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Is Tayshaun Prince too old for a sign-and-trade?

When I posted a report that the Nets will target Tayshaun Prince once the lockout ends, a few commenters began scouring New Jersey’s roster for a potential return in a sign-and-trade.

But why would the Nets, who will almost certainly have cap room, give up an asset to sign Prince? Really, why would any team give up an asset to sign Prince?

Joe Dumars didn’t trade Prince to the Mavericks for their first-round pick at the trade deadline, and word is Dumars thought he could get more for Prince in a sign-and-trade. If Dumars hadn’t already spoken with Prince and other teams to assess the sign-and-trade market (and maybe even if he had), I think the Pistons president miscalculated.

Prince, 31, is too old for a sign-and-trade. Of course, no rule prevents a sign-and-trade based on age, but practicality does. A chief reason a team acquiring  a free agent does a sign-and-trade is to offer the player more years and more money. But will teams really want to pay Prince when he’s 37, let alone give him larger year-to-year raises?

That’s why, of the 35 examples of sign-and-trades I found in the previous seven summers,* Prince would be the third-oldest player to get signed-and-traded. (Darrell Armstrong and Ervin Johnson, who were both 38 when signed-and-traded, are outliers). The median age for a player when he’s signed-and-traded is 27.

Here’s how many players of each have been signed-and-traded in the previous seven summers and where Prince would fit:


Now, maybe Dumars has a specific sign-and-trade already lined up for Prince. (I’ve speculated Prince for Chris Kaman would work for both Detroit and the Clippers.)

Dumars certainly commands a respect around the league that probably allows him to get credible information from other teams. Plus, Dumars has always treated his veteran players well. Ideally, in exchange, Prince was up front with Dumars in February about his summer plans. So, Dumars hopefully has a sound understanding of Prince’s specific sign-and-trade possibilities.

I certainly hope Dumars has a plan. If he’s just winging this one, he’ll likely find the sign-and-trade market for Prince lacking partnering teams. But even if Dumars has a plan, a lot could change between the trade deadline and the beginning of free agency.

Banking on a Prince sign-and-trade returning more than Dallas’ first-round-pick seems misguided to me. Maybe that’s why Dumars has interest in re-signing Prince.

It could be the only way for the Pistons to get any value from the 31-year-old.

*I couldn’t find a complete list of sign-and-trades, and I could find what I consider a close-to-complete list only since 2004. There’s a strong chance I’m missing at least one. I If you know of any sign-and-trades, post a link in the comments, and I’ll update the chart. A list of the sign-and-trades I found follows the jump.

Player Year Age
Hakim Warrick 2010 28
David Lee 2010 27
LeBron James 2010 26
Anthony Morrow 2010 25
Josh Childress 2010 27
C.J. Watson 2010 26
Carlos Boozer 2010 29
Amar’e Stoudemire 2010 28
Chris Bosh 2010 26
Jon Brockman 2010 23
Shawn Marion 2009 31
Hedo Turkoglu 2009 30
Carlos Delfino 2009 27
Keyon Dooling 2008 28
Rashard Lewis 2007 28
Darrell Armstrong 2006 38
Andre Owens 2006 26
Peja Stojakovic 2006 29
Al Harrington 2006 26
John Edwards 2006 25
Kwame Brown 2005 23
Eddy Curry 2005 23
Dan Dickau 2005 27
Jermaine Jackson 2005 29
Marco Jaric 2005 27
Ervin Johnson 2005 38
James Jones 2005 25
Laron Profit 2005 28
Antoine Walker 2005 29
Chris Mihm 2004 25
Kenyon Martin 2004 27
Amal McCaskill 2004 31
Jamal Crawford 2004 24
Erick Dampier 2004 29
Mike Wilks 2004 25


  • Jul 12, 20111:17 pm
    by Vince


    It makes no sense to sign and trade him, he may have suitors but they won’t be willing to give up any players that will impact Detroit at all, it makes more sense to let him walk so we can try and acquire a big man. otherwise we can also look into any trades, we may have deadweights but some of them still have some semblance of value.

  • Jul 12, 20112:18 pm
    by Alan


    Although most s&t are executed for younger players to receive bigger contracts, that is not it’s only use.  Let’s say a contender has a serious interest in Prince and offers the MLE, Prince may sign with that team.  Let’s say another contender would like to up the offer and they’re over the cap.  They must participate in a s&t to acquire Prince.  It’s a win for the contender as they get Prince and win for Prince as he gets more $$ than the MLE.  It’s also a win for Detroit as they receive an asset in return. 

    I think Prince to LA is a possibility for a s&t.

    • Jul 12, 20112:27 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Alan, you leave out a few complicating factors. Almost every contender would probably want Prince for the MLE, and it’s not far-fetched one will want to offer more than MLE. But for the sign-and-trade to happen, a few things must be true:

      • The contender is over the cap or has less cap room than the value of the MLE (or else, the contender would just sign Prince outright).
      • The contender has a player it values less than Prince, but makes a salary similar to what it’s offering Prince (or else, the contender would just keep that player. Remember, a team over the cap must send out near-equal salary in a trade).
      • The player the contender is willing to trade has value to the Pistons (or else, why would Detroit do it?).
      • Prince wants to play for that team (or else, why would he do it?).

      Give me one example of all four tests being possibly true. You can even stretch it past contenders. The Clippers for Kaman is the only deal I could find that might work.

      • Jul 12, 20114:19 pm
        by George A Jensen


        Prince to ATL for Josh Smith?  He’s been on the block for quite some time.  Removing Smith from the PF equation enables them to move Horford there closer to full-time.  It doesn’t help their Marvin Williams situation, but what would?

        I’d look at Charlotte for Diop and a pick, as well.  They were in desperate need of a C and Desagana still didn’t play.  If they were to acquire Prince they could play Diaw at PF some more.

        • Jul 12, 20114:31 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Atlanta would never do that. Smith is way better and way younger than Prince.

          Why would Prince want to play for Charlotte? They’re a crummy team, and the most he could make there (under the previous CBA’s rules) would be  $8,756,750 his first year.

          • Jul 13, 20119:08 pm
            by getsomepistons

            For future reference, any time I post an x for y trade, it’s just a deal focused around x and y, not withstanding other pieces.  Prince and Jerebko or Daye would probably get it done.

            and damn.  I herped and then derped.  I forgot that Larry Brown was fired from the Bobcats ages ago.

  • Jul 12, 20113:02 pm
    by Quick Darshan


    FWIW, I think the Mavs had the 26th pick and traded it.  Jordan Hamilton went at 26, followed by JaJuan Johnson, Norris Cole, Cory Joseph, and Jimmy Butler.

  • Jul 12, 20113:55 pm
    by Alan


    Thanks for the analysis Dan.  I think the Lakers need a reload at Forward and so they may look to deal either Odom or Artest.  Both are part of the rotation so LA would need to bring on a player like Prince to fill or improve the vacated role.  I think Prince for Artest would be a boon for the Lake Show but Detroit doesn’t want that contract.  I think Prince for Odom would be a real nice win for Detroit because we could really use an expiring contract (Odom has one more year but it’s a team option).  I don’t think LA would do this but maybe this could be the centerpiece for a larger deal.  Lakers don’t have a 6th-man and could use some scoring support on the wings – we certainly have plenty of those in Detroit.  Lakers are also paying Luke Walton a lot of money to sit on the bench, so perhaps we could take back that contract as part of a larger deal. 

  • Jul 12, 20114:24 pm
    by George A Jensen


    The day the Pistons acquire Ron Artest is the day the dark side of the moon becomes visible.

  • Jul 12, 20117:21 pm
    by Steve


    Can u add prince and another player in a sign n trade? Like prince s&t + ben gordon for josh smith and marvin williams?

    • Jul 12, 20117:25 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Sure. (Although, Atlanta would never accept that specific trade.)

      • Jul 12, 201111:07 pm
        by Jay


        I just makes very little sense to sign and trade him, unless someone wants to thrown in a shotblocking center that they have laying around, most teams are gonna want to ship an overpaid SG or SF back to Detroit for Prince. Taking on a bad contract for a 1st round pick makes no sense.

        I will continue to advocate that the Pistons just let Prince go. Do whatever is necessary to get any or all of Rip/Gordon/CV off the roster without taking back bad contracts and make an offer to Restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan. He is the lone player on the market who provides scoring, rebounding and shot blocking who is also young enough to grow with the other members of Detroit’s nucleus. I would rather overpay for Jordan now and have him for 5 productive years than Prince (or whoever he gets traded for) for their declining years.

        A line up of Knight, Stucky, Daye/Jerebko, Monroe, and Jordan would have the Pistons competive in the NBA playoffs in a year or two. Can anyone say the same about keeping Prince? How about taking back a player like Richard Jefferson, Travis Outlaw, Gerald Wallace, Marvin Williams, or Leondro Barbosa??

  • Jul 13, 20119:20 am
    by Tom


    I think youre overestimating the value Dallas’ pick had for us. A late 1st rounder probably would have just been used on Kyle Singler but we would have had to pay him more and give him guaranteed money. We already have 3 rookies on the roster and if you assume Joe likes White, we essentially have 4. Seems to me adding another with a guaranteed contract wouldn’t have done anything positive for us.

    I don’t think it is hard at all to put together a reasonable package deal that ships Prince to a contender. I like the above mentioned idea that has him going in a package to LAL for Odom, I also think throwing in Stuckey could send him to ATL for Josh Smith. I don’t think its terribly difficult to combine the two and have Stuckey and Odom go to ATL, Prince + go to LAL and we get Smith. Similarly Prince to LAC, Stuckey and Kaman to ATL and Smith to us seems like a starting point. 

    • Jul 13, 201110:13 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Why would the Lakers trade Odom for Prince? That’s a downgrade for them.

      What are the odds Stuckey and Prince will want to play for Atlanta? Why would the Hawks do that trade?

      • Jul 13, 20111:50 pm
        by Alan


        I agree that Odom for Prince straight-up is a downgrade but as part of a larger picture, it’s possible.  The Lakers pass the D. Feldman four-part test that you detailed above.  The Lakers have other needs too.  Their team almost exclusively relied on Kobe & Pau for  consistent points and could really use some scoring support in the form of a 6th man. 

        • Jul 13, 20112:51 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Alan, I don’t understand. How would Prince be more valuable to the Lakers than Odom is? Odom is a much better player.

          • Jul 13, 20114:07 pm
            by Alan

            I am not suggesting that Prince is more valuable to the Lakers than Odom.  I am in fact conceding that he is not.  The argument is that Prince for Odom could be the central workings of a deal that may help to answer some of the Lakers other missing parts and improve their team.  And they have other missing parts as they took a big step backwards last season. 

          • Jul 13, 20114:13 pm
            by Dan Feldman

            So what do the Pistons have that can bridge the gap between Prince’s value and Odom’s value? Give me an example of a deal that might work, because I sure don’t see one.

  • Jul 13, 201111:16 am
    by brgulker


    Given what Dallas was able to do with its pick, I think it’s pretty hard to argue it didn’t have more value than letting Tay walk as an UFA.

  • Jul 13, 201111:22 am
    by brgulker


    Dan, thanks for posting this.

    Here’s my question to anyone and everyone:

    Who is a willing trade partner in a Prince S&T that satisfies everyone? Prince has to want to play there. The team has to want Prince. The team must have an asset it is willing to part with that works under contractual obligations. The Pistons must want said asset.

    I think that such a list is very small, if it exists at all.

  • Jul 13, 201110:57 pm
    by Alan


    Not sure that I can make the deal happen.  But I just wanted to prove that the Lakers are a possibility as LA is:
    1.) over the cap
    2.) would have an interest in Prince
    3.) Prince would have an interest in LA
    4.) LA would have an asset that interests Detroit

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