Pistons Mailbag - Thursday, June 16, 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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Shawn (Detroit): Is there any chance we could do a sign and trade with the Clippers – Tayshaun Prince for Chris Kaman? I think Monroe and Kaman would give us the frontcourt we need. And we could spend the No. 8 pick on a small forward. What do you think?

Langlois: It’s a logical deal for both sides, which is why Prince for Kaman has been talked about for going on two years. (NBA.com’s David Aldridge only this week postulated that the deal makes perfect sense for both teams, further suggesting the Pistons spend the No. 8 pick on Kawhi Leonard to plug the hole Prince’s departure would leave.) Now that DeAndre Jordan has emerged as a starting-caliber center, it makes sense for the Clippers today where it might not have previously. If Kaman can get and remain healthy, his ability to score in the low post would allow Monroe to continue playing more out of the pinch post area, where his passing skills cold flourish while giving him the same opportunities to cut to the basket for return passes or exploit lanes to offensive rebounds that he used to his advantage so well as a rookie. One potential stumbling block to such a trade, though: If it were to be a one-for-one deal, the Clippers would have to agree to pay Prince nearly $10 million in the first year of his new contract to meet cap requirements – as currently written, at least. Kaman has one year left on his deal at $12.2 million. The Pistons could throw in another player’s salary to allow the Clippers to pay Prince a lower figure in his first year, if that’s a deal that Prince would agree to sign, but realistically who might that be? Terrico White’s second-year salary won’t raise the ante much. Will Bynum? I don’t know if the Pistons would do that trade or if the Clippers would be interested in Bynum when they already have Mo Williams backed by promising rookie Eric Bledsoe with Randy Foye also capable of playing the point. It’s tough to say what the market for free agents will be this summer. Two years ago, I’d say Prince would have commanded that type of contract without much question.

Namer (Walled Lake, Mich.): Do you think some of the coaching prospects out there might think twice about coming to Detroit, simply because it seems like the last few coaches have come and gone so quickly?

Langlois: I don’t believe there are more than a few people truly interested in coaching an NBA team next year who would even consider rejecting any team’s overtures for fear of being quickly fired. It was widely accepted as recently as two or three years ago that the Pistons represented one of the very best jobs in the NBA. The uncertain ownership situation undoubtedly affected their relative prestige in the interim, but Joe Dumars still commands wide industry respect and any coach would be intrigued by the profile of the new owner, Tom Gores. Bottom line: Of all the names that have been bandied about as potential Pistons coaches – whether that list covers all potential candidates or is less than fully accurate – I wouldn’t expect any of them to turn down the chance to coach the Pistons.

Donald (Detroit): I am slightly surprised at Bismack Biyombo’s latest measurements. He’s more than half an inch taller than he was back at the Nike Hoop Summit.

Langlois: Had a few questions about this one, Donald, including another who suggested that perhaps the measurement taken at the weekend Eurocamp could be viewed as evidence that he really is only 18 and still growing. I guess I’d be skeptical that he really grew measurably since April and be more inclined to chalk it up to the inexact nature of having humans measuring somebody’s height. (Is it possible Biyombo stood more erect in Italy, or perhaps his feet were 6 inches apart when he was measured in Portland, or any number of other scenarios that might have altered the reading by the 1.2 percent difference we’re talking about here. Biyombo’s wing span was reported at 7-foot-7 coming out of the Hoop Summit but measured 7-foot-6 in Italy. I don’t think that means he’s really in his 60s and beginning to experience shrinkage any more than the increase in reported height suggests he’s still growing. But I would be at least mildly surprised if teams didn’t dig a little deeper than that into the age issue in their meetings with Biyombo’s representatives and through background checks. When it’s all said and done, it might require a leap of faith. I think teams seriously considering Biyombo in the lottery are going to have to be comfortable with what they see whether he turns out to be 18 or 22.

Patti (Des Moines, Iowa): I would like to know what your gut is telling you regarding the possible trade and free agency of Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince?

Langlois: My gut usually only tells me when it’s time to eat, and sometimes isn’t all that reliable even on that score, Patti. I think logic dictates that the pool of teams interested in Prince would be deeper than those interested in Hamilton for two primary reasons: Prince is two years younger, at 31, and he’s remained a consistent producer, where Hamilton is 33 and coming off of an uneven season. I don’t think Hamilton is impossible to trade, but keep in mind trades in today’s NBA come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the old-fashioned value-for-value trade that represents a smaller portion of the trade pie than it ever has. Then there’s the salary dump, where a team isn’t expecting the same caliber of player in return but does anticipate some form of cap relief – taking back a player with a year or two less remaining on his contract. And then there’s the distress sale, where a team takes on a contract even more onerous in return, or does something that on the face of it seems crazy, like trading a player plus a first-round draft pick for a conditional second-round pick. I don’t think the Pistons are in the mode of attempting a trade of the third variety for Hamilton. Since the trade deadline, when the Pistons reportedly were willing to trade Hamilton plus a future protected first-rounder for Cleveland’s trade exception, they’ve paid nearly 20 percent of what remained of Hamilton’s guaranteed future money at the time. Hamilton is getting close to the point where his contract will be attractive to some suitors for its expiration date. Contenders who need a relentlessly consistent scorer – as Hamilton was for the vast majority of his time as a Piston and, as his play down the stretch affirmed, he still can be – could find Hamilton an attractive option this off-season or sometime into next season. The Pistons, presumably, would be content at some point accepting expiring contracts with perhaps a draft pick attached.

Nick (London, England): Kwame Brown is a pending free agent. Will he be considered, since we need size and post defense? Charlie V and Jerebko aren’t the answers for those areas, Big Ben is aging and Monroe still needs time to further develop. One player in the draft I think would help is Nikola Vucevic. A possibility?

Langlois: Doubtful on Vucevic unless the Pistons trade down from 8 or up from 33, Nick. Vucevic has really helped himself since the NCAA season ended. If it weren’t for low-end athleticism, he’d be a lottery pick and a consideration for the Pistons at 8. Everything else – size, skill, attitude – check out great. Teams just worry if he’ll be effective in the paint at either end with a vertical leap measured at 25 inches at the Chicago combine. None of the 53 other players there measured at less than 31. For comparison sake, Greg Monroe checked in at 32 inches last year and that presented him with a learning curve once he got to the NBA. As for Kwame Brown, the door certainly wasn’t closed for a return to the Pistons by either side when his two-year run ended after the 2009-10 season, but from all appearances it seems a return to Charlotte is most likely. They need him and coach Paul Silas has been glowing in his expectations for what Brown can become. Little reason to believe they won’t reunite.

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