Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pistons.com editor Keith Langlois answers your questions about the Pistons and NBA. Click here to submit your questions - please include your name, email address and city/state on the form. Return to the Mailbag homepage.

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Peter (Jackson, Mich.): You said in a recent Mailbag that in the past two seasons the Pistons have rarely gotten good performances from both Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon, which is true. You went on to say that would have to change if they were both still on the roster next season. I think I speak for many Pistons fans in saying if they are both still on the roster, I wonít be watching.

Langlois: Itís inevitable there will be a different mix of perimeter players next season, Peter. Tracy McGrady and Tayshaun Prince are unrestricted free agents and Rodney Stuckey will be a restricted free agent. Where free agency takes them will shape some of Joe Dumarsí off-season strategy. Will he make trading one of Hamilton or Gordon a priority? Too soon to say. The first clue could come when Dumars addresses the media in his postseason press conference. I donít think he will flat-out close the door to the possibility that both could return next season, if for no other reason than he wonít trade one or the other in any deal that doesnít begin to address the teamís other roster issues. But I think itís fair to assume Joe D is going to go into the off-season determined to shake up the mix.

Geoff (San Francisco, Calif.): What are the chances of getting Jerry Sloan to coach the Pistons next season? He personifies everything Detroit basketball is, or is at least supposed to be, about.

Langlois: Letís first acknowledge that John Kuester is under contract for next season and any decision on his status rests with Joe Dumars. Sloan told Salt Lake City media last week that he doesnít have interest in returning to coaching at this time. Heís 69, and while Iím sure that if he put his mind to it he would still be a highly effective NBA coach, thereís no reason not to take him at his word at this time. That said, Joe D has made no secret of his admiration for Sloan. If Sloan ever expressed interest in returning to the sidelines and the Pistons were in the market for a coach at that time, I would expect Joe D would at least dip his toe into those waters. But those are two pretty big ifs.

Ben (Lansing, Mich.): Iím confused as to whether the Pistons could negotiate a sign and trade for Rodney Stuckey due to his status as a restricted free agent. Is that possible?

Langlois: Not under the current CBA, which wonít be in effect when Stuckey becomes a restricted free agent on July 1, regardless. Under current rules, it works like this: Stuckey puts himself on the market as a RFA. If he can entice somebody to offer him a contract he finds suitable, he signs an offer sheet. The Pistons would then have a week to match. But they canít match it and trade him. In fact, if Stuckey signs an offer sheet and the Pistons match, they canít trade him for one full year without his consent Ė and they could not trade him to the team that extends the offer sheet for a year, regardless of consent. If Stuckey did not agree to another teamís offer sheet, as best I interpret the CBA, once he were to re-sign with the Pistons, he could then be traded no earlier than Dec. 15. But, again, the new CBA figures to alter the rules across the board.

Erges (Tirana, Albania): Am I the only one whoís praying for Joe D to call John Hensonís name on draft night? Unless the Pistons get a top-three pick, I donít see any other guys with Hensonís upside in the 7-8 range.

Langlois: Canít happen anymore, Erges. Henson, unless he does a 180, has said he is headed back to Chapel Hill. He was considered a lock to be a lottery pick, perhaps a top 10 pick and even a candidate to be picked by the Pistons.

Shawn (Garden Grove, Calif.): After watching some of Arizonaís games during March Madness, Derrick Williams seems like he has the greatest potential to be a playmaker in the coming draft other than Kyrie Irving. Do you think if the Pistons get the No. 1 or 2 pick they would take Williams?

Langlois: NBA scouts were aware of Williams after a surprising freshman season at Arizona, but he didnít start the season as a lottery pick. By the time the NCAA tournament arrived, Williams was considered a consensus top-five pick. He sure didnít do anything in the tournament to hurt those chances. Depending on whoís in the draft, heís now a likely top-three pick with a shot heíll go No. 1 depending on who gets the top pick. The Pistons donít share their evaluations of players, of course, but I think itís pretty fair to assume they like him and would consider him strongly should they get a top-three pick on May 17. Of course, Williams has yet to declare his intentions, though most assume with his stock as high as it can get, heís coming out.

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