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3-on-3: Trading Jason Maxiell

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, Patrick and I will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. We’re going to use 3-on-3s to assess the tradability of each Piston leading up to the March 15 trade deadline.

For each 3-on-3, we’ll be joined by a guest contributor. Today, that’s Ben Gulker of Pistons by the Numbers and Detroit Bad Boys.

Please add your responses in the comment.

1. How motivated are the Pistons to trade Jason Maxiell?

Dan Feldman: Maxiell might be the Pistons most tradable asset, given how strong he’s come on lately. I hope they’re at least talking to teams about him. If Maxiell could fetch a high second-round pick from a team that could absorb him with cap space or a trade exception or send back an expiring contract, I’d think long and hard about that.

Patrick Hayes: They would probably move him, even though his play has been one of the few bright spots this season. Maxiell isn’t a long-term answer as a starting power forward, but he’s returned to form as an energy player and rebounder. His contract isn’t so onerous that they have to get rid of him, but he’s also getting back to the point where a team might give up a modest asset to add him to its frontcourt for playoff depth.

Ben Gulker: I wouldn’t think he’s at the top of the list, but certainly Joe Dumars would move him if given the right opportunity. However, with Charlie Villanueva emerging as a prime candidate for the amnesty clause and Ben Wallace retiring at the end of the season, moving Maxiell would create an even bigger hole in an already too-thin frontcourt rotation.

2. How motivated are other teams to trade for Jason Maxiell?

Dan Feldman: Teams could always use another big man, Maxiell has probably passed the point of being overpaid. But owed $5 million next year, he’s definitely not a big value. In this economy, the luxury-tax hit for teams looking at Maxiell might be too much to bear.

Patrick Hayes: It depends whether they’ve noticed what he’s done this season. Maxiell is coming off of two straight years of decline, something he admitted was his own fault for not keeping himself in shape. If other teams remember that Maxiell, rather than the solid rotation player he’s been this season, his market won’t be as strong. If teams have noticed what a motivated and in-shape Maxiell can bring to the table, there might be some interest.

Ben Gulker: After a very disappointing 2010-2011 season, Maxiell is playing like a rotation-caliber big once again this season. Assuming his production holds up, he’s not absurdly overpaid, and he’s a relatively short-term commitment even after he picks up his player option this summer.The problem is that Detroit wants young talent (especially young bigs), draft picks, and/or substantial salary relief coming back. I’m not convinced many teams are tempted enough by Maxiell’s recent resurgence to part with those types of assets.

3. How likely are the Pistons to trade Jason Maxiell?

Dan Feldman: I think Maxiell is one of the Pistons most likely to be traded. He would be serviceable to a contender right now, and the Pistons probably wouldn’t hate getting out of his contract. The biggest hangup is that Maxiell’s move into the starting lineup has help Lawrence Frank set a rotation that puts Detroit’s young players in the best position to succeed and grow. Would the Pistons risk messing that up?

Patrick Hayes: Not very. If the Pistons could get assets for him, they would trade him in a heartbeat. But if they can’t, they can simply keep him and hope to improve the quality of the non-Greg Monroe frontcourt position through the draft while keeping Maxiell as a capable, veteran backup.

Ben Gulker: Unlikely, but not impossible. Even though the Pistons are likely to add at least one more big man through the draft, they will need a player of Maxiell’s caliber to round out their frontcourt rotation – Monroe, Jerebko, and this summer’s lottery pick isn’t getting it done on its own (assuming Villanueva is amnestied). Perhaps they could add a veteran big via free agency or get lucky in the lottery, but that’s no guarantee. Maxiell is a known quality at a known cost playing an important role for this team. Moving him without a viable replacement may do more harm than good.


  • Mar 14, 20126:25 pm
    by frankie d


    trading maxiell is exactly the type of strategic trade that joe d never makes.
    i’d be shocked if he did it, but it would make so much sense that is should be a no-brainer.
    the most negative aspect noted above – that it would blow a hole in the line up – is one of the best aspects.
    they could scramble to fill the hole – play jj and macklin and ben w. at the spot – and let the chips fall where they may.
    if macklin turns out to be a player, great.  if not, at least you know what you have in him.
    if the team loses a bunch more games due to max’s absence, great.  more ping pong balls and a better draft spot.
    and you could probably get a late first/early second for him.  if you’ve taken a look at the draft lists, you can see that there is a lot of available talent.  you could snare a cheap, young prospect with a pick gained in a maxiell trade.
    there is no downside to trading him.
    if you keep him, you’re only going to be trying to find a player like him to replace him.  why not be proactive and start the process right now.
    as i’ve noted, instead of trading younger players you need to find out about, players who are at the lowest level of their value, joe should be trading guys like max, who are at the height of their market value. 
    he’ll never bring as much in a trade as he will now.

  • Mar 14, 20127:19 pm
    by Pistons87


    A decent, reasonably priced rotation big still in his prime with one more year on his contract. Unless you can pawn off a bad contract or get a late first rounder you don’t trade maxiell, especially for a second round pick (and yes I have read and agree with Patrick on the value of second round picks, but a second round pick that turns into what maxiell is now is a GMs wet dream).

    Doing a trade to do a trade is ridiculous. You need equivalent or better value in return. I’d take a second rounder for Daye but at this point maxiell is so much more valuable its not even close. Even going forward I’d take a tough big man that understands what being a piston means over a mentally fragile physically weak SF with “upside” any day. GMs that don’t are doomed should apply for a job with the warriors.

    • Mar 14, 20129:40 pm
      by tarsier


      But assuming a player is amnestied, the Pistons will be under the cap. And you can easily get another player who brings to the table all Max does for the same price in free agency if that is the direction you choose to go. And then you’ve got a pick in addition.

      • Mar 14, 201210:12 pm
        by Pistons87


        I see your logic and assuming BG amnestithized you could replace maxiell. I’d still very careful, you’ll still have to take back salary in the trade. As long as no long term money is tied up it may benefit us.

  • Mar 14, 20128:17 pm
    by frankie d


    looks like the lakers, wolves and blazers pulled off a trade.
    the trade supposedly is:
    beasley to the lakers, blake to the blazers and crawford to the wolves.
    crawford warmed up, but then did not – and has not – suited up for the knicks game this afternoon.

  • Mar 14, 20128:21 pm
    by frankie d


    i would expect to get at least a late first rounder for max.
    this year’s draft, however, i might consider an early – up to the 35th pick, for instance second rounder for him, especially if i might be able to get, say two second rounders for him.  this year’s draft is going to be so deep, guys that would have been picked in the lottery are going to be picked in the 25, 26, 27 pick range.
    i am not advocating just trading max for the sake of trading him.  not by any means.  but if i can get a first rounder for him, or an early second and another second in the future, this year i’d do it.
    the draft is that strong.

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