Pistons Mailbag - Monday, December 12, 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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Erges (Tirana, Albania): Good to have you back, Keith. It was about time. Can you please sum up the most important changes in the new CBA?

Langlois: The elimination of granting the longer contracts and greater annual raises that belong to a team with a player’s Bird rights when executing sign-and-trade deals strikes me as a big one. In effect, it means that LeBron James and Chris Bosh wouldn’t have been able to get the extra year and the greater raises in their 2010 decision to join Miami even if their teams had agreed to sign-and-trade deals. The stiffer penalties on tax-paying teams could temper additional spending among the highest-payroll teams. Trades should be easier to execute with the rule that bumps from 125 percent to 140 percent the matching requirements on contracts. It’s a complex, 500-page document and perhaps some of the items that will turn out to have greater impact aren’t clear yet. Time will tell.

Den (Laguna, Philippines): When Chauncey left the Pistons, it seemed like that started the descent. Now that he’s available, is there any chance they will bring him back for another year and bring veteran leadership to Brandon Knight? I think fans would love to see him back in a Pistons uniform.

Langlois: The first order of business is to resolve Rodney Stuckey’s status. The odds remain heavily in favor of Stuckey’s return. If that situation changes, and if Billups has not landed anywhere at that point, then it would be a possibility. There were no doors closed to a reunion, at least, by either side.

George (Grand Haven, Mich.): What is the reasoning behind Kyle Singler electing to stay overseas? What will he do next season and what are the options?

Langlois: Singler’s rights were bought by Real Madrid, probably the pre-eminent team in the Spanish ACB league, before the Pistons could speak to him or his agent. I don’t know what might have happened if they had been able to talk to him, and I don’t know what type of contract Madrid gave him. Singler’s original team, Alicante, had a shoestring budget. It’s not clear how much Singler was earning with Alicante, but it might not have been six figures, given Alicante’s resources. He probably is making much more than that with Real Madrid – and he’s probably making more with Real Madrid than he would have made in a truncated NBA season where second-rounders almost always play for the NBA minimum, which would have meant a prorated portion of about $490,000. The big news here is that Singler is doing something that very, very few American rookies ever do – making a major impact in the world’s second-best league. If he continues his strong play with Real Madrid, it’s conceivable he could be a $2 million-a-year player in Europe. If that happens, then the Pistons likely would have to make Singler a substantial contract offer to come back to the NBA. But that’s a pretty good problem to have – NBA rights to a coveted player.

Ryan (Cincinnati): So happy to have Mailbag back and be talking basketball. I was a bit shocked but extremely happy to see our two best forwards, Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko, re-signing with the Pistons. I am curious about a situation that might affect Detroit indirectly over the next couple of years. With the releases of both Rip and Chauncey, what are the odds Chicago signs both this year to come off the bench together in spurts and give Derrick Rose some needed rest and the Bulls more scoring?

Langlois: My guess is the Bulls are counting on Hamilton emerging as their starter – or, at least, their closer – at shooting guard. They couldn’t possibly have enough to offer Billups in terms of role or minutes (or money, because of those first two items) as long as Rose is in town. Now, if they hadn’t decided to pursue Hamilton, you could have made a case for going after Billups as the No. 3 guard who would wind up playing alongside Rose in crunch time. But I doubt we see a Rip-Chauncey reunion in Chicago simply because Billups still has too much to offer and will have more value to other teams than to the Bulls.

Ryan (Grand Rapids, Mich.): The Pistons started the season about $7.5 million under the cap and signed Prince and Jerebko for about $10.5 million for the first year. According to reports, the new CBA lets the Pistons spread Rip Hamilton’s buyout over four years, so that should create another $7 million or more. If they let Stuckey walk and amnesty Charlie V, does that give them enough space to sign Nene or Afflalo away from Denver?

Langlois: I could be wrong on this – it’s going to be a while before I get up to speed on the quirks of the new CBA – but it is my understanding that the stretch provision to which you refer (allowing a team to waive a player, who would still get his money, while stretching for cap purposes the value of his contract over twice the length of his contract plus one year) is only applicable to new contracts, not existing ones. Reports are that at least two teams, New Jersey and Houston, are talking about contracts averaging $15 million or more for Nene. I don’t know that the Pistons would or could get that far under the cap. I also don’t think the Pistons will be looking to allot significant cap space to shooting guard, so I wouldn’t expect them to be bidders on Afflalo.

Darrell (Detroit): I liked the way Chris Wilcox finished strong last season. What are the chances he’ll be a Piston this season?

Langlois: Zip. Wilcox and Boston reached contract terms on Friday, according to reports. On a handful of occasions over his two seasons with the Pistons, Wilcox seemed on the verge of solidifying a role. But he was besieged by nagging injuries – back, hamstring, knee – that would always derail him. At his age, it’s probably not something he’s going to outgrow. In a limited role, he’s a nice addition. If you’re counting on him to be a regular part of the rotation, his history suggests you’d better have a backup plan.

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