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What everyone else is saying about the Prince-Calderon deal

It’s nearly been 24 hours since the three-team trade that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Grizzlies, while Rudy Gay was sent to the Raptors and Jose Calderon to the Pistons. Whether you’re sad to see Prince — the last remaining piece from the 2004 title team — or excited to see him get out of dodge, the common feeling among fans seems to be that it was a good decision.

That’s a sentiment that seems to be shared by many in the national media, too.

Ken Berger at CBS Sports sees the potential for more trades this season. It’s been noted here and elsewhere that while Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are both potential free agents, the prospects of them actually testing the market and giving the Pistons a serious look are about as likely as, well, fans realistically thinking that either of those guys would even consider the Pistons.

The Pistons get off of Prince’s contract, which had two years and $15 million left, plus they get a short-term mentor in Calderon for Brandon Knight. Calderon’s $10.6 million expires after the season, giving the Pistons $26.5 million in expiring contracts this summer. Again, with a lean free-agent class after Chris Paul and Dwight Howard (both presumed to be staying in L.A.), the Pistons might find it more advantageous to move those contracts between now and Feb. 21 rather than wait and overpay marginal free agents. (They’ve already tried that with Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, and we all know how that went.)

Grantland’s Zach Lowe see’s it as a step in the right direction, though he hints at the Charlie Villanueva/Ben Gordon free agent splurge as a caution for this summer. He does bring up the intriguing idea of keeping Calderon around after this season if the two can come to an agreement on a reasonable contract, which would be very advantageous if Calderon thrives in these final 12 weeks.

Speaking of lottery appearances! This is the easy part: Detroit dumped a long-term salary (Prince) for a point guard who can help the rest of this season, and opened up even more cap room — and playing time — in the process. Detroit is now set to have something like $22 million in cap room this summer for any kind of max offer. The free agency market is power-forward–heavy, which means it’s not exactly teeming with the kind of player the Pistons need — a wing, any wing — but it’s always nice to have some flexibility. They have enough, in fact, that it’s not out of the realm of possibility they keep Calderon if they can settle at the right number. Brandon Knight is probably better off spending at least some time off the ball for now. Just be careful this summer, Joe Dumars.

Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver grade the trade for each team, giving the Pistons a solid A, while giving the Raptors a C- and Memphis a B+ grade. He touches on the money side of things for Detroit and how this is officially Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knights’ team now.

In all seriousness, this trade solves two key issues facing Pistons president Joe Dumars. First, his rebuilding plan around a core that includes Drummond, Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight was/is being hampered by the presence of veterans such as Prince, Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey. Prince’s deal represented the biggest future salary commitment, as it runs through 2014-15 and will pay him $7.2 million next season and $7.7 million in its final year. That deal isn’t enough to drown you, but it’s enough to create some serious drag. Getting rid of it is addition by subtraction.

Oh, and like everyone else on the planet Earth, Golliver notes Dumars’ poor decision making in his last swim in the free agent pool.

It must be said: Don’t go too far overboard congratulating Dumars for undoing his own mistake with the Prince signing. Big-picture, he’s still treading water, at best, until we see how he exploits his newfound flexibility this summer.

ESPN’s Henry Abbott didn’t touch a whole lot on the Pistons’ side of things, but he’s right, Jose Calderon has always been a good NBA point guard. If you really want to get excited about what Calderon’s done in the past, go back and look at his historically efficient season in 2007-08 (he’s currently in the midst of his best season since).

It has always amazed me that more teams don’t want Jose Calderon. He’s good — in fact he has the highest player efficiency rating of any player in this trade. He would help any team.

Abbott makes an interesting point on Prince in Memphis, too. In terms of being rock-steady over the last nine seasons, there aren’t many guys who can stand up with Prince’s consistency, and going to a contending team with some really talented players taking pressure off of him, a change of scenery could be the best thing to happen to Prince since he happily waved bye-bye to John Kuester with two hands.

The first six seasons of Tayshaun Prince’s decade-plus in Detroit were incredibly exciting: Scoring monster buckets as a rookie in the playoffs, making key plays at both ends in one exciting playoff series after another, and even winning a title. The past four-and-a-half seasons, though, have been dismal. Michael Curry replaced Flip Saunders, and there were grumbles. John Kuester replaced Curry, and there was open mutiny. A contender was rebuilt around Rodney Stuckey & Co., with one title teammate of Prince’s after another shipped off or let go. Meanwhile, Detroit posted zero playoff wins in a half-decade. And through it all, Prince is a gamer. He has played long minutes and he has not mailed them in. He’s not the player he once was, but one coach after another has discovered he’s impossible to keep on the bench, even at 32.

While the playoffs are a fickle subject, depending on who you talk to, NBC Sports D.J. Foster notes that the addition of Calderon could help to seriously push the Pistons into playoff contention — led by Monroe and Drummond.

Giving Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond a taste of what it’s like to play with a real point guard will likely keep them happy for a few months, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Detroit makes a late push for the 8-seed. Regardless of that though, this trade sets Detroit up nicely going forward.

21 Comments

  • Jan 31, 20135:06 pm
    by Maeby

    Reply

    What is the best possible scenario regarding our 1st round pick being sent to Charlotte? Would making the playoffs this year, and sending it to them now, be the best option, rather than in the future where it’s less protected? This does seem to be a weaker draft class, as well.

    • Jan 31, 20135:55 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      The level of protection is less relevant than where the pick will actually be. I expect the Pistons will finish higher in the standings next season than this. So even if the pick is less protected, it will be a worse pick.

  • Jan 31, 20135:09 pm
    by Maeby

    Reply

    P.S. I like what Berger said. A lot. I am deathly afraid of a Joe D armed with serious cap space looking to spend, especially in an offseason class such as this upcoming one. NBA free agency is horribly inefficient when you’re talking sub-superstar level.

    • Jan 31, 20138:00 pm
      by Desolation Row

      Reply

      I like to think Joe D would have learned from his blunder. Let’s be honest — we’ve all had jobs/responsibilities and somehow managed to screw something up. Does that necessarily mean we’re forever doomed to fail? Is prior failure always even a bad thing? 

      I’m not saying Joe D “is back” or is going to be a full return to 2003-04 form. But I’m fairly skeptical he’ll lay an egg like he did in 2009. And if he does, it’s not just a Dumars thing. It’s an institutional problem — one person should not have unmitigated power to repeat disaster.  

  • Jan 31, 20135:12 pm
    by Evan

    Reply

    So in conclusion, it’s only a good trade if Dumars doesn’t blow all the extra cap space on bad players again.

    What are we setting the odds at?

    Hopefully Calderon enjoys his time in Detroit and wants to return after the season. It should be painfully obvious to Dumars by now that Knight is a combo guard at best, and appears ready to blossom at SG.

    • Jan 31, 20135:55 pm
      by Big Rick

      Reply

      Absolutely! I think Dumars is on the road of redemption with his latest coup of Calderon. But I think we will make a few more deals and put most of our cap space to use that way (trades) and it probably wont occur til the offseaon. Not too many big name free agents with the potential to leave their current homes. Money talks so you never know. It seems unlikely we could sway CP3 away from Los Angeles, and with the emergence of Drummond would we even want D12? Of the top of my head I’m thinking maybe a Milsapp, Hickson, O.J or maybe Tyreke Evans.
      I see us getting a few more complimentary pieces in FA but a big marquee Superstar or All-Star we would have to trade maybe in a similar way that Toronto got Gay. We got $$$ so we have options. Kudos to Joe.

      Good time to be a Piston fan…….

      “WE GON SHOCK DA WORLD!”
                                             Roscoe

  • Jan 31, 20135:50 pm
    by Lorenzo

    Reply

    Calderon is solid on the offensive end but he is disastrous on defense, that shouldn’t be overlooked. Still a solid trade, but there is a reason he wasn’t more pursued over the years, defending being one of them.

    • Jan 31, 201311:27 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      maybe.
      sometimes point guards of a certain sort get overlooked.
      look at andre miller.
      every team that ever has had him has always undervalued him and once he is gone they always wish they had had a greater appreciation of his skills.
      as a portland fan, i see that pretty dramatically.
      at least until damon lilliard came on board.
      i think calderon is in the same category.
      gms, like dumars, just never fully appreciate guys like miller.  or calderon. 

      • Jan 31, 201311:48 pm
        by Lorenzo

        Reply

        I agree. Miller is a good example, guy was a fantastic distributor and perimeter defender….his achilles heel was his shooting. In the right system guys can excel…Steve Nash being a prime example…Calderon is going to a team and coach who professes defense first. Bad combination? Maybe going to far, though no slam dunk either (basketball wise).  Again not saying I don’t like the trade, I do, but Calderon has his blemishes. 

  • Jan 31, 20135:56 pm
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    True to a degree but the PROS outweigh the CONS by far.

  • Jan 31, 20136:43 pm
    by Nine_Fat_Stalks

    Reply

    Both Joe D and Langlois have been saying it’s far more likelier that they use their capspace in trades and not free agency, though obviously they’ll keep all options open. Read Langlois’ latest mailbag for proof.

  • Jan 31, 20136:47 pm
    by Detroit P

    Reply

    I’ve always had faith in Joey d he’s not gonna blow this fa.  I’d love to get josh and few compliments lets the youth become superstars.  Dres gotta start now right?

  • Jan 31, 20136:53 pm
    by WarriorofCloud

    Reply

    I rather we miss the playoffs this year, then make them, next year to screw charlotte. But again, Joe needs to understand he shouldn’t be trading picks, 1st or 2nd round. He needs to somehow get some trade value out of corey magette, and if nobody trades for villanueva at the deadline, we need to amnesty him. Yeah we’d be short a few players, but I hope Stuckey, Villanueva, Maggette are gone by the deadline. Stuckey holds some value, if you combine Stuckey with Villanueva, someone will bite. Because next season Villanueva is entering his final year. But I hate if Joe keeps Villanueva for his final contract year then trades him, I’d hate that. If anything Joe and Tom Gores, need to build through the draft and sabermetrics. We need to find bad deals (NeNe in Washington, offer them Stuckey for NeNe, but you get washington’s first overall pick unprotected this year), then you amnesty NeNe. And you get a high lottery pick free, I think they’d like John Wall with Rodney Stuckey. We need to find a way to stockpile high picks in every draft, not trade them away.
     

    • Jan 31, 20137:57 pm
      by Desolation Row

      Reply

      Huh? How would you amnesty Nene? Not do-able under the CBA — it can only be a player who was on the team at the time of the CBA and under the same contract as when the CBA was signed. So that’s out. Also, I highly doubt they’d want to trade Nene for Stuckey straight-up, let alone offer a 1st round lottery pick. Overrating Stuckey’s value.

      CV has more trade value next year than this year, so I wouldn’t write that off just yet. If we don’t need the cap room this summer, I could easily see the Pistons holding onto him until next season’s trade deadline and then moving him for a team looking to unload a long contract.

      Agreed on the sabermetrics; we live in the age of Big Data. You have to be on par with the competition — less is not more when you’re talking about information; especially when competing for the same talent. 

  • Jan 31, 20138:20 pm
    by Life on mars

    Reply

    as mentioned- you can’t completely judge the trade based on today only. A lot will depend on the on court impact of Calderon, as well us the subsequent offseason manat this trade facilitates.

    my initial impressions are good though. Having a PG will be a big plus. Losing prince is a minus for this season- but at least from a basketball point of view he might fit better in Memphis right now.

    What happens next?  

  • Jan 31, 20138:28 pm
    by swish22

    Reply

    A move in the right direction for sure. Stuckey keeps launching from long range making me wonder why hasn’t anybody on the staff informed him he sucks from three point land and tell him NO MORE unless the 24 is running out.. He needs to go along with Millions Villanueva. CV had a couple good games but I just want to turn off the game when he enters. Stuckey still likely has some trade value but he has been just awful this year. Number one reason we went o for the first two weeks. They both should wear red capes. No not supermen. They should be saying ole’as the opponent drives by!

  • Jan 31, 201310:24 pm
    by Jay

    Reply

    Anyone know when Calderon starts playing for us? 

    • Jan 31, 201310:57 pm
      by sloppy joe

      Reply

      next game i assume

  • Jan 31, 201311:05 pm
    by Jim

    Reply

    I think this trade shows resigning Prince was a good idea.  What was the damage?  Who did we miss out on by resigning him?  The fact that Memphis wanted him proves Prince was an asset that could have been lost for nothing.  Now we’ve acquired a more appropriate asset by moving him.

  • Jan 31, 201311:08 pm
    by Bob

    Reply

    I read your site often and it’s great. Good job. Wish you’d change the colors though. Just MHO.

    Thanks for what you do here. 

    • Jan 31, 201311:26 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Bob, try this: http://www.pistonpowered.com/2011/06/add-us-to-your-adblock-whitelist/

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