NBA Roundtable

Pistons Sign Ben Gordon + Charlie Villanueva

In Free Agency on July 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Ben Gordon

Yahoo Sports reports

The Detroit Pistons have reached agreement with free-agent guard Ben Gordon on a five-year contract worth around $55 million, a source with knowledge of the talks told Yahoo! Sports Wednesday evening.

The Pistons are continuing to negotiate with forward Charlie Villanueva and are moving closer to an agreement.

July 8 is the first day free agents can officially sign contracts.

Newsday reports

A person with the knowledge of the negotiations says the Detroit Pistons have agreed in principle to contracts with free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva, the seventh overall pick by Toronto in 2005 who has played the last three of his NBA season with the Milwaukee Bucks, also agreed to a five-year deal. His contract is worth at least $35 million.

Update: A report from Chris Broussard says that Villanueva’s deal is $40 million over five years. Not confirmed yet. There are several reports at $35 million. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow.

Ben Gordon

Ben Gordon is not worth $55 million over five years.

The Pistons now have Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon in the backcourt. Joe Dumars has said that he wanted to get Stuckey more minutes at the two next season, and not solely at the point guard spot, well that plan looks done for. Is one of these guys on the way out? Surely, it would be Rip Hamilton if anyone.

Charlie Villanueva

Charlie Villanueva is solid value at $35 million over five years (I dislike it, but it’s not too bad). That’s just above the MLE. For a player who put up 16 and 7 in 27 minutes, and could put up 18-20 points and 8-9 rebounds in 32-35 minutes, that’s a good paycheck.

If nothing else … Charlie V will be a good trade asset while on that contract, assuming he continues to be get major minutes and continues to be productive.

Pistons Cap Space

The Pistons had around $40 million committed in salaries prior to these signings. That left them with around $17-18 million in cap space.

I haven’t seen any figures for Gordon’s + Villanueva’s starting starting salaries, but we’re likely looking at close to $15 million. Therefore, their cap space is pretty much done for.

Pistons 2010 Cap Space

I reckon the Pistons have about $50 million tied up in salaries heading into that offseason. So they’ll only have around $8-10 million in cap room.

Of course, if they manage to trade Rip Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince for an expiring contract, the Pistons could get far enough below the cap to offer a max contract to someone.

Rest Of The League

The rest of the NBA should be happy that Joe Dumars spent nearly all his cap space on Gordon and Villanueva, and was unable to turn his side into a legitimate force.

Detroit’s Future

In a word? Bleak

What is this team capable of next season?

This is a team struggling to win 45 games next season

Charlie Villanueva and Kwame Brown as their starting big men? Who is that frightening? Pistons fans that’s who!

What is going to happen to their defense? Villanueva is one of the worst defenders in the league at his position. Detroit loses Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess, and also Amir Johnson, that’s a lot of their big man defense out the door without any capable replacements coming in.

How about their medium-to-long term future?

It’s ugly.

The Pistons lack cap flexibility, and lack highly valued trade assets, so acquiring elite players will be incredibly difficult.

This is a team that either needs to be broken up now, or will be forced into a series of high risk acquisitions in the hope of making things work.

Summarize what the Pistons just did?

Detroit just boxed themselves in the corner.

They built a mediocre team and have made it very difficult for them to progress into a contender.

They are in trouble.

  1. I heard an interesting trade idea:

    Detroit trades Rip Hamilton to the Los Angeles Clippers for Chris Kaman.

    The Pistons get a starting center. A big man capable of getting a double double, playing good defense, and does the dirty work in the paint. Let’s Detroit balance out their starting five and gives them an impact big, which they sorely need.

    The Clippers get some badly needed help on the wing.

    Also seeing similar trade ideas, with Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer being mentioned as possible returns for Rip Hamilton. Rip is being deemed the guy on the way out in order to make room for Ben Gordon.

  2. Would have loved to see Millsap instead of Charlie, but us here in D-town believe that Rip and Tay will be packaged in a semi- blockbuster deal.

    Ok, I admit it, that last sentence is just me talking, but Joe better have something up his sleeve.

  3. If the Pistons keep Stuckey, Hamilton and Gordon, I see no reason those three players could not co-exist in a manner similar to:

    Isiah Thoms, Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson.

    Ben Gordon is not Allen Iverson and has a totally different approach to the game. IMO, he would be a solid fit in a three guard rotation for the Pistons with a capable 4th Guard in Will Bynum, who is the one that would need to see his role reduced from last season.

  4. Hey Khandor,

    Rip Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon can definitely co-exist.

    That’s not the problem. The problem is adding a quality big man. The Pistons desperately need more help in the paint, and the only way they can get that is by trading one of their top perimeter players. The backcourt is where they have a glut of talent, and where they can most afford to give up a player.

    Hey Ryan,

    I’m hoping Joe Dumars makes a trade like that too.

  5. Haha, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince in a block buster? You are not going to get anything but expiring contracts/average players for those guys. Rip will be 32 next season and makes 13 million per for three more years. That is the definition of almost no value. Prince was unmasked last season as the most over-rated so called under-rated player in the league. Don’t expect much back for either of them. Hamilton will be dumped for an expiring contract and maybe an ok young player. Prince the Pistons probably should hold on to unless they really want to start over because he is still fairly young and he makes fairly modest money. Anyway you slice it the Pistons are 3+ years away from contending for a title.

  6. In essense no one wants your old over-paid trash for anything but a bag of trinkets.

  7. Dave,

    Didn’t you say earlier that you thought Detroit might be able to acquire Carlos Boozer [from Utah] without having to give up something of substantial value like Stuckey or Rip or Prince?

    I might be mistaken but I thought you said something along those lines.

    If you did … I agree with that premise, and would advise Joe D. to move forward on that front, asap, if at all possible.

  8. Khandor,

    I was saying that the Pistons wouldn’t be willing to give up a player of high value for Boozer because he’d likely be a one year rental (no contract extension in place). So the best Utah could get in a trade is a lesser asset.

    That trade idea was based around Detroit having cap space … The idea was to cut $12 million of Utah’s payroll instantly so that they only have to pay out around $74 million next season instead of close to $100 million (both figures after luxury tax payments are made), and was working under the assumption they’d rather have Millsap than Boozer long term … however, the Pistons just spent their cap space so that cash saving idea no longer works. Now the Pistons would have to send back contracts because they’re not far enough under the cap to eat Boozer’s contract.

    So now, the Pistons would have to send back valuable players in order to get Utah’s attention. And I expect Utah to be reluctant to take any contracts that last beyond 12 months, a one year luxury tax hit is easier to take when it’s only a short term situation … so Boozer is likely out of play at this stage.

  9. Hey Dave, you know what annoys me with these two signings. The fact that the Pistons could have acted as a facilitator to gain great talent for cheap (or nothing). The pistons threw away chauncey, rasheed and a disappointing season for Villaneuva and Gordon!?!?! There was the possibility for much, much more. In fact, I hope that the Raptors can stay significantly under the cap for the very same reason; to facilitate trades to help get teams under the luxury cap in exchange for talent or draft picks. The raptors have no chance of realistically competing next year anyways.

  10. Hey Dino Gunner,

    Yeah that looks like a horrible trade off — Chauncey Billups + Rasheed Wallace + Throwing away a season … and only getting Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for their troubles — that’s gotta be hard to take for Pistons fans.

    Joe Dumars has had a very bad summer.

    I’d like to see the Raptors do the same thing. Bide their time and wait for better options down the road, while taking advantage of interim opportunities. No need to force a hand that isn’t there to begin with.

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