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14 Jul

http://www.freep.com/article/20110712/SPORTS03/107120379/1048/sports According to Tayshaun Prince’s agent, Bill Duffy, the Pistons had reached out to him about their desire to have him return prior to the lockout. A couple questions arise: a) Why would the Pistons want him back? b) Would Tayshaun consider returning? c) How much could/would/should his new contract be worth?

The Pistons depth chart, assuming no free agents return, all drafted rookies get a roster spot, and seniority is largely determined by salary:
PG Rodney Stuckey (QO or extension)/Brandon Knight/Will Bynum
SG Ben Gordon or Richard Hamilton/Terrico White*
SF Austin Daye/Jonas Jerebko/Kyle Singler
PF Charlie Villanueva/Jason Maxiell
C Greg Monroe/Ben Wallace/Vernon Macklin

Flexibility helps us out, as Stuckey loses no effectiveness by sliding over to SG, nor do Jonas Jerebko or Greg Monroe at PF.  Daye has also had some success at SG. as has Richard Hamilton at SF.

If we have four players capable of playing SF, is there really any room for Tayshaun Prince if he were to return?

  • The Pistons have invested in Austin Daye, giving him 20 minutes a game last season.  He was said to be a 3-4 year project when he was drafted in 2009, and when the lockout ends we’ll be entering season 3.
  • Two seasons ago, during Jonas Jerebko’s roookie season, he was a starter for the Pistons at SF and was at times our best player and always the most consistent.  The only reason he doesn’t have the a stronghold over the starting position is his long recovery from an achilles injury.
  • Kyle Singer was drafted early in the second round of the 2011 draft, and he is considered one of the most NBA ready players entering the league.  His toughness and intangibles at the position are intriguing, to say the least.
  • As I’ve mentioned before, the best way to get both the values of Ben Gordon and Richard Hamilton up are to give them the minutes they deserve, and Hamilton’s may have to come at the SF position.
It is clear to me that the Pistons have already invested quite a bit into these four men, and that Joe’s reputation is at stake if any more of his draft picks don’t pan out or if he is unable to move or justify the contract given to Hamilton.
Tayshaun has had to endure three consecutive losing seasons and three different coaches in four seasons; I highly doubt he’d be willing to experience a fourth in five.  He is already 31 years old with more wear on his tires than the average player his age.  He has played in nearly a season and a half’s worth of postseason games and has had two summers of international competition on top of that.  At this point in his career, he’s either looking for one last payday, the best chance at a championship, or both.  The Pistons will have the ability to offer him the most money for the most seasons, but he could get comparable offers from other teams that would compete with the Pistons’ deal.  He has made, according to http://www.basketball-reference.com, some $52.2 million over his career, so another team willing to give him 15 or so million over three years should be enough to entice him to leave regardless of what Detroit offers.
I’m suspicious that this news was leaked by Prince’s agent to drum up preemptive interest in his client.  It really is in the best interests of both parties for Tayshaun to move on to a contender, which the Pistons do not project to be for quite some time.  Here are some teams that ought to display mutual interest:
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder-backing up and sometimes playing alongside Kevin Durant, displacing Daequan Cook and Thabo Sefolosha.  Assuming the salary cap remains in the new CBA and isn’t lowered, they would have the cap space to sign Tayshaun to a fair deal outright.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers-Tayshaun is from Compton, California, and they have a glaring hole at the SF position.  The opportunity to play alongside a franchise player in Blake Griffin, alongside strong play from the center position in DeAndre Jordan and Chris Kaman, could be too much for Prince to pass up.  If he helps build up the team before he retires, he and the fans would likely be satisfied in his decision to head to the West Coast.
  • The Houston Rockets-Barely missing the playoffs last season, the Rockets have decent pieces in place with SG Kevin Martin and PF Luis Scola.  After making several moves lately, acquiring Prince could be enough to push them over the hump.  His competition at SF would be Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger, a fight he would easily win.
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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