NBA Roundtable

2010 Salary Cap: Detroit Pistons

In Free Agency, General NBA, Trade Talk on May 7, 2010 at 6:42 am

Detroit Pistons Salaries

Contracts above $5 million

  • Rip Hamilton – $12.5 million
  • Tayshaun Prince – $11.15 million
  • Ben Gordon – $10.8 million
  • Charlie Villanueva – $7.02 million
  • Jason Maxiell – $5.0 million

That gives us a sub-total of $46.47 million spread amongst five players.

Tayshaun Prince will be an expiring contract while Rip Hamilton and Jason Maxiell both have three seasons remaining on their deals. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva have four years left on their respective contracts.

Rest Of Team’s Salaries

  • Rodney Stuckey – $2.77 million
  • Austin Daye – $1.8 million
  • Jonas Jerebko – $760k
  • DaJuan Summers – $760k

That gives us a sub-total of $6.09 million for a group of four players.

Rodney Stuckey will be entering the final year of his rookie deal and will be eligible for a substantial payday next summer (2011). Austin Daye is on his rookie scale deal while Jerebko and Summers are both entering the final season of their two year contracts.

Others Costs

  • Draft Picks — The Pistons will hold a mid-lottery pick, likely the #7 selection, which will come with a cap hold of about $2.26 million
  • Player Option — Chris Wilcox — Wilcox has a player option worth $3 million. It is unclear whether he’ll opt in or out of that payday given his lack of playing time last season + his poor market value.
  • Open Roster Spots — The Pistons will have ten or eleven players depending on Wilcox’s decision. Detroit is a little under the expected cap so let’s put these one or two roster spots down on rookie minimum contract deals ($475k each).

The gives us a sub-total of $3.21 million or $5.74 million.

Which gives us a new total of $55.77 to $58.3 million.

The Cap

David Stern recently announced

NBA commissioner David Stern said on Friday that the league is projecting the cap to come in at about $56.1 million. The actual number won’t be determined until early July, before teams can begin officially signing players.

Though that figure would still be lower than this season’s $57.7 million cap, it’s far better than estimates from last summer, when the league sent a memo to teams warning them of a potential sharp drop to between $50.4 million to $53.6 million.

2010 Cap Space

Okay, so the Pistons are at or are slightly above the salary cap line.

Consequently, they will have the MLE available to them.

Summer Options

Detroit’s off-season decisions are unlikely to be effected by their cap situation.

  • They have the MLE available to them and are likely to be aggressive in trying to use it.
    • Tyrus Thomas looks like the type of talented young player Dumars is likely to pursue this summer.
    • Outside of Thomas, nobody else jumps off the page … in large part due to Detroit’s already packed perimeter rotation. Four guards in the rotation + Prince and Daye/Jerebko on the wing.
    • The Pistons MLE target could also be heavily influenced by who they select with their lottery pick. There are a couple of big men and combo forwards in that draft range.
  • They could try to trade one of their players to a team below the cap to try and get below the cap themselves, but they’d need to jettison at least $10 million to make it worthwhile … assuming Wilcox stays with the team.

Rodney Stuckey

The Pistons should strongly consider offering Stuckey a contract extension this offseason if he remains in the team’s long term plans because his market value will be fairly low (MLE type deal?) given his second disappointing season on the bounce.

If Stuckey is not in their long term plans, then they should look to trade him this summer before this becomes an increasingly complicated situation next off-season.

Bad Contracts

Every one of the Pistons five highest earners are on bad contracts and need to be removed from their payroll.

Ben Gordon’s contract + Rip Hamilton’s contracts are bad for a team currently in rebuilding, like Detroit are, but could be decent (not good but serviceable) contracts for teams in a different stage of development. Hamilton for a title contender and Gordon for any team with it’s future core already in place (Portland).

Off-Season Plans

No firm word on what Joe Dumars is likely to do this summer. My understanding of the situation is that he wants to:

  • Re-sign Will Bynum to be his primary backup point guard
  • Re-sign Ben Wallace and likely ask him to fulfill a smaller role next season
  • Spend the MLE on a rotation caliber player who can help immediately + has some potential to him which Detroit can develop
  • Is only willing to trade Tayshaun Prince or Rip Hamilton for talent. Not for cap flexibility.

This leaves Detroit in a very uncertain place. They could easily come back next season with a very similar squad — their previous players + lottery pick or most of the team + pick + lateral move by trading Prince or Rip.

Anyway, unless Detroit hits a home-run with it’s MLE … it’s only real hope of adding a serious talent upgrade is via the draft with their lottery pick.

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