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Charlie Villanueva would like to be playing more

On Monday, Dan Feldman noted that Pistons trainer Arnie Kander praised Charlie Villanueva for how hard he has worked to recover from his ankle injury that sidelined him early in the season. Dan also wrote the following:

A hard-working, in-shape, self-motivated Charlie Villanueva deserves to play. Villanueva has immense talent, and most of his problems have appeared to stem from attitude. If that’s solved, even temporarily, it doesn’t make sense to keep sitting him.

I mostly agree with that. If the Pistons haven’t decided that they are using the amnesty clause on Villanueva in the offseason — and there have been no reports from the team that suggest they will use it on Villanueva or anyone — then it would make sense for them to give him occasional minutes in the hopes that he can either contribute  or restore some semblance trade value that has been obliterated over his three seasons with the Pistons.

Via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, Lawrence Frank acknowledges that Villanueva has been doing what is asked of him behind the scenes:

“Look, it’s not a knock on Charlie,” Frank said after Monday’s practice. “Charlie is working hard and doing what we’re asking, but my thing is Greg, Max, Jonas, Body (Wallace) — you know they are all doing basically what we’re asking. In order to put Charlie in there, one of those guys has to sit.”

Complicating things, Goodwill also reported this:

A few of his teammates have privately noted how hard he’s worked in rehab, hoping he’d get a chance before season’s end.

Frank is in a tough situation here. Barring the amnesty, Villanueva probably isn’t going anywhere for a while because his contract is large, his production is small and now he’s possibly been affixed with the injury prone label. He also clearly doesn’t fit the defense-first system that Frank wants to run. But if he’s working hard and has the talent to help, and if players on the team see that and Villanueva still isn’t getting minutes, it might hurt some of the trust Frank has worked to rebuild this season.

If Villanueva is off the roster in the offseason than the issue of his playing time right now is irrelevant. But if the Pistons keep him, not finding minutes for him as this season winds down might be a mistake.


  • Apr 4, 20129:22 am
    by Jodi Jezz


    Why are people saying that we are going to use the amnesty clause on Charlie V when we could just trade him?? Charlie V is a 6’11 stretch 4, plenty of teams wouldn’t mind having that talent on there team…In addition, 8mil a year isn’t that expensive for a stretch 4…Just look at Lamar Odom’s contract who was easily traded and Charlie V shots a better 3pt% than him…

    • Apr 4, 20129:53 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Odom’s contract was an expiring deal, Villanueva has two years left. On top of that, Odom averaged a double-double for a championship contender last season. Villanueva has never sniffed a double figures rebounding average. Plus, he’s played 15 minutes this year because of a mysterious ankle injury that may or may not need surgery in the future. Those things all make him very difficult to trade.

    • Apr 4, 201212:34 pm
      by tarsier


      An $8M/yr player who only contributes on the offensive end and has been a below average offensive player for years, yeah of course that player will be easy to trade. Do you honestly believe what you are saying? Or are you just trying to get responses?

      • Apr 4, 20126:07 pm
        by Jodi Jezz


        If you know about basketball you would understand what I’m saying…Charlie is 26 or 27yrs old, he’s a 6’11 stretch 4, and he’s offensively talented…If Charlie V was traded to the Magic, Knicks, or Suns you would probably become a big time fan because his talents would really show…8mil a yr isn’t that bad at all and I believe Dumars could trade him if he wanted to!..Some people,”like you tarsier”, look at Gordon and CV and don’t take in account that they’ve played the lowest minutes of there career here plus we didn’t have a good COACH(Kuester) to make our team play to Gordon and CV’s strength…You have to know the game first before you start to judge players…

  • Apr 4, 20129:51 am
    by John


    I wouldn’t compare Charlie V to Lamar Odom given his championships and versatility, but I agree, he should be reasonably easy to trade with 2 years left on his contract.  A stretch 4 with his shot is worth 3.5-4 million, even when teams are not spending money.  There are only 21 forwards in the league making better than 35% of their 3 pointers, so there are teams that need that, the Pistons being one of them.  Frank likes his defense though, so Charlie V needs to step it up there if he wants to get on the floor.

  • Apr 4, 201211:17 am
    by Marvin Jones


    I don’t think getting him minutes should be a huge problem, I know Wilkins is playing ok by Frank’s standards, but Moving JJ to the backup 3 and let CV backup Max with Wilkins being used for situational matchups should be doable. And with everyone seeing how hard Charlie has worked it would go right along with Frank’s creed to reward hard work so the team as a whole would have no problem with it.  

  • Apr 4, 201212:02 pm
    by domnick


    he didnt work hard last 2 seasons… now he is asking for some worth… which is not the good time as our team has been playing so well… i wouldnt think about the trust he had with Frank but he is not really the guy we need right now…
    if he wants to play then he has to show some worth… fitting into our defensive plays… show some improvement…

  • Apr 4, 201212:04 pm
    by RalphHau


    Look, the Pistons are 71/2 games behind the last spot in the East with 13 games left in the season.  I don’t say to “Tank” the remainder of the season, however, I do say to play Charlie V and Vernon M so see what you have.  I would hate to get rid of these players only for them to go to another team and flourish.  We already know what we have in TPrince and BWalace, and Wilkins, our season is OVER use this time to experiment for next year and the draft!!!!!!

  • Apr 4, 20121:00 pm
    by frankie d


    there is always some team out there who will take a big guy who can shoot.
    tim thomas is one of the better examples of CV-like players who always find a spot on a roster somewhere.
    now, steve novak is a very similar player.  novak may be a more consistent shooter from deep, but CV can get on those streaks and knock them down as well as novak.
    two problems arise for CV: his contract and the system.
    imho, if a team with the right system is convinced that CV can still knock down 3 pointers, the contract may be something they can swallow.  when CV was signed. lots of observers thought his contract was fair value for a big guy with his skillset.  (i disagreed with that view, but it is not an view that is totally crazy.)  a system like d’antoni’s or orlando’s or phoenix’s could be just the tonic to right CV’s career.
    so, as i’ve noted before, the team should do what it can do to try to show teams that he can play.  showcasing talent before you trade it is a strategy that every team uses.  i’d hope that the pistons were smart enough to do that with CV.
    the idea of just letting 7-8 million dollars of talent and salary rot on the bench make absolutely no sense, except on a silly, emotional level.

  • Apr 4, 20122:34 pm
    by vic


    this is where team building rather than talent grabbing becomes critical.  if he plays the ‘stretch 4′ you dont have rebounding. If he plays the 3, his natiral position, you dont have good perimeter defense. on a defense first team, its a lose lose. on an offense first team, you lose anyway. This is Joe’s problem not Lawrences. Joe signed players that dont fit, because he thought the game was changing. Thats why we had about  8 small forwards. The money doesnt matter, thats Joe/Gores problem. Franks job is to win. If CV decides to play a post game and grab crazy rebounds, then he has a role.

    • Apr 4, 20123:43 pm
      by apa8ren9


      That is correct vic.  CV has to fit in.  If he cannot tailor his game to fit the direction that the team is currently in then at the end of the season Joe will need to deal him if possible.  I dont think that the playing time is as big of an issue and you have to “showcase” CV.   He has been in the league for a number of years and people know what he can do.  Any team that wants to take him is going to have the attitude that they can turn him around and make him productive.  So you dont need to disrupt the good chemistry that we have right now in our development to shoe horn him in.  Its not a requirement that he plays.

  • Apr 4, 20122:53 pm
    by frankie d


    yes, frank’s job is to win, but good organizations take a longer term view of matters.
    and the money does matter.  it is silly to say that the money does not matter.
    if this was major league baseball that would be a true statement.  but in a league where there is a salary cap and on a team where the owners have historically refused to spend beyond a certain level, yes, the money does matter.  his 7-8 million dollars represents a big chunk out of the team’s salary cap.  add that to the 5.5 million the team is paying rip and you have about 1/5 of your salary cap eaten up by non-contributing players.  if you simply bury him and act as though he doesn’t exist.
    is it possible to overcome that problem?  of course it is, but it is difficult.
    it is the job of the GM and the coach to come up with some sort of resolution of the problem.  perhaps it is impossible.  but burying a guy and playing him for 15 minutes all year is not a way to make a reasonable determination about his capabilities.
    this is exactly what i refer to when i talk about a bobby knight approach to coaching basketball.  this is exactly what bobby knight would do, and that rigid, stubborn, knight-like refusal to attempt to find some way around the issues CV presents, ultimately hurts the team.

    • Apr 4, 20125:16 pm
      by apa8ren9


      Well Frankie, I believe now that there is some stability in the owners office that the longer term view is in place.  We have not seen the knee jerk reactions that we constantly ridicule on this board.   As I stated in a post earlier, playing CV is not a requirement to deal him.  Your point about determining his capabilities doesnt work because we all know what he can do. You’ve posted yourself what he can do.
      If he can do something differently at this point in his career it would be the defense and rebounding and he would be playing.  So since he isnt playing, then is safe to say that his defense and rebounding is not above the level of the players he is sitting behind because like it or not that is the standard now.  He is an asset and you always want to maximize the asset, but that does not apply in this case because he is what he is and that isnt going to get you a lottery pick as some dream of.
      To your other point.   The “bobby knight” approach that you describe does not hurt the team as evidenced by the 16-13 record over the last 29 games (I hope that is a large enough sample size for you) shows the improvement of the team, all done with out CV. So it really doesnt hurt the team as the record shows.

  • Apr 4, 20123:12 pm
    by Max


    I think the Pistons will be able to trade CV by next year’s mid-season trade deadline.   At that point, any team that knows it will not be able to get under the cap during the upcoming summer will have nothing to lose by taking on his salary, and his contract will become a valuable expiring contract the following summer.    He is injury prone, so the worst scenario would be him getting hurt again this season.  The Pistons are far more likely to find a good trade for him if they give him some limited minutes next season and keep him as healthy  as possible for the ensuing trade.
    I agree with the opinion that his contract shouldn’t be that difficult to move since worse contracts are traded every year.   The real problem though is that unless he is packaged, no one would be willing to give the Pistons anything they considered valuable in return.

    • Apr 4, 20123:49 pm
      by apa8ren9


      I agree Max, but what about this, what will be the responses if we trade him for peanuts which has been all he has been worth while he was here?  Will it be we could have done better or good riddance?  No matter the outcome will Joe get credit for correcting a mistake, or still continue to get blame for signing him in the first place?  Either way I believe that a healthy CV at this point is incapable of coming back to haunt us as a player on another team.  So it will be addition by subtraction for the Pistons.

  • Apr 4, 20125:48 pm
    by frankie d


    “…playing CV is not a requirement to deal him. ”
    good to know that you, by dictatorial fiat, are capable of changing the general practice that nba teams have followed…since the league’s inception.
    it is rare, if it ever happens, that any team will trade for a player without seeing that he is capable of playing.  especially a player who has been injured.  so the typical practice of nba teams is to put a player on the court, if they are trying to move him, if only to show other teams that he is physically capable of doing the things they imagine he can do.
    good to know that you have the omnipotence to simply declare that this perfectly reasonable practice shall not be needed for CV.
    “The “bobby knight” approach that you describe does not hurt the team as evidenced by the 16-13 record over the last 29 games (I hope that is a large enough sample size for you) shows the improvement of the team, all done with out CV. So it really doesnt hurt the team as the record shows.”
    a barely above .500 record for 30 games? with almost all of those wins coming against other sub-500 teams?  and that record is supposedly evidence of a great, successful season?
    point conceded.  detroit has moved ahead, imho, of charlotte and washington and new jersey and they are approaching mediocrity.  and if mediocrity is what makes you feel good about the pistons, god bless.  i’d hope for more than mediocrity.
    20-33.  enough said….

    • Apr 4, 20126:50 pm
      by apa8ren9


      Im glad that you think so highly of my statement,  without stating that it was wrong or inaccurate. I didnt even know  what type of influence I had over the league.  I’ll view that as a point for me.  One more thing on that, a perfectly reasonable practice does not equal the only practice.
      In addition I did not say or imply that they were mediocre, in mediocrity, approaching mediocrity or anything like that.  I said it the same as you copied it.  The “bobby knight” approach as you described it has contributed to improvement in the Pistons. It has not hurt the team.  The record is not evidence of a successful season, it is an indication of improvement over the 4-20 sample to start the season that indicated that they were worse than the teams that you listed.
      What I am happy about, giddy even– is that they are improving, competitive and playing a style of basketball under a “bobby knight” coach as you describe that will win even more games as they get better players than CV.

      • Apr 4, 20127:19 pm
        by frankie d


        as is typical, you cherrypick words and forget important qualifiers. what i said was this: that rigid, stubborn, knight-like refusal to attempt to find some way around the issues CV presents, ultimately hurts the team. ultimately…ultimately…ultimately…. comprendez? ultimately, the knight-like method hurts the team. that means that in the short term he is might be somewhat successful – as happened in NJ – but in the long term – ultimately, his rigidity hurts a franchise. my own view is that he is a coach who will at best reach a plateau at mediocrity…somewhere a bit above .500, and a first round playoff exit in his best seasons. and i am sorry, but a 20-33 season, which is a winning percentage barely above last year, when you have another lottery pick and monroe taking his game to another level is nothing to be so darn proud of. it just goes to show how low the expectations of the fans are…that they would be happy about a freaking 20-33 record after the team had almost the exact same winning percentage last year. if he’s such a freaking good coach, i’d expect a heck of a lot more. rigid, predictable coaches will often take a

        • Apr 4, 20128:48 pm
          by apa8ren9


          I dont believe that I missed any important qualifiers in your statement. I believe I disagreed with them and explained why.
          I am very happy with the improvement that the Pistons have made over the last 29 games compared to the first 24.  I am also excited that with another lottery pick and an improving Greg Monroe we can look to additional improvement.  Ultimately neither one of us knows for sure what is going to happen, we are giving our opinions that differ.  Ultimately if you start to compile a winning record and the team shows improvement defensively it leads to winning games.(without CV I might add) Then ultimately it will show we are trending towards becoming a good team with a winning record over the course of an entire season and that will ultimately become the barometer by which the “bobby night”  coach/method as you described is measured.  See ultimately when you start winning, then matters like CV playing time ultimately become unimportant.

          • Apr 4, 20129:15 pm
            by frankie d

            “I believe I disagreed with them and explained why.”
            how can you disagree – or agree for that matter – about a contingency that has not even occurred yet?
            hmmm…on the one hand, you say that you disagree…then you state that no one knows what will happen?
            which is it?
            do you have a crystal ball?  can you look into the future to see what will ULTIMATELY happen?
            pray tell…what is the next big lottery number?
            who is going to win the presidency?
            should i put 10.000 bucks on the heat to win the title?
            my point is that ultimately certain events will happen.  but we have to go through a process first, in order to see those things happen.  we’ll see who is right or wrong, at the end of frank’s time as coach of the team.  (or maybe before.  but not until a lot more time and a lot more games have gone by.  maybe by the end of next year we’ll have a much better idea about his success or failure.  but that is not guaranteed by any stretch.)

          • Apr 4, 20129:49 pm
            by apa8ren9

            You are better than this Frankie, or maybe I’m ultimately convincing myself that you are.

            “ultimately, the knight-like method hurts the team. that means that in the short term he is might be somewhat successful – as happened in NJ – but in the long term – ultimately, his rigidity hurts a franchise.” That is what you wrote, this is a definitive statement made by you.  I disagreed with that and gave my opinion.
            what i said was this: that rigid, stubborn, knight-like refusal to attempt to find some way around the issues CV presents, ultimately hurts the team”. This is the other definitive statement that you wrote, I disagreed with this as well and gave my opinion.
            “do you have a crystal ball?  can you look into the future to see what will ULTIMATELY happen? You wrote this Frankie.  You know that I already addressed this particular point  I said “Ultimately neither one of us knows for sure what is going to happen, we are giving our opinions that differ.”
            This one was the most egregious Frankie.  The entire statement in context was  “I dont believe that I missed any important qualifiers in your statement. I believe I disagreed with them and explained why”. And you actually accused me of cherry picking words.  Lets get at it tomorrow dude.  Have a nice night in the Great Northwest.

  • Apr 4, 20127:54 pm
    by frankie d


    team to a certain level.
    but the guys like larry brown and  riley and daly and jackson and popovich occupy a different level of the coaching fraternity.  i think rick carlisle is getting more flexible in his old age.  and you won’t find a single bobby knight protoge among the bunch.  there is a reason for that, and it has to do with maintaining a level of flexibility in dealing with players and circumstances that the bobby knight guys just don’t have.

  • Apr 4, 20129:41 pm
    by frankie d


    one last thing about CV before i go out to watch the blazers play NJ tonight.  i just want to see deron williams play.
    i don’t like CV and hate having to defend him at all.  but i just think it’s really a bad organizational move to ignore a guy who is eating up such a large part of the team’s salary cap.  so if he can’t play, do what you need to do to try to get rid of his sorry a@@.  and that means showcasing him – regardless of what you say – so teams can at least see that he is physically capable.
    my guess is that frank doesn’t want to do that, and i don’t blame him on a certain level.
    CV sucks.  he’s an embarrassment to detroit pistons’ fans.  and i imagine, the coach feels the same way about him.  but sometimes the coach has to look at the longer term interests of the team and those interests probably lay in showcasing him so someone, anyone will take him off the pistons’ hands.
    my guess is that frank is resisting doing that, and will resist it to his dying breath.  instead of figuring out someway somehow that he could feed him 10 minutes or so a game till the end of the season, he’s saying screw that, if CV can’t do what we want/expect he aint playing.
    imho, that is an example of that rigidity, the stubborness that a bobby knight would show.  (and he’s shown that tendency in other ways, imho, most notably with daye.)
    how about this: put in a simple zone defense that CV can fit into, bring it out almost solely for CV and see what happens.  i know it is late in the year and it probably wouldn’t be a very good one, but who cares.  it’ll just be a gimmick to get CV out on the floor and get him some shots and hopefully, he won’t be exposed too badly in a zone.
    in fact, i could see an interesting lineup: monroe, surrounded by CV, daye, gordon and knight.
    sort of like orlando’s offense, but better because monroe is an actual offensive threat.  and you’d have 4 legit 3 point shooters surrounding him.  somebody would get some open shots and somebody would probably get hot.  it would be an interesting second unit to experiment with.  the team needs scoring and you could probably get some points out of that lineup.  and you could play those guys in a soft, sagging zone, and hopefully the opponent wouldn’t be too hot from the outside.
    last point: do something different, something unusual, if necessary in order to get CV out there…so ultimately we can get rid of the bum.

  • Apr 6, 201212:47 am
    by matt


    guys… let me settle the dust here. he gets amnestied in the off season and every problem goes away. The amnesty was designed with guys like Charlie Villanueva in mind. imo

  • Apr 6, 20129:15 pm
    by warriorofcloud777


    All we could get for CharlieV is josh childress from the suns $6mil a year three more years, CharlieV is $7.5a year two more years. I don’t see childress becoming any sort of superstar. Its not like they would trade CharlieV for Frye or Gortat, they are way to valuable. If we trade CV to the magic it would be for Hedo Turkoglu age 33 and $11,015,850m a year for two more years. I’m more of a fan of amnesty or buying him out. I think we might be able to trade Ben Gorden to maybe boston, for a 1st or 2nd round pick (but we’d only do that if we’d want to go in the rebuilding route). But Joe needs to draft better, the 60th pick in the draft Isiah Thomas is a beast, haven’t seen Macklin play and Singler is doing well in Europe but still….Also if we traded Ben Gordon to a team that got a pick 21st or before we could have gotten Kenneth Faried, another beast. The pistons will cosistently be worse than average but not bad enough to get the first pick, unless we elect to rebuild. We should talk to the Magic and agree to buy out Rashard Lewis contract in agreement for their first overall pick….

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