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Hypothetical: Which Pistons contract would be most advantageous to shed?

We concluded the round table discussions last week, but commenter Stephen posed a thought-provoking hypothetical question on the last post:

If the new CBA has a vastly more restrictive Cap (either hard one,or incredibly heavy Luxury Tax penalties, whatever), there would almost have to be a provision for teams to get out of one contract-aka the Allan Houston Provision Take 2. For arguments sake, let’s say the NBA agrees to buy off 1 Player’s contract on each team-pay his contract fully and his salary doesn’t count towards Cap at all. (League pays for buy-outs perhaps w/a short term tax on Local media deals.) In such a scenario,who would the Pistons nominate for a buy-out? Hamilton, Gordon, Villanueva?

Unrealistic situation? Sure. But it’s interesting discussion fodder nonetheless. I’ve always felt Hamilton would be the no-brainer to get out of, but arguments could be made that Gordon’s or Villanueva’s are worse because they are both a year longer with player options that most assuredly will be picked up. Thoughts?


  • Mar 21, 201111:40 am
    by neutes


    It’s a toss up, but I think I’d have to go with Gordon’s. CV doesn’t make so much that he’s untradeable. Rip does, but he also has one fewer year on his contract, has more size, is a more willing passer, but also a more willing shooter. Gordon is small and frustrating. Rip might not be good anymore, but you can’t say he doesn’t try. Gordon does too much deferring for someone that was supposed to be a clutch player that wanted the ball in his hands. He’s too short to get a shot off a lot of times, and then takes a lot of bad shots when he does end up dribbling around with the ball in his hands.
    I don’t think either Rip or Gordon are very good, but I’ll go with the player that has one less year on his deal. Before this thing gets turned around both are going to have to go, so might as well get rid of the one that could be around the longest. I don’t see it as possible, especially given the parameters of the above scenario, to build a winning team when you’re paying an unproductive player that much money. We happen to be paying a few unproductive players quite a bit of money.

  • Mar 21, 201111:46 am
    by jake


    to me, it’s a no-brainer that gordon’s contract is the biggest albatross to the team’s future. obviously, rip’s production relative to his salary is extremely poor, but his contract is much shorter than that of both gordon and villanueva. worst case scenario, and to me, this wouldn’t even be that bad, we could hold onto rip until his contract was expiring and move him for something of value. i feel that gordon and villanueva could be moved for at least expiring contracts mainly because of their age.

  • Mar 21, 201111:48 am
    by Jason


    Ben Gordon’s without question. Not that Charlie or Rip are a ton better, but Rip will be an expiring deal that we can get value out of (hopefully) and Gordon has the bigger contract left over. More importantly, we still have a need for what Charlie V brings to the plate.  While i’d like to pay a much lower contract for his skills, it’s still a bargain compared to what we pay Gordon (based on production).
    Gordon is just paid too much money for a guy that can’t play defense. Where he is better offensively then Rip is  meaningless when defensive ability is factored in. Rip is just better on that end of the court, even as an aging player.
    If this blessing fell in our lap, releasing Gordon and using the money on a big – as we should have done initially, would be huge..

  • Mar 21, 201111:54 am
    by Steve K


    It’s like a broken record, but Ben Gordon. Hands down.
    What a horrible decision by Joe. Perhaps his worst. At the time, I assumed he had a trade in place for Hamilton, because Joe couldn’t be that stupid right?

  • Mar 21, 201112:17 pm
    by Mike Payne


    Cut Ben Gordon two times.  The second of the two years remaining on Rip’s contract is partially guaranteed, where only a fraction will be required to pay.

    • Mar 21, 20115:12 pm
      by Tim


      but that fraction is something like 10 of the 12.5 million. so its still the majority of it.

      • Mar 21, 20118:15 pm
        by Laser


        yeah. early on, when people were griping about that contract, langlois hinted that the last year of his contract was “reportedly” only 25% guaranteed (though i have no idea why langlois would have incomplete information and have to rely on “reported” figures), but he’s basically acknowledged that he got the numbers reversed and roughly 75% is guaranteed. doesn’t make much sense to guarantee such a large portion of the money, but it appears to be the case. so the buyout does no good to anybody. all it really does is guarantee that whoever’s got rip in that last season is going to pick up the whole contract.

  • Mar 21, 20111:00 pm
    by LEVI


    gordon. to put it simply, he is playing like a bum.

  • Mar 21, 20111:14 pm
    by Quick Darshan


    You could make a case for Maxiell.  I’d say Rip though.

    • Mar 21, 20118:17 pm
      by Laser


      nobody could make a case for maxiell. the thought crossed my mind for about a millisecond, since he’s owed $10 million over the next two years and can’t manage to even find a spot in the rotation, but the case simply can’t be made for shedding his contract over rip’s or gordon’s. it just can’t be done.

  • Mar 21, 20111:27 pm
    by gordbrown


    This has been a lost season for Ben Gordon and a lost season for the Pistons. This is not a coincidence but I have significant questions about causality. Gordon started out great for the Pistons, got hurt and has never been the same since. He had off season surgery and I think everyone underestimates what that has meant in terms of rehabbing and trying to stay in game shape. Secondly, Hamilton has been given a very long leash to do what he does and Gordon has not, with the effect that I think the general turmoil has been much harder on Gordon than anyone else on the team. Yes he has made some bad turnovers, but not nearly as bad as Hamilton or McGrady. Yet Hamilton and McGrady start and play minutes and get shots and Gordon does not. Plus Gordon gets fouled a lot with no calls. At least Gordon hustles on defense (something Hamilton stopped doing a long time ago). I think with a full off season of working out as opposed to half of season rehabbing and less turmoil, Gordon may surprise everyone next year. So my vote is Hamilton or Maxiel.

  • Mar 21, 20111:41 pm
    by Nick


    I have to agree with everyone else; Gordon needs to go. Gordon is better off the dribble, and he is slightly better at the 3pt line, than Hamilton but Rip’s game is better in every other way. They are both over paid. You could make the argument that Gordon is worth keeping because he is younger but Hamilton isn’t going to get any shorter as he ages so I have to say we hang on to the bigger guy.
    Charlie was a mistake but his contract isn’t ridiculous. He could be easier to trade but if Jonas struggles to return from his injury we may need to keep Charlie around a little while longer. We don’t know how much longer Ben Wallace wants to play and, when he is gone, Monroe slides to center and we have no one to play the 4 if Jerebko (really a reserve 3 in my opinion) doesn’t work out.

  • Mar 21, 20111:46 pm
    by Laser


    don’t get too used to seeing me, but when there’s a “roundtable” type discussion about the team’s future, i’ll pitch in when i’ve got something to add…
    gordon is an easy call here. considering rip’s contract predates his, he’s got the worst contract on our books right now. we can’t accommodate him with shots or minutes, and he always seems to fall to last on the SG pecking order, even when they took rip out of the lineup completely. gordon just hasn’t been able to establish himself here. and it’s no surprise or mystery.
    other thing about gordon is this: guy was signed (along with CV) to complement stuckey and his style of play (both can create their own shot and hit threes if stuckey ever decided to kick the ball out after penetrating). the idea was surely that the pistons could afford to have a shooting guard in a point guard’s body because their (notional) point guard has a shooting guard’s body. but pairing stuckey with a pint-sized backcourt mate negates the physical advantage he’s supposed to have over smaller point guards, because they’re going to cross-match defensively. and if you’re going to have stuckey match up with opposing shooting guards all the time anyways, why put up with his numerous shortcomings as a point guard?? it would be smarter to either pair him with a proper point guard and let him focus on scoring or pair him with a big shooting guard to exploit physical advantage he provides. make sense?
    so yeah, ditch gordon in a heartbeat. i don’t like his laid back attitude either. complaining isn’t good, but in a situation as bad as this, i prefer it to complacency. this team needs as much “edge” as it can get, and rip has always had a chip on his shoulder. so we put up with rip for another season, then move him when he’s got an expiring contract. charlie’s a bum, but he could theoretically earn that contract and he’s not positionally redundant. even if he’s coming off the bench for fifteen minutes like he’s inexplicably done most nights, he can at least contribute. as long as rip and gordon are both here, they’ll be stepping on each other’s toes.
    oddly enough, even though we don’t have any truly outrageous individual contracts, i don’t know that there’s a team in the league that would benefit more from a single contract buyout. is there another team in the league with such crippling positional redundancy?? the magic would probably be thrilled to shed arenas and all the money he’s owed, and even though the contracts were just handed out, i wonder if teams have buyers remorse for guys like rudy gay and joe johnson. still, i feel like nobody needs it like we do.

    • Mar 21, 20119:18 pm
      by Tim


      I have to disagree about the no truly outrageous contracts. Hamilton’s was bad at the tie of his signing but not truly outrageous. Now, however, is another story. For 2+ years now, he has played as a below average player and he’s making $12.5M/yr. That is Iggy/JSmoove/Gerald Wallace money. That is what you pay a guy who is very good but not excellent on both sides of the floor, the guy who is the perfect third banana for a true contender. Other players worth that kind of money: Lee, Boozer, Ginobili, Rondo. These are all players who are at least fringe all-stars if they are on good teams.
      There are only a few worse contracts in the NBA. Gay and Johnson are bad but not as bad (especially Gay’s) because they are far superior players. Arenas has the worst contract in the league. Lewis’s is worse than Hamilton’s. Turkoglu is right up there. Oddly, all of these involve Orlando somehow. I guess that’s why they are 4th is the east despite having the player who I believe should be MVP and who should definitely be in everyone’s top 4 with Dirk, Rose and either James or Kobe.

      • Mar 22, 201112:14 pm
        by Laser


        see, i just don’t think rip’s contract on its own is “outrageously” bad. he could probably still be a highly productive player, but on this roster he’s redundant AND overpaid, which makes the contract look worse. cut ben gordon and rip is instantly both useful and valuable here. $12.65 million valuable? no. but on his own he isn’t prohibitively overpaid. even if he’s in steep decline (which i doubt he is), he’s instantly tradable after one more season, because he’ll be attached to an expiring contract.
        i’m not saying his contract is anything but bad. it’s bad. but taken on its own, with just two years left, that’s all it is. the only reason it’s truly HORRENDOUS right now is that we’ve got so much damn depth at the SG position. cut ben gordon, give rip his customary minutes and shots, and rip could lead the team in scoring for the next two seasons while playing average defense (and compared to the rest of the team “average” defense is practically LOCK-DOWN).
        it’s impossible to ignore the situation rip’s been in the last three seasons. no point guard, splitting minutes in an overcrowded backcourt. and this guy’s game, the reason he’s got a world championship (where he led the team in scoring) and three all-star appearances, the reason he’s made a decade-long career in this league and tens of millions of dollars, is his ability to catch-and-shoot from midrange. so you put him on the court, and the ball is constantly in the hands of shoot-first combo guards. you can’t expect him to thrive, can you?? the contract itself is bad. but it’s not as bad on its own as it is on this team’s payroll right now.
        there are quite a few contracts that are worse than rip’s is on its own. if you’d asked me who i wanted to shed two years ago when gordon was just signed to a five year deal and rip had four, i would have said dump rip. but the bottom line is that in one year the contract is expiring, so it’s got inherent value. the pistons are going to STINK next year no matter what, so we hold onto rip for another full year, then trade him for something of value, and the team can be good as soon as 2012-2013.

  • Mar 21, 20114:17 pm
    by Glenn


    Gordon!  And I wouldn’t say it’s far-fetched.  Didn’t the Mavs cut Finley a few years ago under a similar grace period?  The league didn’t pay the buyout, but it didn’t count against the cap.

  • Mar 21, 20115:17 pm
    by Tim


    Wow, I expected about 50-50 on Gordon vs Hamilton. But people really seem to recognize the pain of that one extra year on Gordon’s contract. Myself, I would be about equally happy shedding either. Either way, that makes minutes a lot more manageable and gets rid of a terrible contract. I might lean slightly toward Gordon on account of the extra year. But I’m not sure because he can be the considerably better player of the two if he ever manages to find his pre-Pistons self back.

  • Mar 21, 20115:26 pm
    by Jacob


    It’s nice to see others in agreement with what I’ve been saying for several months. Ben Gordon. No question about it. I could go on and on but I’ve done that enough in previous comments.

  • [...] Cell Phones No Contract on [...]

  • Mar 21, 20116:14 pm
    by Trav


    Gordon.  Rip can play the 2 and 3 position and just an overall better player.  Plus, Rip will be easy to move via trade mid-season next year or next off season at the latest.  I would have said charlie V because he’s the worst of the 3, but it would help the team dramatically to just clean up that backcourt rotation.

  • Mar 21, 20117:09 pm
    by matt in SRQ


    I’d vote to move Hamilton along. I think Ben can still pull it together. We just need a new point guard and a new coach.
    At the very least, removing the SG/SF logjam should mean a consistent role for Ben and we know he can be very effective as a 6th-man/instant offense type (even though he’s being paid to be more than that…)

  • Mar 21, 20117:12 pm
    by Zeiram


    Wow, I´ve thought everybody would scream Rip on this but people are smarter than you give em credit for^^
    Rip is more tradeable, has one less year and assuming a new coach would even be more productive in the interim.
    Yes Gordon is a good guy, he doesn´t act up although he gets screwed around a lot. He plays hard and you know what you get with him. Problem is we absolutely don´t need his skill set. Chicago does, contenders with a lack of benchscoring do, rebuilding teams dont!
    CV isn´t that overpaid for a big and probably very tradeable once he is an expiring deal or even before that.

  • Mar 21, 20117:35 pm
    by Satchel


    But isn’t there actual trade value for Gordon? I haven’t heard much about shopping him, but he’s one of the best shooters in the league and, unlike Hamilton, should still be in his prime… I gotta think some other teams think he just needs a change of scenery.

    • Mar 21, 20118:22 pm
      by Laser


      my hunch is that there’s no trade value whatsoever, based on the fact that we’re still chugging along with the same rotten core of players that can’t get a shred of traction. if joe could actually get any value for gordon, i think he’d be gone by now. as it is, i bet the best we could possibly do is simply unload the contract. and i’m not certain we could even do that. he’s owed like $35 million over the next three years, and he’s done nothing in detroit to justify that kind of contract. granted he’s in a system where virtually everyone is doomed to fail, but this is an unfortunate result of putting together such a mess of a roster.

      • Mar 22, 201112:18 am
        by neutes


        I fear the reason Gordon hasn’t been shopped and/or dealt yet is simply because Dumars has no intentions of doing so. One would have to think that Gordon, given his age and reputation from Chicago, would be easier to move than Rip. Would think so anyway. Maybe neither of them are tradeable. It’s not like teams are going to clamor for Monte Ellis who’s making a similar contract to Gordon’s and putting up much better scoring numbers.
        The one thing is that there had been plenty of Rip and Tay rumors floated about this year, but not one about Gordon or CV. I honestly think Dumars still considers both part of the core. Who knows. He’s going to get himself fired if he doesn’t figure this out quick. And by figure it out I mean come to the realization that his precious core happens to be a bunch of scrubs.

        • Mar 22, 20116:50 am
          by gmehl1977


          Jackpot neutes. You are so right about the core which are not only scrubs but one dimensional players. Remember when Joe use to get players that weren’t great at one particular thing but well rounded in most. He used to bookend those kind of guys with hustle players and players with chips on there shoulders. Joe’s championships credits are ticking away fast and he better wake up soon and realize that Gordon and CV are not piston type players. Like most have mentioned before CV and his contract for what he does is not that bad so i can live with him but Gordon just doesn’t represent this organization the way most piston fans expect. I don’t blame him for this as Joe knew what he was getting when he signed him so its on Joe to fix it!

          • Mar 22, 201112:34 pm
            by Laser

            for once maybe i was giving joe too much credit. i think the answer is somewhere in-between. it’s like this:
            my guess is that both gordon and villanueva are “movable.” i just don’t think we could get any value for them. so you could dump them, and maybe it’s the best move for the team (okay, it’s certainly the best move for the team), but you’re not going to get anything in return.
            i happen to think joe is too stupid and stubborn to trade these guys for nothing. they were his prize free agents, two of the top FAs (in a bad class), and all he has to show for chauncey, sheed and dyess. if he dumped them now, it’s a flat out admission that they were busts. he’s just not ready to pull the plug. a good GM would admit his mistake and move on for the good of the team, but this is joe dumars we’re talking about.
            for some reason, joe thinks there’s more dignity (or something) in trading rip, because rip was a part of the “old” core, even though extending rip was joe’s first move in this latest rebuilding process, and he had rip locked up for four more years (just one fewer than gordon and villanueva). but psychologically, joe feels like he can save more face if he trades rip than if he pulls the plug on one or both of his hand-picked free agents. the rip-kuester conflict helps this case too, because joe can convince himself that it was the real problem and not just a symptom.
            maybe i’m just giving joe too much credit here for once, but i’d really like to think that if he could have gotten something of real value for gordon, he would have done it. but look at the team. if you were another GM, would you really think gordon looked much better than rip? they’re splitting minutes and both putting up pretty shitty numbers. gordon might be younger, but i don’t think he’s impressed a soul since he got here, and they’re both in the same pay range. nobody with a brain in his head is going to target either one as a serious building block.
            could joe really be stupid and stubborn enough to be so singularly committed to moving rip instead of gordon that he’d give up a future probable lottery pick (that this team needs desperately. at this point more desperately than it needs to be rip of rip. four years ago i would have sweetened the trade with a pick, but we’re going to be awful next season whether rip’s here or not) if he could have dumped gordon and gotten maybe a first rounder in the teens?? maybe so. if that’s the case, he needs to be fired because he’s not doing his job. but then, i’m pretty sure he needs to be fired anyway.

  • Mar 21, 201111:10 pm
    by gmehl1977


    I am inclined to say Gordon as well. I also think the pistons will try to trade Hamilton & its first rounder to Cleveland for its trade exception in the off season. Hopefully we can snag Erden and a second rounder.
    So my final thoughts on this would be to move them both if we can. SG’s are a dime a dozen and until we can get a really good one we can just re-sign Stuckey to a fair contact and play him at SG. Obviously you would only resign Stuckey IF either Gordon, Rip or both are gone. Surely this madness of over stocking talent in one position has to end.

    • Mar 22, 201112:42 pm
      by Laser


      god, i really hope they don’t do this hamilton+pick trade. i didn’t like it this february, and i like it less now. does anyone actually think the pistons are going to accomplish anything next season?? if so, what did you think they were going to do this season? i’m guessing only some blind optimist could foresee anything but futility and misery in the near future for this team. and there are a lot of you out there. but after just one more full season (where, trust me, the team’s going to be bad no matter what), you can trade rip’s expiring contract for something worthwhile. the more time passes, the less urgency there is to just have this guy off the books.

      • Mar 22, 20111:13 pm
        by neutes


        I’m with ya here Laser. Dealing Hamilton and next year’s 1st sounds like a horrible move. Just horrible. What’s the outcome? Let’s say we hit on this year’s pick. We’ll have Monroe and this year’s pick (Kanter, Sullinger, Irving, Jones, Williams, who knows) say whoever we pick is a really good player. Now we’re looking at 2 solid starting pieces.
        Then what? If we deal Hamilton we’re out his expiring contract to trade, so that’s one less asset. And we traded our pick from next year so even if we suck we aren’t going to be able to take a chance on finding that 3rd starting piece in the draft. I’m sure whatever cap space we gain from trading Rip will be wasted on some mid-grade player. There is no way Gilbert is going to throw $15+ mil down the drain to buyout Rip for a lottery protected pick.
        Seems like bad moves all around in that scenario. If it’s easier to trade Gordon do that. If you can get an expiring for Gordon without giving up a pick definitely. Then we can have a contract expire at the end of next season, plus Rip’s expiring contract to deal, plus our pick still. And we’ll be back in business. Sounds simple right?

  • Mar 22, 20114:19 pm
    by T-MAX54


    Maxiell is a terrible choice. First off, he’s no where near as old as Villanueva or Rip, and his contract isn’t that large. A big problem for the Pistons that I see in the future, if we ever want to make it to the playoffs, is size. Most of the championship caliber teams in the NBA have at least one dominant big man. We lack that, and Maxiell will either be the solution, or at least, the VERY least a substitution. Rip or Charlie could be traded for a good big man, or to clear cap for a free agent or big draft pick. Maxiell kicks ass.

  • Mar 24, 201110:01 am
    by Mark Paxton


    You have to get rid of Rip!  He really doesn’t want to be in Detroit anymore and part of his money is garunteed anyway.  Two years left also.

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