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3-on-3: Trading Vernon Macklin

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 Kevin Sawyer of Detroit Bad Boys.

Please add your responses in the comment.

1. How motivated are the Pistons to trade Vernon Macklin?

Dan Feldman: If were talking to other teams, I probably wouldn’t even bring up Macklin. I’d figure, if another team were interested, it would mention Macklin. I don’t see how the Pistons can create a market for him during discussions as long as Macklin’s playing time remains stagnant.

Patrick Hayes: Not very. It’s not that they’d be unwilling to trade him, but it’s hard to think of any scenario where they would start calling teams about Macklin alone. Because of his contract and lack of stature in the league, Macklin is simply filler to make salaries match in the event of a bigger trade at this point.

Kevin Sawyer: I would guess they aren’t very motivated. The Pistons are in rebuilding mode, and I think Joe Dumars is content to wait and see what this group can do. Remember, conventional wisdom holds players don’t hit their peak until close to age 30, so management may well think this core will blossom into something special.

2. How motivated are other teams to trade for Vernon Macklin?

Dan Feldman: I would think not at all. Macklin is a 25-year-old rookie who can’t crack Lawrence Frank’s rotation. Many teams passed on him in the draft for a reason, and what’s happened since to change their impression?

Patrick Hayes: Again, not every. Most probably don’t even know who he is since Lawrence Frank refuses to give him anything more than garbage time minutes. I guess there could be a possibility that some GM out there is the world’s biggest Macklin fan and would do anything to get him for a future second-round pick or something, but I’d say the odds of that are pretty low.

Kevin Sawyer: Teams that employ metrics should be curious. He has been very effective in limited minutes by scoring very efficiently. Teams looking to pick up a rotation player for a playoff run will probably inquire. The question is whether they would be willing to provide value in return, given the vagaries of small sample size. A second rounder would be a lateral move at best, so they would probably have to provide a player. I’d bet some sharp GM is scrounging around his roster for a combo guard.

3. How likely are the Pistons to trade Vernon Macklin?

Dan Feldman: Minimum-salary players, like Macklin, can be very useful in trades. They count as outgoing salary for the team trading them but not incoming salary for the team acquiring them – at least in the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, and I’ve seen no evidence that has changed. I don’t see Macklin traded alone, but he could make a larger deal work.

Patrick Hayes: Unless the Pistons have something bigger in the works that would require multiple players to even out salaries, Macklin’s chances of getting traded are low.

Kevin Sawyer: Maybe 30 percent. He’ll at least get an offer of a second rounder, and Dumars has a history of piddling away talent for no reason. If someone offers an early-mid second-rounder, Dumars can say he essentially moved up in the draft.

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