’s definitely made an impact in Detroit sports!

    • Jul 12, 20105:51 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Mike, if a company offered you $12 million more than your current employer, would you turn it down? That’s not greedy. That’s practical.

  • Jul 12, 20106:19 am
    by Zeiram


    Good news, Big Ben always was my favorite Piston and will forever have a special place in my heart. He epitomizes everything about Detroit Basketball we love and I sure hope he uses his last two years to prepare himseld for a position in the organization by teaching his skills to Monroe.

  • Jul 12, 20105:53 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    Zeiram, I completely agree. But I think you’re selling him short by just mentioning his teaching potential. Ben will likely be a quality player for the team, too.

  • Jul 12, 20108:20 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    I’m curious if the people who are still so vocal with their dislike of Ben for leaving for Chicago were equally as vocal when he was statistically a top five player in the league and wasn’t in the top 50 in the league in salary.

  • Jul 19, 20108:46 am
    by Lonnie


    Because the Pistons are re-signing their own player, they don’t need to use any kind of exception, right? So they should still have all of the bi-annual exception. The amount in the Wallace deal simply was what they agreed to and had nothing to do with an exception. Of course, it is true either way that Wallace came at a cheap price. Most teams aren’t under the cap to make an offer unless they use an exception, but I would think other teams would have offered maybe $3 million worth of the mid-level to sign him.

  • Jul 21, 201012:15 am
    by Dan Feldman


    Lonnie, teams must use an exception any time they’re over the cap and sign someone, even one of their own free agents. You’re probably thinking of the Larry Bird and Early Bird Exceptions, and Ben Wallace qualified for neither of them.
    Wallace didn’t qualify for the Larry Bird Exception, because he didn’t spend his last three years with the Pistons (or get traded to them while on a three-year-or-more contract). He didn’t qualify for the Early Bird Exception, because he didn’t play two years with the team.
    So the Pistons had to use the Mid-Level Exception, the Bi-Annual Exception or Minimum Player Exception to re-sign Wallace. They chose the Bi-Annual Exception.
    For a more detailed breakdown, read Larry Coon’s explanation.

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