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Joe Dumars has own section in Bill Simmons’ worst-NBA-contracts list

Bill Simmons of Grantland:

16. Rodney Stuckey: two years, $17 million12

15. Charlie Villaneuva: two years, $16.6 million

14. Ben Gordon: two years, $25.6 million

This section is sponsored by Joe Dumars Cap Space Cologne! That’s right, if you want to smell like someone just tipped you over inside a Porta Potty, try Joe Dumars Cap Space Cologne — you only have to spray it once, and then you can’t get away from the smell for three to five years!

Anyway, I wanted to mention a great NBA "What If?" that’s definitely getting added to my Book of Basketball if I ever write another edition. Recently, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Detroit nearly acquired Kobe Bryant for Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and a couple of no. 1 picks in the summer of 2007, before Buss and Kobe vetoed the trade together and gave the Kobe-Lakers relationship one more chance. Dumars kept his Pistons together for one last Eastern Conference finals run, then sent Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to Denver for Allen Iverson’s expiring contract, which ruined their 2009 season but gave them enough cap space to sign … wait for it … Villanueva and Gordon.

Had that Kobe trade gone through, the Pistons would have kept competing for titles, and Dumars would have been remembered as one of the great GMs of all time. Instead, he’s remembered for a variety of things: the 2004 title, Rip for Stack, Ben Wallace, the calamitous Darko pick, the Rasheed trade, the Monroe/Drummond picks, that awful Billups trade, those three ghastly signings … he’s all over the map. But one thing we’ve definitely learned: You don’t want to give him cap space. And he has it this summer. So look out, Pistons fans.

Last note: Villanueva has a player option for next season for $8.5 million. When asked if he was picking it up, Villanueva responded, "It’s obvious what I’m going to do. Would you let that money go?" Hey, high school seniors — it’s not too late to make that your yearbook quote.

12. His 2013 numbers: 27.9 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 3.4 APG, 39% FG, 26% 3FG. We’re nearing "Which Chinese team should he play for?" range.

I’m generally supportive of Joe Dumars and the job he has done, but he must own these mistakes. I didn’t like the Ben Gordon signing once his true salary was leaked, and a closer examination should have have revealed Charlie Villanueva’s production with the Bucks was misleading. Signing Rodney Stuckey was a neutral deal at best. These signings are a big reason the Pistons have not rebuilt faster.

So, Simmons’ points are correct, but I’m not overly worried about this summer (though definitely somewhat worried). Dumars appears to have corrected some of the mistakes that led to these bad signings, and those fixes have shown up in a smart trade and wise draft picks. The Pistons are more analytically focused and have an invested owner. There’s no guarantee Dumars will get this summer right, but Stuckey, Villanueva and Gordon aren’t enough to convince me he’ll get it wrong.

28 Comments

  • Mar 10, 201312:55 pm
    by lisa

    Reply

    Let’s hope Joe has learned from his mistakes, other wise he’ll be out of his job. 

  • Mar 10, 20131:18 pm
    by Ryank

    Reply

    Hind sight is always so clear!  I wish I could make a career of sitting back and calling out mistakes after they’re made…acting like I’m the smart one and all a team has to do is listen to me to be successful.
     
     

    • Mar 10, 201310:14 pm
      by Crispus

      Reply

      Sounds like you want Ron Jaworski’s job.
       

  • Mar 10, 20131:37 pm
    by Tiko

    Reply

    Mayo 4/48
    Millsap 3/30
    Billups 2/10 

    buyout Stuckey
    amnesty Charlie 

    faith restored 

    • Mar 10, 20131:47 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      That would be a phenomenal price for Millsap. He wouldn’t take such a deal, though. Some one will offer him well more. But if he were willing to take $10M/yr, lock him up for 5 seasons.

      And why do you want to ridiculously overpay Mayo and Billups? The salary numbers you propose for both of them are about 50% too high. It’s possible that someone might be stupid enough to make such an offer, but it better not be Dumars.

    • Mar 10, 20133:06 pm
      by Chris N

      Reply

      Mayo 4/48
      Millsap 3/30
      Billups 2/10 

      Billus for $5 million/ year?  I’m a big Chauncey fan but I don’t think that’s a wise signing.  He’s oft-injured and can’t guard too many folks on his best days now.  

      I don’t see Milsap signing a 3 year deal and don’t want the Pistons to sign him for 10 million for four years.  Especially if he’s likely coming off of the bench to start the season.

      Mayo @ $12 million/season is a tad bit high.  But it depends on whom else the Pistons acquire in the offseason.  

      As for amnestying Vilanueva, unless there’s a compelling reason to do so, they might as well hold on to him until there’s not a good reason to do so.  His money comes off of the books at the end of next season and he’s a serviceable big man that can shoot the three ball.  There’s value in that.

       Amnestying him just for the sake of amnestying him is a short-sighted move that doesn’t do much for the bottom line.  The Pistons would still be paying him his salary.  His contract wouldn’t count against the cap, but it would still count against the payroll ledger.  Better to keep him on the roster and potentially get use out of him than release him, still pay him and then have to find and pay someone to fill his spot.

      • Mar 10, 20133:35 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        What use would they get out of CV? Blocking minutes from guys who are more worth putting on the floor? Even if it’s a long shot project like Slava? Yeah, that’s a great plan.

        But more to the point, amnestying him just for the sake of doing so makes great sense because it greatly increases flexibility. Even if the cap space is unused, it opens up the Pistons for the possibility of midseason trades in which they take back significantly more salary than they send out. And taking on salary dumps is a great way to get spare assets on the cheap.

        And everyone would rather take nothing back in a salary dump than an expiring deal. But, on the off chance that the Pistons do need an expiring deal for some reason,t hey still have Stuckey.

        In summary, there’s a lot of time in which who knows what opportunities will present themselves. But there is a very narrow window in which the Pistons can get themselves out from under CV’s bad contract. He is providing zero value to the team. Paying him to go away is better than paying him to sit on the bench because it forces the coach’s hand to using other guys who at least have some long-term potential. And without Charlie counting against the cap, there is a better chance of getting something for nothing in trade.

        Do you still really want to hang on to Villanueva? 

        • Mar 10, 20135:19 pm
          by City of Klompton

          Reply

          Why not hang on to him? I think he becomes an asset next season for multiple reasons:

          1) As mentioned, he is a big body who can stretch the floor.  Not saying he’s going to come in and take over a game or be a cornerstone of the team, but like Chris said, there is value in that.  Especially if it’s coming off the bench.

          2) Next year is a contract year.  I would not be surprised to see CV’s numbers see a slight up-tick next season.  Probably nothing too dramatic, but I see CV as the kind of player who gets pretty motivated when it’s about time for somebody to start writing checks.  In turn, his value will rise as a trade piece with his expiring deal and improved play. 

          Also, I doubt the Pistons will be in any position to be a serious playoff threat, so why not get some type of service out of him for a year, and then enjoy the additional cap space when he comes off the books.  If he doesn’t improve at all.  Ride it out… It’s only one bad to mediocre season. We still might be able to deal him as an expiring deal anyway, and if not he’s gone at the end of the season anyway.
           

          • Mar 10, 20135:44 pm
            by tarsier

            It’s true that his play could improve. But for it to be worth keeping him, his play would have to improve to the point that he is worth his contract. Otherwise, the cap space created by getting rid of him is more valuable, especially in potential trades.

            Apart from the possibility of his play improving to the point that he is worth the $9M or whatever it is he’ll be getting, the other possibility for why it could make sense to not amnesty him is if you think he will help with a playoff push. But even on that count, odds are you could amnesty him and sign someone better to a one year deal at his salary.

            The real key is that everyone seems to forget how insanely valuable open cap space is in midseason trades. It is way, way better than an expiring contract. Unless that expiring contract is attache to a very desirable player. Note I said very, not kinda,sorta. And kinda, sorta desirable seems like the absolute best that CV could play at, contract year or not.

          • Mar 10, 20135:49 pm
            by Ryank

            Purging CV is part of exercising the demons of the last 4 seasons.  Having him coast on the bench for another season sickens me.  I’m hoping at minimum we can trade his expiring contract for a player some team needs to cut from their payroll. 
             
             

          • Mar 10, 201311:34 pm
            by City of Klompton

            I just can’t agree with this logic because this logic assumes that we find a replacement that is worth it as well.  We can find a CV upgrade with the cap space we already have AND enjoy the cap space we will have after his contract drops off next off-season (if we don’t unload him for something else between now and then) with the highly-touted 2014 FA class.  Note that plenty of other teams around the NBA are going to find a $9M expiring deal pretty attractive heading into that FA period.

          • Mar 10, 201311:37 pm
            by City of Klompton

            Simply put, by keeping CV, we still have plenty of options regarding what to do with CV (and his contract). By amnestying CV, we either use the money or don’t.  If we’re not going to use it, why not have the extra warm body and still have the option of axing him at any moment or waiting for him to come off the books.  I don’t think we really lose a whole lot by keeping him around at this point.

          • Mar 10, 201311:59 pm
            by tarsier

            “If we’re not going to use it, why not have the extra warm body and still have the option of axing him at any moment or waiting for him to come off the books.”

            This would be right on if the team maintained the ability to use the amnesty clause at any time. But there is a limited window during the summer when they are allowed to do so.

          • Mar 11, 201312:02 am
            by tarsier

            “Note that plenty of other teams around the NBA are going to find a $9M expiring deal pretty attractive heading into that FA period.”

            That is possible, but no sure thing. But we definitely know that they will find $9M of empty cap space more attractive.

          • Mar 11, 201311:49 am
            by Huddy

            We get that cap space either way @tarsier you are making a point that we for some reason need it mid season.  I definitely agree that space is key mid season but for certain types of teams it is more important.  It is less likely the pistons will need to make a mid season move for a play off push than a contender would, but it is possible.  Is that flexibility worth giving up the option of trading that expiring contract for an asset (player or pick(s))?  We could end up getting the expiring space and a draft pick or a useful player to make a play off push anyway.  I understand that trading him is not a sure thing but even if we don’t he expires.  It is all about what you give up and amnestying him means we are paying him without having him play (with possible increased production because of contract year) and not having him as a trade piece for the sole purpose of a mid season trade.  Not amnestying him still leaves us mid season trade options because of the attractiveness of an expiring contract, but with the chance to actually get something of value for CV.  At the VERY least it is not obvious we should amnesty him because in both scenarios if we don’t either use the cap space from the amnesty mid season or get something in a trade we end up in the same position come next summer so it is not obviously better but I would argue we have more options not amnestying him.
             
            To the point of him taking minutes from other players, that deserves zero consideration in the argument for amnestying him.  That is an issue with coaching.  The coach is not required to play anyone regardless of their contract so if we keep CV for a trade and he is taking minutes from people that is on Frank and no one else.  Look at Maggette, we solely got him for the free cap space and maybe to mentor young players and he does not play.  He isn’t stealing minutes he is sitting and waiting to expire just as CV could.  I understand that amnestying him would make it impossible for Frank to make the mistake of giving him too many minutes but I would not advocate paying him 9 million dollars to walk and play for someone else because our head coach needs someone to force him to make the right decisions, I would rather see Frank go than to hold him hand like that.

          • Mar 11, 20132:19 pm
            by tarsier

            But he’s only a viable trade piece if someone really wants him. If you are trading him as an expiring contract, you can just as easily make that trade without including Charlie by using his open space instead of his expiring deal.

            Kinda like the Grizzlies’ trade this season. They wanted to move Gay for Ed Davis and a second round pick. But the Raptors couldn’t do that because it doesn’t work under the CBA. So they had to include Calderon. But the Grizz didn’t want to pay Calderon even for the rest of the season so they eventually found a way to flip him in a three-teamer. If the Raptors had cap space, Memphi would have been even more eager to trade with them because they could have just moved Gay for Davis or whatever.

            That is the superior position the Pistons could put themselves in by removing Villanueva. Having an expiring deal can be worthwhile when you’re capped out anyway because removing that player doesn’t give yo money to work with. But that is not the Pistons’ situation.

            Nobody is going to trade for CV to get CV. They would only trade for him to get financial relief. And they could get even more (which ups Detroit’s bargaining power) if they could have a big, fat trade exception instead of a big, fat piece of roster deadweight.

            But since people seem unclear on that, let’s look at it in the simplest way imaginable. If Detroit amnesties CV, that opens up $8.58M of cap space. Do you honestly believe that there is nobody out there more valuable than CV who could be signed to a one-year $8.58M contract? So if the Pistons want a potential contributor on an expiring deal instead of having open cap room, they can go that route and have an even more appealing asset. And that player would also be in a contract year.

            The ONLY basketball reason to not amnesty CV is if you think he will perform at a level justifying his salary. And if you think he would improve that much in a contract year, you and I should really be making some bets with each other. I could use some more cash.

          • Mar 11, 20133:19 pm
            by Huddy

            I find it hard to believe Memphis wanted to trade Rudy Gay for Ed Davis and a 2nd round pick.  Clearly they needed Tayshaun (or a starting caliber SF) from the Pistons and he is a huge part of why the trade works for all teams involved. 
             
            If we amnesty him and sign another one year deal we will be double paying at that roster position just to not have CV on the team.  I wouldn’t say there is no one worth 8.5 mil, but a lot of guys in that range want longer contracts for security and this years FA class is slim.  So would you say there is definitely someone we will utilize for one year that is worth paying on top of paying CV to leave?
             
            Teams value expiring contracts and you can say that other teams like pure space even more for a trade exception, but in the end if they need space they take on expiring players.  A lot of teams looking for cap space will be doing so in anticipation of the 2014 FA class, so plenty of teams would not care about having CV on their team with his large expiring contract for the FA possibilities.  
            Langlois keeps saying he thinks a trade with a team looking to free up space is likely this summer as opposed to next season.  Keeping this in mind I just don’t think it is obvious that we will need that mid season cap space to facilitate a trade, CV’s expiring deal isn’t valueless the way you are describing, and there is value in testing his production in his contract year.
             

          • Mar 11, 20134:59 pm
            by tarsier

            Yes, a player who can reasonably expect a multiyear contract in that range won’t take a one year deal at that level. But there are at least dozens of FAs I’d rather have than CV who can’t expect to get much over $5M/yr if over that at all. You think they’d hesitate to give up the security of more years if it comes with a big time one-season pay boost?

            And, I suppose I don’t really know the minds of the Memphis brass. But there were a lot of reports out that Memphis and Toronto were near a deal but that Memphis didn’t like it because they didn’t want Calderon. Not because they were worried about the hole at SF. You can always find someone to fill such a hole. But because they had no use for Calderon and for paying him the severely bloated salary he has this season.

            But, ok, let’s get away from that use of cap space. How about the signing bonus use? Let’s say the Pistons want to sign someone (be it Calderon, Martin, Redick, Brewer, I don’t really care who) who is not getting anywhere close to a max deal. If the Pistons take CV off the books, then they can use that $8.58M as a signing bonus for someone, and, in so doing, take that $8.58M out of the lifetime of the contract. Then amnestying Villanueva will lesser their cap hits for the next 2-5 years.

            And, if Detroit needs an expiring contract to trade, they still have Stuckey. 

    • Mar 10, 20136:12 pm
      by GET WELL SUSAN

      Reply

      Stuckey and Charlie …. Both will have expiring Contract in 2014… that means their trade Value will be boosted… No way I’d buy out or amnesty either … 

      • Mar 10, 201310:24 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Do you seriously not realize that open cap space has more trade value than expiring contracts? I’ve said it a million times. Or do you disagree with me on that point? If so, please defend why.

        Expiring deals can be used in salary dumps or alongside prospects in superstar deals. But in both of those cases, the team getting the expiring deal would rather get no salary commitments, even for the present season, than have to pay someone like CV for the rest of the year.

  • Mar 10, 20136:04 pm
    by Travis

    Reply

    IMHO, I believe the Pistons will acquire 3 serviceable players that have the potential starters or “steals” like Chauncey Billups or Ben Wallace. They won’t be well-known players, but they won’t be pontential busts either. The Pistons will sign one second-tier free agent or through a sign-and-trade.

    I won’t pretend to know who those players are, but I can see the Pistons immediate and long-term needs. 

    • Mar 10, 201310:26 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I’m doubting there are three such free agents even if Dumars would be able to find them.

  • Mar 10, 20137:39 pm
    by Haan

    Reply

    Amnestying CV makes sense, but is very unlikely to happen (see Langlois who has a nose for the money trail).   I can’t get over the past: if you’re not going to amnesty CV, why didn’t you amnesty Gordon, rather than give up a 1st rounder?  Once you gave up that 1st rounder, didn’t that mean you were all during the year bought before Gordon’s deal expired?  And isn’t amnestying CV part of what it means to be all in?  There’s a mixture of basketball and financial considerations in what the Pistons have been doing, but I’m afraid the latter have trumped the former.  Doesn’t mean Joe won’t make some good use of cap space moving forward; just that giving up a 1st rounder for that one year window wasn’t worth it.

  • Mar 10, 20138:14 pm
    by Haan

    Reply

    What if you amnesty CV and offer a good chunk of that money to restricted FA Jeff Teague?  I wonder if Atl might let him walk in an effort to resign Josh Smith.  I love JC, but wonder if it might be worth going young to accompany your two young centerpieces in Monroe and AD, also considering JC should have options and you’re unlikely to get a bargain on him.  Too much overlap with BK?

  • Mar 11, 20132:06 am
    by MrCarter

    Reply

  • Apr 10, 201312:07 am
    by hodia supplements

    Reply

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  • [...] PistonsThe Pistons haven’t been relevant since Chauncey and Rip were in town. Joe Dumars hasn’t exactly been competent when he’s had cap space, and the Pistons will have around $25 million this summer. Detroit [...]

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