Zach Lowe of SI.com takes a team-by-team look at potential money to spend during free agency if the lockout ends and the offseason can officially get under way. He includes hypotheticals, like a potential amnesty provision that could allow each team to buy out one contract and remove it from their cap while still paying the player what is owed on the rest of the deal. The conclusion: don’t expect much excitement when free agency does get under way as only a handful of teams will have money to spend and, collectively, the crop of free agents is pretty underwhelming.
Here was Lowe’s analysis of the Pistons, who he puts in the ‘teams on the bubble’ category when it comes to potential cap room:
The Pistons sit right around $50 million, assuming a rookie-scale deal for Brandon Knight and that Ben Wallace decides to give it one more go. But be careful: The Pistons cannot get to this $50-million range unless they renounce their rights to Prince (likely) and either do the same for Rodney Stuckey, a restricted free agent whose cap hold currently takes up all of Detroit’s theoretical space, or lose Stuckey outright.
There won’t be much activity here if the Pistons stick with Stuckey, but dumping Richard Hamilton via amnesty would open up $12.5 million in new space. Of course, the Pistons would still have to pay Hamilton the $21.5 million he’s guaranteed over the next two seasons, and that may be too much to pay for nothing.
As Lowe admits in the piece, it’s all speculative considering no one knows whether the cap would go up or down with the new CBA and no one knows how exactly the amnesty provision would be applied.
As things stand now, I think it’s unlikely Detroit renounces Prince. It’s more likely they’d attempt to use him in a sign and trade. It’s not even out of the question that they attempt to re-sign him. But if an amnesty provision allows the Pistons to lose Hamilton’s (or another big salary), renouncing Prince does make a bit more sense in that scenario.
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