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Which player should the Pistons waive if there is an amnesty clause?

Bill Simmons and Jonathan Abrams of Grantland look at each team’s contracts and decide which deal each team should lose if the new collective bargaining agreement includes an amnesty clause. Here were their thoughts on the Pistons:

Abrams: Richard Hamilton ($25 million over the next two years). A sad but necessary and overdue parting. Detroit could also look at trimming off the longer-termed contracts of Ben Gordon ($37.2 million through 2014) and Charlie Villanueva ($24.2 through 2014), but Hamilton makes the most sense for the Pistons: Their championship team dissipated long ago, and Hamilton has soured on the organization.

Simmons: I don’t feel sad. By the way, congratulations to Joe Dumars for tying Isiah Thomas’ “three legitimate amnesty clause candidates” record from 2005.

Abrams mentions the usual suspects — Hamilton, Gordon and Villanueva (though I’ve always thought that Jason Maxiell would be a darkhorse amnesty casualty).

This is another hotly contested debate around here simply because Hamilton’s contract isn’t the worst of those three albatrosses and, when he actually tries on defense, he’s a bit better overall player than Gordon. But, on the flip side, Hamilton is in his 30s while there is still some slim hope that Gordon or Villanueva could return from the abyss and perhaps rebuild their damaged trade value a bit. Plus, those two are signed longer than Hamilton, so the financial commitment to just pay them to not be on the team would be greater.

Abrams and Simmons are right — it makes the most sense to get rid of Hamilton because all signs point to him not really wanting to be here anymore, a factor that makes the hypothetical decision more than just strictly a basketball one. Plus, his long-time teammates Tayshaun Prince (free agent) and Ben Wallace (retirement speculation) are not locks to return, so would Hamilton’s demeanor improve as the last man standing from a bygone era?

But consider the can of worms opened — who are you getting rid of if there is an amnesty provision?

35 Comments

  • Sep 28, 201111:29 am
    by Levi Thieman

    Reply

    GORDON … HE LOOKS LIKE HE LOST HIS GAME

  • Sep 28, 201111:33 am
    by DVS

    Reply

    This topic is always being debated over, and personally I think Rip needs to be cut loose if there is a amnesty clause.
    BG and CV are definitely viable candidates, but paying out Rip would be better for the locker room and I’m sure Gores would much rather pay the remaining $25ish million to Rip than the remaining $37ish mil to Gordon.
    CV is overpaid and has obvious faults, but his contracts isn’t nearly as bad as Rips or BG given his age and position/skill set.
     
     

  • Sep 28, 201111:35 am
    by Jacob

    Reply

    I’m getting rid of BG. Not only do I like Hamilton’s game much better, but I like Stuckey at the 2 especially since drafting Brandon Knight who may be the PG of the the future. And why does Simmons still hate the Pistons? Is it because we took the torch from his Celtics in ’88? Get over it – that happens in the NBA.

  • Sep 28, 201112:01 pm
    by neutes

    Reply

    This is easy – it’s Ben Gordon. I could rehash all the obvious practical and economic reasons for it but it doesn’t seem necessary. I don’t care that Rip has a bad attitude or doesn’t want to be here, if either of those are actually the case. He can suck it up for one more season, or none being that it might not even take place, until he’s an expiring contract. If the season is lost Gordon becomes an even more obvious choice. Why buyout an expiring contract?

    • Sep 28, 201112:14 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I think that’s easy to say from an outsider perspective. But we’re not the people who have to work with Hamilton every day. If he’s really had the detrimental effect on the locker room that several of the reporters covering the team have alluded to, he’s an easy choice to go. They’re trying to instill a culture and set up a new coach for success. If Hamilton buys in and is willing to play any role he’s asked, great. Keep him. His recent history says he’s probably not going to be willing to do that though.

      And money-wise, you would be eating an awful lot of money on Gordon’s contract just to not have him on the team. He’s still relatively young and capable of being a good scorer again if he finds a team with talent in place around him like he had in Chicago. I imagine paying him $30ish million or whatever he’s still owed then watching him go average 18-20 a game somewhere else would be a tough pill to swallow.

      • Sep 28, 201112:31 pm
        by neutes

        Reply

        If the goal is to get out from under these contracts the fastest way possible then waiving Gordon is the surest bet of that happening.

  • Sep 28, 201112:22 pm
    by DVS

    Reply

    I think people forget that if the amnesty clause goes through the owners are paying a player a lot of money to leave.
    There’s no value coming back to the team. that’s why i don’t see Gores forking over the remaining $37 mil for Gordon to just leave and join another team.
     

  • Sep 28, 201112:23 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    Why use the clause on Hamilton when we could probably trade him and bring back some value…His contract will probably look attractive now that he is only owed 21 mil and next season its partially guaranteed…Why on earth would we use the clause on Gordon when he still has potential to be a 18-20pt scorer if played correctly…I say we don’t use it at all!

    • Sep 28, 201112:34 pm
      by neutes

      Reply

      We HAVE to use it. The new CBA is going to come with a lower salary cap.

      • Sep 28, 201112:55 pm
        by Jodi Jezz

        Reply

        Oh, well if that’s the case use it on Rip then…lol

  • Sep 28, 20111:38 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    It’d be a waste to use the amnesty clause on Hamilton, the most tradeable of the three common candidates.  His partially guaranteed final year makes him a buy-out candidate this season for teams looking to get under the new cap.  Teams were already calling his name last season, expect that to continue when this season resumes.
     
    Without Hamilton, Gordon will have more room to play and a shot at pre-Pistons burn.  If he can crack 20ppg for half of a season, teams are likely to come calling for him as well.  They’ll likely attribute his two bad seasons to the toxic environment in Detroit and Hamilton will shoulder a lot of that blame.  If any GM is dumb enough to call for him after a big scoring season, move that waste of space for pennies on the dollar.
     
    As for Villanueva, dude can’t even hold down the starting 4 spot for the Dominican team.  I wouldn’t sign dude for the vet minimum unless his only responsibility is to tweet.  Contractual amnesty is the only likely way we’ll get out from under that contract.

    • Sep 28, 20112:19 pm
      by neutes

      Reply

      A couple problems with your take. If we trade Hamilton we have to take back something in return. What if whatever we end up with still prohibits Gordon from showcasing his abilities? What if Gordon has no abilities left and we end up stuck with him? What if we can’t find a GM dumb enough to take him? And the same issue as above, we have to take something in return for him. The best way to insure resolving this issue without sheer hope of something miraculous happening is buyout Gordon and to wait until Rip is an expiring, that way either way were getting rid of both by 2012 at the latest, and maximizing Rip’s trade value. 

      As for CV, the cap will be lower, so $7 million in yearly savings doesn’t net you much in terms of flexibility. The front court is extremely thin as it is. Yeah we’re stuck with him, but I’d rather hope we can move his $7 mil/yr contract in a trade than hope we can move two SG’s with $11+ mil/yr contracts in a separate trades.

      • Sep 28, 20112:52 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Yeah, you’d pretty much have to already have a trade lined up for either Rip or Gordon to not amnesty one of them. Furthermore, free agency is unlikely to be a plausible way for Detroit to add talent until all of Rip, Gordon, and Charlie are off the books (along with Maxiell). Gordon feels like the right choice though, just on the off-chance that Dumars can move CV. If that happens, Detroit gets a boatload of cap space in 2013.

        If a trade partner appears for Rip appears (offering Jamison or someone like that), then Mike’s plan to drop CV and try to trade Gordon later seems a good one.

        As for the idea that Gordon’s contract is a bigger pill to swallow, well he’s gonna be paid anyway; it’s a sunk cost. The question is whether an extra season of having him is worth $12M on the books (assuming Gordon and Rip would be comparably valuable players for the other two years).

  • Sep 28, 20111:51 pm
    by Jason

    Reply

    Simmons just doesn’t like Dumars and I personally don’t like Simmons.

    I would say Hamilton over Gordon but either way can work and I promise whoever is left will have much better stats. But we need to sign Prince or else whoever is next to Daye is going to suck at defense cause he sucks so bad.  I hope I am wrong though. 

    Maxiell could be used as well. But he is liked in the community so not sure if that will happen.

    I think Charlie V gets to much negative attention.  I think he is a baller and can be clutch. That being said I think he may be gone cause of Monroe and Jerebko being picked up in the draft. Unless Jorebko can’t perform at preinjury form he is expendable and we will probably trade him.

    • Sep 28, 20113:19 pm
      by Laser

      Reply

      You’ve said one thing that makes sense. Whichever shooting guard we kept on the roster would instantly have incomparably more value to the team. The roster is markedly better in the blink of an eye.
       
      What you don’t understand is that the team would be better off with Rip instead of Gordon (unless you think three midgets and Stuckey make for an intriguing backcourt), AND Rip is the shorter and more tradeable contract. The mind boggles.

  • Sep 28, 20113:13 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    When’s the last time a discussion that merited little-to-no discussion whatsoever was discussed this deeply into the ground? I can’t think of one on any topic known to man.
     
    When Rip was under contract for 4 years and $50 million-ish and Gordon was under contract for 5 years and $58 million-ish, Rip was the worst contract on our books. Now that Rip has 2 years, one that will be alleviated by a shortened season and the other that is partially guaranteed, there is nothing left to discuss. Anybody who would cut Rip loose over Gordon has something deeply wrong with them.
     
    I suppose a reasonable person might be so disgusted with Charlie V to use the clause on him. It would be a mistake, but I wouldn’t have that person committed to a mental institution. And Maxiell isn’t a dark horse anything. 2 years at $10 million?? Has there been a bigger waste of an amnesty clause? Could there conceivably be a bigger waste of an amnesty clause? And on such a broken roster.
     
    The analysis on this site is maddening when it comes to this topic.

    • Sep 28, 20113:47 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Haha. I love the absolutism in your comments. Truly respect your level of conviction. But you’re an unpleasant dude, for realsies.

      First, isn’t the point of this site and others like it (i.e. topic-specific specialty sites devoted to news/coverage of a single team) supposed to be to obsess over things and “discuss things into the ground?” Why does the fact that people discuss things into the ground bother you, someone who is as guilty as anyone of “discussing things into the ground,” so much? Your problem, I suspect, has little to do with the format and more to do with you want everyone to agree with you and think your reasoning is rock-solid.

      Secondly, the reason the topic is being revisited is because big-name writers at a national site just posted something predicting amnesty casualties. So, for our purposes, that merits some discussion. Basically, anyone who has covered the team on a day-to-day — beat writers, national pundits, etc. — pretty much unilaterally agrees that if amnesty exists, the guy to go will be Hamilton. The column I linked to reinforces this once again — Abrams and Simmons both think Hamilton. I suspect if you e-mail or tweet any Pistons beat writer, they will agree that it will be Hamilton.

      Now, you’re right. Based solely on contract length, he doesn’t have the worst contract on the team anymore. He’s also (when engaged) a better defensive player than Gordon. But there has to be a reason, despite the better contract and possible superior talent, that everyone who has covered the team up close thinks he’ll be the guy to go, right? I mean, there has certainly been a fair amount of leaks the last couple years that suggests Hamilton is, at best, a sometimes difficult personality to deal with and, at worst, a downright cancer? Would a team not consider that if they can get out of a contract no strings attached? I think they would and I think it would make sense from that perspective.

      Maybe they’re convinced Gordon would finally thrive without Hamilton. Maybe they’re convinced they can’t trade Hamilton.

      If it were me, judging solely from an outsider perspective, I’d ditch Gordon because I’m just not a huge fan of his game in the first place and he has the worst contract. But I’m also smart enough to understand that that’s not going to be the only consideration the team puts into this decision (if there is even a decision to be made). And I’m also smart enough to realize that people who cover the team, have sources and are in the locker room have a much better grasp of external, non-basketball things that could factor into the team’s reasoning.

      Lastly, I’ve said a version of this to you a million times, but here goes again: why are you the way that you are? Saying things like this — “The analysis on this site is maddening when it comes to this topic” — WTH is that? If it’s maddening, don’t read. Seriously. Read through other comments — people disagree all the time. What is so wrong with expressing your disagreements logically and leaving it at that? Why be an asshole? If it’s “maddening” to you to read, then I certainly don’t want to be a danger to your obviously otherwise sound mental health. It doesn’t hurt my feelings if you move on in order to preserve your sanity. And it certainly does me no good to read your condescending little quips and get pissed off about them since I’m not a good enough person to let minor slights from anonymous randoms on the internet go unanswered. So again, I leave you with the question: Why not just make your point and not be a jerkoff about it? Why is that so hard?

      • Sep 28, 20115:27 pm
        by Laser

        Reply

        @Hayes: If we were in the same room, I bet you’d give me a hug.
         
        Sorry for having convictions and being passionate about them to the extent that it bothers you, but strictly speaking, Ben Gordon is the only player on the roster who is a serious problem unto himself.
         
        Amnesty-clausing Rip off the roster leaves us with Ben Gordon, Will Bynum, Brandon Knight and Terrico White under contract at G. (If Stuckey came back, he would be the GOLIATH of the backcourt.) That’s a set of guards so small it would be impossible to field it with a straight face, or perhaps at all. And the only one of them that could reasonably be moved for something resembling that would help this team is Knight, who happens to be the last one we should want to move.
         
        If the idea of an amnesty clause is to fix the roster. Even if trading Rip would mean a warm aura of kumbaya in the locker room (which is debatable*), it’s not going to do a bloody thing on the court. It doesn’t cost a penny more to make either one of them go away, because we owe them both all that money anyways; that’s on Joe for locking them both up long-term like a damn fool with too much job security. We’re almost certainly looking at a shortened upcoming season, if there’s a season at all, and *VOILA!* What do you know? As if by magic, Rip has a deliciously desirable partially-guaranteed contract.
         
        Hell, we don’t even need an amnesty clause to make him go away! Just ask him to stay home. You’re paying his salary either way. The only difference is that with an amnesty clause we lose his rights for nothing whatsoever and he doesn’t count against the cap for one season, where without the clause we keep his rights and we could get some value for him in a year. Gordon, on the other hand, is our problem for that pesky fully-guaranteed extra season and would be one fourth of the smallest backcourt in history.
         
        In short, using an amnesty clause on Rip just doesn’t fix much of anything and could potentially cost us a valuable trading chip a year (or less) from now. If cutting Rip would make the team respectable, or even be a sensible step in that direction, I’d be singing a different tune.
         
        *As for locker room strife, there was plenty to go around, and Rip was well within his rights to be disgruntled. Personally, I think it’s a fair guess that if given his customary role/minutes/shots, he would be willing to play nice. He may have a chip on his shoulder (which he never didn’t have), but he’s a professional and he has pride. If for no other reason, he’d likely be cooperative just so he could rehabilitate his trade value. It’s just unreasonable to expect that he would be an automatic cancer regardless of the backcourt makeup.

        • Sep 28, 20116:23 pm
          by Jason

          Reply

          So i respect both of your opinions. But why can’t we think Gordon can come back to level he was playing the last year with the Bulls. With the evidence we have there are plenty of reasons why he didn’t perform to that level that were not in his control with Detroit. Do you guys completely disagree?

          Lets think risk/reward. The downside risk is not much cause with either one I beleive we have a similar quality of player. Gordon is a bit lesser of a defensive player but I would say not that much. I guess you could also say Rip can play some 3. Gordon is a better shooter and has a better attitude. We all know how important the 3-ball is now also. Gordon is younger but I would say Rip is a better compititer.

          So I would say the upside reward can be higher with Gordon even though we would have to pay more money out LONG-TERM but not on a per year basis.

          • Sep 28, 20118:45 pm
            by neutes

            Here’s what I know about Gordon. He played the 18th most minutes of any SG in the NBA last year. He was 4th on the Pistons in minutes played. He played over 2100 lousy minutes. He was 159th in the league in PER. 293rd in the league in Win Shares. On a per 48 minutes basis he was better than only Maxiell and Summers last season on the Pistons. 

            In other words, Gordon was flat out terrible. A bad basketball player.

            Do we really want to hope he can get back whatever it was he once had? Hoping doesn’t sound like a good plan when millions of dollars and the direction of a multi-hundred million dollar business are at stake. I’d feel much more comfortable with Rip because even if hope fails his contract can provide us with more soon thereafter.

          • Sep 28, 20118:47 pm
            by neutes

            Oops 211th in PER. Even worse.

        • Sep 28, 20117:31 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I think you overstate the downside of a tiny backcourt. If the Pistons were in contention, I’d be more likely to agree with you, but they won’t be until all those players are gone from the roster anyway. So how good the team is in the meantime is kind of a moot point.

          And the fact that BG has the potential to get his trade value up considerably higher than Rip has the potential to get his is also significant. Gordon would still be my first choice to amnesty away because his is easily the worst contract, but it’s not a complete given.

          • Sep 29, 20119:53 pm
            by Laser

            Nobody will trade us a good player for a woefully undersized, turnover-prone shooting guard on a multi-year contract at $12-13 mil per season, no matter how much he improved his trade value. He is a colossal liability and a prohibitive long shot to earn the money he’s owed.
             
            It’s probably best to face facts and consider Rip and him as total losses and take the swiftest action possible to abandon ship and move on without paying a “tax” that hinders the team’s future prospects (such as the pick Joe tried to unload with Rip last year). Rip is tradeable within the next year (a window where, according to your own words, it doesn’t matter how bad we are), so using an amnesty clause on him would be a complete waste AND leave us with our worst contract, which that clause is meant to rid us of.
             
            And for that matter, if you’re conceding the next few seasons, throwing your hands in the air and doing nothing to improve it since it’s a lost cause, why even bother with an amnesty clause in the first place?? Literally all you’re doing is paying the guy the full amount he’s owed and surrendering the right to trade him when his contract is expiring, should a taker emerge. The point of this clause is to fix things.

          • Sep 29, 201111:09 pm
            by tarsier

            A) Never underestimate the stupidity of some GMs.
            B) The next couple seasons are worth giving up on in terms of how good a basketball team is out there, but not in terms of working moves to put the Pistons in a better spot once they do again have cap space.

          • Sep 30, 20112:37 pm
            by Laser

            i am ALL FOR positioning ourselves to be competitive in a few years, since no matter what we do we’ll never be any good before then. but using an amnesty clause on rip won’t help us.

    • Sep 28, 20113:50 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      If in fact Rip is a locker room cancer or you believe that more minutes could get Gordon back to his Chicago-esque numbers, there is a strong case for ditching Rip. If you have a deal to get rid of either Rip or Gordon for a bad contract at a big position (maybe Rip and a sweetener for Okafor), there is a valid argument to amnesty CV. Maxiell is only a darkhorse candidate in that on some teams (read: OKC and maybe a couple others), he would be the player to cut.

      • Sep 28, 20114:03 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        Oh, forgot to address my reasoning on Maxiell:

        First, I should stress to Laser that “darkhorse” means essentially “unlikely.” I don’t think he’ll be an amnesty casualty. But under some circumstances, he could be:

        - As tarsier said, there is a deal for Rip or Gordon in place that we don’t know about. They trade one, assume the other stays and starts at the two.

        - Then the choice becomes Maxiell-CV. Now, CV is terrible, but he’s still a rotation player on a team with an incredibly thin frontcourt. Also, if you get rid of him, you have a frontcourt of Wallace (if he’s back), Monroe (who should improve, but still hasn’t show he’s a post presence), Jerebko (who might not be a PF). Villanueva does one thing kinda OK sometimes: score. Maxiell at this point does no things well. He wasn’t even a rotation player on a terrible team with an incredibly weak frontcourt last year. So, if they’re desperate for a little bit of frontcourt production, it’s not like Villanueva’s contract would be so onerous that they’d never consider keeping him in this scenario. Not saying they’d definitely keep him over Maxiell if that was the choice, but I think they’d at least give some thought to dumping Max.

        • Sep 28, 20116:26 pm
          by Jason

          Reply

          Yes I agree we may have a trade in place for Hamilton or Gordon which completely changes this argument.  Then V would be the likely choice in my mind even though I don’t think is a horrible player because of the elements he brings with his size and threes he can make. Actually he is a pretty good ball handler for his size as well.

        • Sep 30, 20112:50 pm
          by Laser

          Reply

          @hayes: you don’t need to explain to me what a darkhorse is, but “darkhorse” doesn’t come within five miles of how unlikely a candidate max is for this clause. i’d say he’s a “prohibitive long shot” at absolute best.

  • Sep 28, 20117:17 pm
    by Saul

    Reply

    Dumping Rip makes the most sense. Gordon played his best last year when Hamilton was benched and he got 30plus minutes. Keep in mind also that minutes alone aren’t the only thing that might be holding Gordon back. The team was terrible with no gameplan offensively or defensively that was cohesive. For all we know Kuester wanted “unselfish play” and didn’t specifically tell Gordon to shoot shoot and shoot. Maybe all of the team had too many scorers and the coaches wanted them all to spread it around. I think Frank’s arrival in Detroit will rebound BG. LFrank will have specific roles detailed down to a T and will keep minutes and roles consistent which will help out tremendously. Nothing we can do about C-Vill, there just isn’t anyone with a similar contract that is a better frontcourt player who we could get straight-up. As for Maxiell, he isn’t worth the contract sure but it’s not worth cutting him over a bigger contract – just finish out the last 2 years on his deal and be done.

    • Sep 28, 20117:44 pm
      by Jason

      Reply

      i agree it wasn’t just the consistent minutes holding Gordan and even Rip back.  Keuster sucked ass and Stuckey’s play was just as bad. So yes there was no real game plan that worked all year. Maybe a few games but not many.
      Regarding Stuckey he may be a better point guard with a different gameplan and coach. As for now I wouldn’t bet on it but am not ruling it out.

    • Sep 28, 201111:11 pm
      by Laser

      Reply

      @saul: when rip was benched, gordon was still ineffective. troublingly so.

  • Sep 29, 20115:26 am
    by gmehl1977

    Reply

    I am leaning towards using the amnesty on Gordon. Everyone has already stated the many scenarios that can change who it should be used on so i would dive into that discussion any further. I just think it would be better used on Gordon as it will almost be like killing 2 birds with 1 stone, especially if the season is cancelled making Rip pretty much an expiring. Hayes mentioned that Gores might balk at having to pay out Gordon just so he can sign else where and i agree but i am more worried about Joe’s ego not choosing Gordon. Obviously by doing so this flags that signing him to the deal in the first place was a mistake.

    Off topic but does anyone know when Andrew Bogut is out of contract? I say we give the Bucks back CV and throw in Gordon and a 1st rounder for him. Bogut and Monroe would make a very nice front court. I know it won’t happen but Bogut has Piston written all over him.

    • Sep 29, 20118:52 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Bogut is signed for two more seasons after this one and his salary the next three is $12, $13 and $14 million — pretty reasonable for a guy who is possibly the second best defensive C in the league when healthy.

      The first problem with that trade is the salaries don’t match — Pistons would have to take back about $6 or $7 million more in additional salary. The second problem is the Bucks know that Charlie V is really terrible (they didn’t even extend him a qualifying offer when they had him, and that was when he was coming off a reasonably decent season) and that Bogut is really good. My guess is that for the Pistons to have any shot at an enticing enough offer for Bogut any package would have to include Greg Monroe, something Detroit would obviously never do.

      • Sep 29, 201111:24 pm
        by gmehl1977

        Reply

        This was just a fantasy trade idea Patrick. I wasn’t really expecting anyone to take it seriously so my bad on that as i should of stated so. I was just rather imagining how good it would be to have Bogut playing beside Monroe. Both are really good passers and solid defensively. Rumor has it Bogut is about to sign over here in the Australian League (NBL) for my local team the Sydney Kings so it will be good to get a close look at him for ever how long the lockout lasts.
         
        I had to have a laugh to myself Patrick as i haven’t been on pistionpowered for a couple of months and the first article i read you and Laser are still at each other in the comments. Its like i was never gone :-)

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