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Even if lockout ends, free agency could still be pretty uneventful leaguewide

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.


  • Jul 7, 20114:22 pm
    by Quick Darshan


    What is the benefit of not renouncing Prince’s rights?  Can Prince sign anywhere he wants and the Pistons have the option of taking a player back or getting a trade exemption?  Or do the Pistons have to seek out a trade partner?

    • Jul 8, 20115:00 am
      by Laser


      prince can sign anywhere, but the only way a team over the cap could offer him more than the midlevel exception is through a sign-and-trade with us, assuming the rules were the same in the new CBA, which would be a big “if.” teams could also offer him an extra year and higher annual raises if they involved the pistons, so if a team wants to offer the best package for him (since he’s free to pick where he goes), even if it’s in the midlevel exception range, they could tack on that extra year and/or offer slightly more money than the base midlevel exception.

      i don’t know if any of that is realistic, but i do feel like prince should command a salary in the ballpark of his current one. i think he would be invaluable to any contender out there. he’s so versatile and durable and has such good basketball IQ, and a good locker room guy, he’d be an instant rotation staple anywhere.

      personally i’d be pretty happy to have him back.

  • Jul 7, 20114:47 pm
    by neutes


    If the Pistons renounce his rights they can’t sign him for more than they have in cap space, which would be nothing since they have Stuckey’s rights still, so there could be no sign-and-trade. And this assumes their would still be Bird rights in the new CBA, or that things would still operate close to how they are now. If the NBA is going to go to a hard cap it will be phased in so there would be no point in offering the amnesty deal until the final season before the hard cap is final, as a last resort. Offering it the first year would just create a situation for owners to get themselves in another mess before the hard cap comes into play.

  • Jul 7, 20115:08 pm
    by Alan


    If the Pistons exercise an amnesty provision for one contract, it will be Charlie Vs.  It only cost a few million more than Hamilton and Rip’s contract expires next season.  So, Rip could be traded.  In fact, if the entire 2011 season is lost and the new CBA allows for an amnesty provision, the Pistons could trade Rip and dump CV and be in pretty good shape to start the 2012 season.  How abou that!?!?!

    • Jul 8, 20114:51 am
      by Laser


      your assumption is baseless. charlie v isn’t our worst contract. he may be a total dog, but at least he plays a position where we’re thin and could use him once or twice a season. not to mention that his salary isn’t prohibitive.

      knowing the pistons, right now i think they’d foolishly waste the amnesty on rip. it would accomplish several of their misguided goals at once, and i have a strong feeling joe dumars has a handful of misguided goals at the very top of his To Do list.

      for a third realistic candidate, there’s ben gordon, whom i personally consider the worst problem on the roster by such a wide margin it’s a chore to discuss. too much money, too many years, a horrendous fit, we have too many guards and almost all of them are eensy weensy. dump him.

      i’ve even heard max’s name thrown around by some clueless fan as who he/she/it would cut.

      but it’s going to be a guard. bet on that. rip and gordon can’t be on the same roster. i hope and pray joe realizes gordon is the one who needs to go and cuts his losses, amnesty or not. i can’t stand the thought of a guard rotation with this kind of size problems.

      • Jul 8, 201111:34 am
        by Steve K


        Totally agree with Laser on this one. Gordon is the contract that needs to go. Of course, I doubt that would happen because — even if there was an amnesty granted — it would force Gores to pay a whopping $37.2million for the right to dump Gordon. 

        That’s gonna be a tough pill to swallow.

      • Jul 8, 20112:03 pm
        by Jacob


        Absolutely agree on Gordon. I’ve been asking for about 2 years now why we signed him. I’ll take Rip at 33 with a comparable contract that comes off the books sooner, than Gordon at 27 who’s being paid like a superstar but can’t find a role. Honestly, out of the potential candidates whatever coach we get is still going to have a hard time succeeding until we thin out the guard rotation. That’s got to be a priority. Of course so much is contingent on the new CBA who knows what we can do?

  • Jul 8, 20115:34 pm
    by Tre


    I’d get rid of Charlie before Gordon OR Rip .
    Rip produces MUCH more than both of the Two, his contract is Valuable AND he is a Trade asset . . . Why use the clause on him ?
    Charlie V is a BIG contract for a player with NO VALUE !
    Ben Gordon has a BIG contract for a player who produces little , BUT still has some left in the tank , Anyone shouldn’t write Gordon off yet. He’s Young , and a Scoring threat that produces , several teams could use that ! Here’s a much simple breakdown :

    1. Get rid of BIG contract w/ Value as far as producing on the court , or being a trade asset (Rip)
    2. Get rid of BIG contract owed to a player with NO Value at all AND is the most over paid player in the league . . . as far as production goes.
    3.Get rid of the BIG contract of a producing, young scorer that still has potential AND some left in the tank = Value
    Idk about you guys but if I’m Gores ; (If Clause is in new CBA) I’m releasing Charlie V , Keep Rip until contract expires with ONE exception ; we can get a quality Big (Boozer Or Throw in more pieces and get a Jazz Big) And Keep Gordon also , but try to move him for ANYONE who can get in and fit in GREAT with Monroe and Knight (Perhaps a Carl Landry , Strong on the Defensive end , Young , and produces at the offensive side as well) ! If we keep rip until contract expires and Buy-out Charlie, Well have much $ to get a SUPERstar in 2012′s free agency that’ll be waaayy more loaded than than last years !

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