Pistons Mailbag - Monday, January 30, 2012

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.

We reserve the right to edit your question for the sake of brevity or clarity.

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Ryan (Berkley, Mich.): OK, I know people ask about Chris Kaman all the time, but now the Hornets are actively shopping him. What do you think it would take to get him? Are there any players the Pistons can trade now? I like the idea of Stuckey at the two, but would be more than happy to send him with Jason Maxiell and Austin Daye to the Hornets for Kaman.

Langlois: Youíre right, Ryan Ė Kaman has been a hot topic, bordering on an obsession, with Pistons fans for at least two years. And when news broke Friday that the Hornets have advised him to stay away while they actively shop him, I got Kaman questions from around the world. Stuckey, along with Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko, were signed as free agents and canít be traded until March 1. Unless there is a complex, multiteam trade concocted, I donít give a Pistons-Hornets deal much chance of happening. The Hornets Ė still owned by the league Ė are very much interested in making the team attractive for sale, which means itís unlikely the franchise would be looking to add multiyear contracts unless itís for productive young talent on rookie deals. There would be worse things for the Hornets than hanging on to Kaman and letting his $14 million contract expire at seasonís end. Kaman is headed to a contending team, in my view, and because he has an expiring contract, the cost will be future assets Ė draft picks or young players who arenít making a meaningful contribution right now but have the potential to do so. But because Kaman has an expiring contract, also remember that he is scheduled to become a free agent on July 1. The Pistons could well be one of the teams that pursues him at that point.

Josh (Fairbanks, Alaska): With the early struggles this season, it looks like weíre headed to the lottery again. Is there any way we can get multiple lottery picks like Cleveland or Utah last season? With the exclusion of Monroe, Knight, Daye, Jerebko and Ben Wallace, Iím all for trading other players for picks or young talent.

Langlois: Teams donít trade lottery picks lightly, Josh. Look at the circumstances that led to Cleveland and Utah getting picks last year. The Cavs took on Baron Davisí contract, which totaled $28 million for this season and next (theyíve since used the amnesty clause on Davis to get that contract off their books, but they still had to pay him the money) plus the prorated portion of the $13 million he was owed last year at the trade deadline Ė an enormous investment. It paid off when that pick from the Clippers was the winner of the lottery, so the Cavs wound up with Kyrie Irving, but the odds were stacked against Cleveland. As for Utahís pick, the Jazz gave up one of the 20 best (conservatively, 10 more likely) players in the NBA for a pick it used on Enes Kanter. Utah was convinced it would lose Deron Williams for nothing, so the trade made sense for them. This year, when the lottery is believed of higher quality and the terms of a newly negotiated CBA are known, it is less likely teams will be handing over lottery picks unless an unusual circumstance arises. If Dwight Howard lets it be known he would sign a long-term extension with a team that, at the trade deadline, is a certain lottery team, then, sure, it could happen. But the Pistonsí chances of landing somebody elseís lottery pick are slim to none.

Rich (Grand Rapids, Mich.): You said this in response to a Ben Gordon potential trade question: ďItís certainly possible that Lawrence Frank at some point decides a Brandon Knight-Rodney Stuckey backcourt puts the Pistons in best position to win, but they still need a first-rate No. 3 guard to come off the bench?Ē Why? I canít even think of one contender that can afford the luxury of a first-rate No. 3 guard. Certainly a lottery team should not be making first-rate bench players a necessity. This makes no sense.

Langlois: Perhaps ďfirst rateĒ wasnít precise enough, Rich. My point was that if the Pistons were to trade Ben Gordon, they donít have another natural shooting guard on the roster. You canít expect to sign someone out of the D-League or walking the streets and insert him into an NBA rotation Ė itís been done, but the odds arenít great. Guys like Lou Williams, J.J. Redick, Ronnie Brewer, Jason Terry and Jamal Crawford have all been primarily off-the-bench players during their careers. Thatís the type of player I was talking about. If the Pistons trade Gordon, say, for a frontcourt player Ė and Iím not ruling out the possibility, even if it puts them at a short-term disadvantage at guard Ė then Will Bynum, still nursing a foot injury, is their only backcourt reserve with significant NBA experience and nobody on the roster beyond Rodney Stuckey really has the necessary skill set to log extended minutes at shooting guard. (Austin Daye? Sure, he can play that spot, but the Pistons would like to be able to pick their spots with him and not be forced to put Daye in disadvantageous matchups.) Thatís all I meant. You canít leave yourself without a reasonable option and trading Gordon without having a competent backcourt option coming back would leave Lawrence Frank with very little lineup latitude.

Joel (Marquette, Mich.): Since when is hanging on the rim after a dunk not a technical foul? In the Miami game, LeBron James hung on the rim for a good couple of seconds after a dunk.

Langlois: Judgment call, Joel. Officials have the discretion to allow a player to hang on the rim to avoid injury, to himself or others. Theyíre less likely to whistle it in the NBA than in college unless itís blatant showboating or taunting.

Faizal (Selangor, Malaysia): Why did Damien Wilkins replace Tayshaun Prince instead of Austin Daye?

Langlois: Better defensively and more consistent is the quick answer, Faizal. Thereís no question Daye is the more skilled player and more versatile scorer. But until his 28-point breakout game against Miami last week, Dayeís shooting had been erratic and Ė like a lot of players known primarily as scorers and shooters Ė his shooting woes caused other areas of his game to suffer. He came back with a solid outing against Atlanta even on a night his shot wasnít automatic, so thatís a good sign. Wilkins, whatever his shortcomings might be, gives coaches comfort in knowing what they can expect from him Ė an honest dayís work on the defensive end and an understanding of his role offensively.

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