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How the Pistons can sign Luigi Datome without using cap space

I updated the salaries page by adding Luigi Datome’s two-year, $3.5 million contract, completely removing Corey Maggette and Jason Maxiell (because it’s now clear the Pistons have renounced or will renounce both) and using the officially released salary cap and luxury-tax line.

For now, I have Datome’s contract counting against the cap, but by the time Datome actually signs, it might not.

Before agreeing to terms with Datome, the Pistons had about $5 million in cap space (assuming they make official all other reported moves). If they sign Datome next, his contract eats into that cap space. But if they wait to sign Datome until after they use that $5 million of cap space, they can use the room mid-level exception, which can be used to sign someone whose first-year salary is up to $2,652,000, to exceed the salary cap.

At some point, the Pistons will have to sign Datome – whether or not they’ve already used the rest of their cap space – but they should delay making his signing official as long as possible to maintain flexibility.

Unfortunately, this clause can’t do anything about the roster limit of 15. Datome gives the Pistons 13 players under contract plus their three draft picks. A review of the most sensible options:


  • Jul 10, 20136:48 am
    by Some Dude


    - Waive Kim English 
    - Trade Stuckey+CV (or one additional player) for draft picks or money.
    - Just don’t bring in more players from the trade
    That opens up roster spots to sign the rookies. Siva is worth keeping, he’s played solid in summer league and shows he can be a floor general. It has a lot of potential, I think Detroit should give him a shot at being the third PG.

  • Jul 10, 20136:51 am
    by KaBa


    How do you count 14 plus the 3 picks??? I don’t get it. I count 12 + draft picks + English. What am I missing? I even counted Gigi and Smoove. For me it’s pretty clear that Siva will get the last roster spot unless something unexpected happens. Anway if we don’t sign Siva someone else will and should. I know (OK, everybody knows it) you are not satisfied with the PG situation but if the pistons are not able to work out a deal that makes sense for them it will be OK to go into the season with Knight, Bynum and Siva as the PGs.

    • Jul 10, 20138:19 am
      by Dan Feldman


      Thanks. Typo, Should have been 13. Fixed now.

      • Jul 10, 201310:41 am
        by KaBa


        You are welcome, so what is your take on Siva? 

  • Jul 10, 20136:58 am
    by @GPMasters


    Poor old Kim has NO chance does he… 

  • Jul 10, 20138:22 am
    by ANK


    Waive English and sign Alan Anderson!

  • Jul 10, 20139:08 am
    by David


    I think its too late to amnesty CV.  A 8.5 million expiring contract leading up to a marquee FA summer. Seems like a tradable asset.  Probably worth more than having Kim English on the roster.


    • Jul 10, 20139:26 am
      by Dan Feldman


      If the Pistons amnesty Villanueva to get $8.5 million below the cap, they could still accept $8.5 million in a trade.

      • Jul 10, 20139:57 am
        by tarsier


        And it would be especially valuable to teams who are trying to avoid paying tax in the present season as opposed to merely shedding payroll. Especially valuable means they can bring back extra assets.

  • Jul 10, 20139:28 am
    by Jordan


    I also count 13(14 including Datome) & the 3 picks.. Drummond, Monroe, Kravstov, Smith, Singler, Jerebko, Mitchell, Bynum, Middleton, Knight, Villanueva, Stuckey, Datome, Siva, English, Maxiell, Magette…that gives us 17. Waive English who doesn’t have a guaranteed contract, renounce the rights to Maxiel & Magette & that leaves 14. Siva should make the sqaud as the 3rd pg. The guy is a leader & rarely turns the ball over. I think it would be a mistake to cut him & if they do some other team is gonna snatch him up quick.

    • Jul 10, 201310:05 am
      by tarsier


      “I think it would be a mistake to cut him & if they do some other team is gonna snatch him up quick”

      Well that explains his availability at the 56th pick. 

      • Jul 10, 201310:39 am
        by KaBa


        So why was Monta Ellis available at the 40th spot? Or why wasn’t Marquis Daniels drafted at all? There are a ton of examples for each side of the medal. You know mistakes happen. Obviously many doubted about Siva that he would fit into the NBA but during the SL he has shwon/is showing that he absolutely at least deserves a chance, which I cann not say about English. But hey since Siva is not Burke it’s OK to question anything about Siva (probably even more since he has won in the finals against Burke) ;)

        • Jul 10, 201311:03 am
          by tarsier


          I’m not claiming Siva has no shot at being good enough to stick around the NBA (though it would be surprising). What I am claiming is that teams clearly aren’t lining up to give him a shot.

          SL is almost meaningless. So you really need to stick out to change impressions. Siva has been ok, but not good, much less incredible in it. So I doubt anyone but Pistons fans (maybe Cardinals fans) have even noticed him.


          • Jul 10, 201311:15 am
            by KaBa

            Well Siva currently hasn’t got any other chance to get to the NBA besides playing and fighting in the SL. Looking at him I think that he can be a better PG as Stuckey (not a hard thing to do, I know) so having him play the 3 PG spot right now wouldn’t be that bad. What team would come out now and say we are interested in signing Siva? That wouldn’t be quite the smartest move, as the Pistons could make that move unnecessary expensive for other teams. I never expected other teams to think about him as there second PG option. How is Ricky Ledo doing, I thought that could be the one guy everyone would/could talk about?

          • Jul 10, 201312:38 pm
            by tarsier

            Siva may be more of a “pure point guard” than Stuckey. But I think Stuckey brings enough more talent to the table to still make him the better option.

        • Jul 10, 20131:09 pm
          by Huddy


          Monta Ellis and Marquis Daniels LOL.  A better stat would be how many 50+ draft picks are even role players on an NBA team?  5%? 10%? “It happens” is an awful argument.  So the Pistons are just so lucky that 4 2nd round picks out of the last 3 years (Middleton, SIngler, Mitchell, and Siva) are all rotation level players?
          That aren’t “a ton of examples on each side” there are a few on your side and an abundance on the other.

  • Jul 10, 20139:30 am
    by Jordan


    How did I manage to forget our 1st round draft pick Pope> My bad, that gives us 15 with him.

    • Jul 10, 201312:40 pm
      by rick77


      This in response to guy above Jordan

      Sometimes I just sit in amazement at some of the comments. I really ask myself is this real. Siva better than Stuckey…wow, gotta be kidding me. Stuckey been through about four coaches and everyone pins the shit on him. I just laugh because I think its more disdain by the fact that Joe anointed him the way he did. The guy is a combo who if is on a good team ill help his team get to the free throw line. He was really good when he had a mentor in Billups plus all the vets on the team. No way he should have been handed the keys when he was. Give him up and we have no perimeter defenders  and Knight along with whoever else in the backcourt will get destroyed nightly….. I laugh at people saying get Gay, and I like Gay, but dude don’t play a lick of “D”. Detroit should be about Defense, period.

  • Jul 10, 20139:37 am
    by Trevor


    Please stop saying they should amnesty Charlie V.  If they do that, they’ll have to use that money to get to 90% of the cap.  If there’s no trade pending in which they take on more salary, they’d have to sign somebody to a big contract just because.  That would be an epically dumb move. 

    • Jul 10, 201310:08 am
      by tarsier


      Please stop making arguments when you don’t know what you are talking about.

      As has been posted numerous times on this very site, even if CV is amnestied, he still counts toward the salary floor.

      Besides, even if it didn’t, there are worthwhile FAs to go after. And the floor doesn’t have to be reached until the trade deadline when it is guaranteed that some teams will be willing to give up assets to shed salary.

      • Jul 10, 201312:19 pm
        by Otis


        I join in this handsome stranger’s request that I never be made to read the phrase “amnesty Charlie V” again. It’s one of the top three annoying recurring themes in Pistons fandom. Everybody knows that everybody is sick of him, but the organization has made it pretty clear that this is not likely to happen. If they were going to do it, they should have done it long, long ago. The guy will probably have stretches next season where he’s in the rotation, and he might actually have some value at the trade deadline.
        If the opportunity presents itself where the amnesty makes sense, I have no doubt they’ll use it. But these constant reminders aren’t helping. They’re infuriating.

        • Jul 10, 201312:35 pm
          by tarsier


          “the organization has made it pretty clear that this is not likely to happen”


          “If they were going to do it, they should have done it long, long ago”

          True, they should have done it last offseason (or amnestied BG). But since they didn’t then, today is the first day of this offseason that they are allowed to do so. 

  • Jul 10, 201311:04 am
    by mike


    i see the signing of datome as the end of english. singler is a better back up sg then english and I’m guessing middleton would be too, so unfortunately 

  • Jul 10, 201311:53 am
    by Pat


    There’s not one player available in free agency that’s worth going after right now. that expiring contract is going to be the reason we might have a shot at rondo at the trade deadline when he’s healthy.  There’s no reason to amnesty it. Plus chuck might have some value as a floor spacer if you’re gonna be playing him off the benchNo reason to pay him 5 or 6 million this season for nothing

    • Jul 10, 201312:49 pm
      by tarsier


      1) The Pistons would still have an expiring contract: Stuckey.

      2) Amnestying Charlie actually makes it easier to trade for a guy like Rondo or better provided that cap space isn’t used.

      3) What do you have against Teague, Henderson, and Pekovic (ok, I can see how Pek’s a poor fit, but the others aren’t)?

      4) If you’re really worried about losing his potential production, sign Jamison to a 1 year, $2.5M deal instead. That still opens up $6M of cap room and that $2.5M is still an expiring deal.

  • Jul 10, 201312:04 pm
    by Ryan


    Couldn’t they sign Datome now and use the mini-MLE on someone else? I don’t get it.

    • Jul 10, 20133:13 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      IF the Pistons’ sign a second player whose contract would fit into the room exception, both players would probably just fit into the cap room. The room exception for Datome would be helpful if they sign someone making closer to $5 million next season.

  • Jul 10, 201312:51 pm
    by Otis


    Dan: You spend so much time writing articles about how the Pistons could do these tricky, wiggly maneuvers to sneak a little extra cap space here and there. This must be fascinating to you, but it never seems to have any bearing on what the Pistons actually do.
    Like with the Kravtsov decision, where you’re detailing how the Pistons could waive him and then bring him back on some kind of minimum deal. Of course, the whole time I’m thinking you have a rotation quality backup center who’s guaranteed half a million and costs just another million to pick up his option, so it seems like a no-brainer. And that’s just what the Pistons do. (I’m sure he’d be thrilled to take a 50% pay cut to suit up next season after the team nickel-and-dimed him to gain a sliver of cap space.) The guy signed a contract for a million and a half a year. You want to cut him and pay only the guaranteed money, fine. But to bring him back at something less than the agreed upon dollar amount is silly.
    Right now I’m thinking the Pistons aren’t going after any more free agents. I mean, signing someone nobody ever heard of, who doesn’t even play in the league, seems to signal the end of the free agent frenzy to me. The plan all along was to bring in one impact player through each of the three major avenues, so I expect at least one trade between now and February. Joe might wait to see how things play out this season before he does it. But I don’t expect him to exercise any of that trademark Dan Feldman creativity we’re all so fond of. ;)

    • Jul 10, 20133:24 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Zach Lowe of Grantland:

      “The Rockets, other executives enjoy pointing out, are sort of annoying, especially around draft day. They make a million phone calls, poking the market and chasing tiny deals that move them two spots up in the draft, score an extra second-round pick, or shift some Samuel Dalembert– and Chase Budinger–size flotsam around the league. That Daryl Morey, folks chuckled a year ago, burning up the phone lines to chase the no. 9 seed. When is Houston going to wise up and can that guy?

      Oh, hey. A year later, the Rockets turned precisely zero top-50 NBA players into a roster that now contains two of the league’s 15 best guys, including a game-changing center who was the second-best player in the world just two years ago. Kevin Durant would have blown by Dwight Howard into that no. 2 slot even had Howard stayed healthy, but if the gassy, candy-guzzling monster rediscovers even 95 percent of his 2010-11 dexterity (and effort), Howard may reemerge as the league’s third-best player.

      The Rockets, even Morey would admit, needed a healthy dose of luck to pull this off. They nailed a second-round pick, the league’s ultimate crapshoot, in selecting Chandler Parsons — a choice that was not unanimous within Houston’s front office. They took advantage of Oklahoma City’s urgent desire to duck the luxury tax in the James Harden deal, and of the league’s collective underestimation of Harden’s game and ability to slide into a no. 1 option role. The Thunder probably acted with too much urgency, with a year left on Harden’s cheap rookie deal, and they’d have been in a friendlier place had the Kendrick Perkins contract not turned into such a disaster. (It continues to function as one now, even if the use of the amnesty provision on Perkins would not net Oklahoma City any cap space. But that move would slide Oklahoma City far enough under the tax line to put the full midlevel exception in play, giving it the beefed-up salary slot it needs to chase the wing shooters it has missed so far.)

      Houston overcame some negative campaigning from other Howard suitors who laughably painted Harden as a Kobe-level chucker, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo first reported, ignoring that Harden is one of the league’s very best pick-and-roll players. There’s nothing wrong with such negative persuasion; it’s part of the game, and it played upon Howard’s strange inability to recognize how devastating he is as a pick-and-roll big man with shooters around him.

      But the Rockets proactively made their own luck, all with this vision in mind. They made smart draft picks and piled up assets until they nabbed the single asset — the innovative lottery pick they acquired from Toronto in the Kyle Lowry deal — that finally swung the Harden deal.

      Now the Rockets may emerge as a legit title contender.”

      • Jul 10, 20134:39 pm
        by tarsier


        I did really enjoy that article when he wrote it.

      • Jul 10, 20135:30 pm
        by frankie d


        compared to the most active teams like houston and portland, joe d has to be the laziest – and i use that term regrettably – gms in the league.
        even when opportunities hit him over the head, he refuses to work the draft to benefit his team.
        a big reason the team has been stuck lately. 

        • Jul 10, 20136:46 pm
          by tarsier


          one of the reasons to oust him

  • Jul 10, 20131:23 pm
    by Tyrone


    Luigi D should be a good signing and give us some needed shooting.  Now if nothing changes either Kim English or Payton Silva will not make the final roster.  Luigi is an up grade over both of these players, the problem remains our questionable guard play.

    Im thinking that Kim English is playing his way off the roster and Payton will get a shoot  this season.  Singler and Middleton will be competing for playing time at the SG this season.  Hopefully we can trade Stuckey for a late 1st round draft pick.

  • Jul 10, 20132:00 pm
    by pat


    Tarsier, Boston is going to look for as much cap relief as possible in that trade.  In order to get Rondo, we would also have to take on Gerald Wallace’s horrible contract and you would need cv’s contract to do that.  In terms of the remaining free agents, Ellis is a career 32% shooter from 3 and Teague’s a career 34% shooter from behind the arc.  Henderson is a career 27% shooter from 3.  If this Josh Smith signing is gonna work with that huge front court that can’t shoot, we better have guards that can stretch the floor.  The remaining top free agents left don’t fit that mold.  

    • Jul 10, 20133:15 pm
      by tarsier


      No, you wouldn’t need CV’s contract. The cap space from no longer having his contract works just as well. I don’t understand how so many people don’t seem to grasp this. Salaries don’t have to match if you have cap space.

      For example: If the cap is $50M, and you have $48M of salaries on the books, you can trade away $15M and take back $17M. If instead, you only have $42M on the books, you can take back $17M by trading away $9M.

      Whether you have that extra $6M contract on the books or not makes no difference. Except your trade partner will probably prefer not having to pay the balance on the expiring deal. Does that make sense? Do you understand how the Pistons lose no ability to trade by simply amnestying CV and not replacing him?

      Also, you complain about Teague’s shooting but want to trade for Rondo? Really? 

    • Jul 10, 20133:21 pm
      by tarsier


      Also, what is this mystery trade? If the Celtics would give up Rondo+Wallace for Stuckey+Jerebko+CV/the cap space from amnestying him, I’d go for it. But I wouldn’t give up much more. It would be easier for the Pistons to sign a good PG than to get out from under Wallace’s albatross of a contract.

  • Jul 10, 20134:07 pm
    by pat


    You can technically trade 100% of the contracts plus 5 million so you’re scenario does not work under the new cba but it’s pretty close so whatever.  But my other point was that if you’re not going to bring anything worthwhile back now (and I don’t think Jeff Teague or Gerald Henderson are worth while for this roster) you might as well keep CV to spread the floor with your second lineup as opposed to paying him to not play on your roster.  Is it really worth it to amnesty a guy who could actually be in your rotation for a guy who’s probably not gonna be (Siva).   As far as Teague’s poor shooting compared to Rondo’s poor shooting, Rondo’s a top 5 point guard in the league, not a role player like Teague.  

    • Jul 10, 20134:55 pm
      by tarsier


      It is worth it to amnesty him even if you don’t do anything with the space because it opens up more options later, most notably, allowing someone else to salary dump if they are trying to avoid the luxury tax for the 2013-14 season. That’s a hard goal to facilitate if you don’t have cap room and have to send back an equivalent contract.

      Sure, I left off the 5 million bit in the trade example, but that exists regardless of whether you’re dealing with CV or his cap space. I was oversimplifying, but that fact in no way alters the point.

      Finally, which of Paul, Williams, Westbrook, Rose, Curry, Parker, Wall, Irving, Conley, Lawson, Lillard, and Holiday would you not take over a freshly hobbled Rondo (yeah, I know that applies to Rose too, but he was better than Rondo before the injuries so I assume he still is)? Rondo is definitely not a top 5 PG. He is only arguably a top 10 PG.

      You’re talking about a guy with career averages of 11 and 8. Solid, but unspectacular. And he is a step above Teague, but not by that much once you consider fit. I would definitely rather have Rondo, but it would probably be a lot harder to get him. He would cost significant assets. Teague is a solid PG who shoots well and might cost nothing more than cap room. He is worth an offer.

  • Jul 11, 20132:17 am
    by BC


    Roster Now…
    Monroe 4/5
    Drummond 4/5
    Smith in the 3 (not good) or 4 
    KCP -2
    Will Bynum -1 
    Datome – 3 (hope he is a gem!)
    Siva  1 (small but electric backup)
    Tony Mitchel -4 (athletic)
    Jerebko – 4 
    Singler – 2
    Middleton -3 
    Brandan Knight 1 
    Stuckey (trade) – 2 
    Kravtsov- Develop & Trade ASAP
    Keep it Simple add 3 point shooters and Better Guards! 
    WOULD LOVE to Sign Billups b4 Knicks – Heat or Cavs….he can retire here, and we will be getting a coach for our guards. Practices will be clinics! Our Bigs have Sheed and our guards have Chauncey! He can work with both our 1 & 2′s in practice. Great pickup and we can pay him a little more than league minimum , that the Knicks offered him. He will develop our guards. 
    Our guards and 3 point shooting are far from ideal. But getting Ellis who is inconsistent, but obviously an upgrade to our roster , is far to costly! Rondo.. Potential Distraction? Friends with Smith?Who cares…my concern is his health.  We all know we are stacked at the 5/4 with Drummond , Monroe, and Smith. Smith is hard to imagine at the 3 with no perimeter shooting threat. He is a 4! I would grab Neal from the Spurs..dump our undesirable players to anyone that will take them for future picks and grab some  budget role players for areas we need CPR! 
    Will anyone take Kravtsov, Charlie V, Jerbeko, and Stuckey? Get rid of that waste of money and pick up Gary Neal, Billups for pennies and maybe pick up Kirilenko? Grab a a threats at the 3. 
    If so….14 guys I think can be a a threat every night! We will have budget players ,rookies , and players with potential promise to develop into something special. 
    11 to keep
    KCP – Singler

    Bynum – Knight

    3 to sign 
    Gary Neal
    4 to dump

    Charlie V…DUMP
    English …DUMP
    Jason Max…DUMP
    Correy …DUMP

  • Jul 11, 20132:45 am
    by The Saint


    Gary Neal (Spurs)
    Aaron Brooks (Houston)
    Forget Ellis & Rondo Please
    Guards by Committee 
    Bigs by Committee 
    My Roster: 
    Drummond - Monroe -Smith- Mitchell- Dartome- Singler – Middleton-Neal (Spurs) – KCP-Brooks (Houston) - Bynum – Knight- Billups- Siva
    Get rid of Max, Charlie, Jonas, Kravtsov, Corey, and Stuckey! 
    After 1 season we will know exactly what needs to be done. I am confident we have a playoff team if we do the above! One or Two of our guards will have a solid season. 

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