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3-on-3: Tayshaun Prince

This is the debut of a new feature on PistonPowered (and many other TrueHoop Network sites) called 3-on-3. Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. First up, Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys.

1. Will Tayshaun Prince have another year as good as his last?

Dan Feldman: No. For the first time in a couple seasons, Prince really excelled on both ends of the floor. There could be a million reasons why, but I’ll guess the simple one: contract year. With a new deal and and his 32nd birthday approaching, odds are he’ll backslide next year.

Patrick Hayes: No. I don’t think he’s on a rapid decline, but he was a go-to player last season out of necessity more than anything else. He’s at his best in a complementary role, and as a result, his minutes and role will likely decrease wherever he ends up. He’ll be more efficient, but his overall averages won’t approach last season’s.

Matt Watson: I think so, with one caveat: he posted a career-high 21.0 usage rate, which I don’t think he’ll match. Overall he’s been consistent the last several years. He does a bit of everything, and players like that generally don’t fall off the table overnight, even with a role change.

2. How much will Tayshaun Prince earn on his next contract?

Dan Feldman: Four years, $30 million. Prince is coming off a solid season, and Joe Dumars has never been too tight with the purse strings when it comes to re-signing his own free agents. Prince can get one more big(ish) payday, and I doubt he’ll pass that up to play for a contender for peanuts.

Patrick Hayes: Four years, $18 million. He won’t get the overly generous contract Richard Jefferson got from San Antonio (four years, $38.8 million), and he won’t settle for the discounted deal Matt Barnes accepted from the Lakers (2 years/$3.6 million), but I’d put him somewhere between those two extremes.

Matt Watson: Assuming no drastic changes to the CBA, the Mid-Level Exception seems about right. You could argue that he’s worth more, but he’s already 32 years old with a lot of miles. Plus, I think the market for his services is smaller than most folks realize: it really comes down to a handful of contenders looking for an extra piece. 

3. Will Tayshaun Prince re-sign with the Pistons?

Dan Feldman: Yes. Prince might want to leave, and the Pistons might want to move on, but I doubt either does. With the Mid-Level Exception likely limited to about $20 million for four years, where else would Prince get a big offer? And with limited cap room to sign another team’s free agent, how would the Pistons replace their top player?

Patrick Hayes: No. Prince, understandably, has not seemed happy spending the last productive years of his career on a non-contender. The Pistons should give minutes to young players, particularly Austin Daye, to see whether they have anything there. Prince was important to this franchise’s second golden age, but it’d be best for both parties to go their separate ways.

Matt Watson: Given Dumars’ recent track record, I wouldn’t be surprised – I just hope I’m wrong. Detroit won’t contend for awhile, and when they do, Prince will be toast. Given the waves that he’s made, it’s risky bringing him along for the ride. Let’s see Austin Daye or even Kyle Singler sink or swim. Or hell, just put Jonas Jerebko there.

What do you think? Share your answers in the comments.


  • Oct 31, 201112:38 pm
    by DVS


    my 2 cents…
    1. No. I’m assuming he signs with a contender, so he’ll go back to his “glue guy” role and less of a go to guy like he was last season. He’s better in that role and he’ll flourish on the right contender, but he won’t put up numbers like last season.
    2. 4 years for $20 mil. seems pretty fair given princes experience and abilities. He’s old, but he would decline too rapidly given his style of play.
    3. I hope not. I wouldn’t be surprised, but i wouldn’t be happy.
    He deserves to play on a contender and we need to let Daye, Singler and Jonas have those minutes to develop. It makes sense for both parties.

    • Oct 31, 201112:39 pm
      by DVS


      * he won’t decline too rapidly…

    • Oct 31, 201112:45 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      The only red flag with Prince is the mix of minutes he’s played in his career with his slight frame. I agree that he has a style of game that should hold up with age, but other players with his skillset are typically bigger too. It wouldn’t be a total shock to see the physical beating Prince has taken all of a sudden catch up with him. But I think 4 years/20 million is still fair for him for a contender.

      • Oct 31, 201112:55 pm
        by DVS


        that’s very true… but i think his reputation and resume will get a few teams bidding higher than maybe they should.
        But on the other hand there’s other SF in the up coming FA class that may drive his price down. AK47, butler, Wilson (if he returns from china).. ect.
        It’s hard to say, but i think his ring and team USA experience probably gets him a few extra mil than the others.

  • Oct 31, 20111:36 pm
    by tarsier


    Matt kinda nailed it. There is no good (basketball, not financial) reason for Prince to come back to Detroit. But given Dumars’ track record, I’m worried there is a reasonable chance of it happening anyway.

  • Nov 1, 20112:25 pm
    by Eric


    I say sign and trade deal for sure!!!

  • Nov 1, 20113:49 pm
    by MobTown


    I know that Dumars has been operating under a certain M.O. for the past couple of years, but I’d be surprised if Dumars is given that much rope, especially with a malcontent like Prince.
    I don’t think Dumars will be allowed to give out a contract like 4 years and 20 mil for a player in his early 30′s. Especially with Prince having that back injury in 2010. It just has to make you think twice about his utility going forward.
    Stuckey, Daye, Gordon, and Knight are all going to want the ball in their hands. Prince is no longer needed as the primary option, and I don’t think he wants to be.
    When it comes down to it, they have Daye, who’s been waiting for 2 years to get his chance, and Jerebko, although relegated to the 4, is actually a 3 who can give opposing players fits with his defense and hustle.
    You throw in the fact that they’ll likely get rid of either Hamilton or Villanueva through the amnesty clause and you’re looking at a team that could potentially sign another big to complement Monroe and beef up interior D.
    Gores is not going to be looking to take 2 steps back to take 1 step forward, not this year at least.

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