Detroit Pistons: Ranking Pistons' Top Trading Chips

Jay WierengaCorrespondent IJune 13, 2012

Detroit Pistons: Ranking Pistons' Top Trading Chips

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    For Detroit Pistons fans, we are coming up on a very exciting time of the year.

    While the Oklahoma City Thunder battle it out with the Miami Heat for the ultimate prize, the Pistons are gearing up for their most important off-season in years.

    Given that Detroit has a limited amount of money coming off of their books this offseason, they are all but eliminated from making a big splash via free agency.

    That leaves the draft as the biggest opportunity for the Pistons to improve their roster.

    Obviously the Pistons only have a few draft picks currently, and gaining an elite player at number nine overall seems like a stretch.

    But the Pistons do have another ace up their proverbial sleeve. They have a roster full of players with varying levels of trade value.

    Here are the top 10 trade chips and their likely value to other teams.

Ben Gordon, SG

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    Trade Value: Un-tradeable

    Don't get me wrong, I certainly think that Gordon can still play.

    In the right situation, he could have tremendous value.

    But he is so far down on this list because of his salary. He is on the books for $12.4 million next year, and has a player option for $13.2 million that he would be insane not to pick up.

    Potential Suitors

    Miami, Boston and the Lakers could all use an instant offense guy off the bench.

    However, none of the above could afford his salary, save for Boston who has bigger issues to solve.

    The only way Gordon plays elsewhere next year is if he is given the Amnesty Clause and cut outright.

Charlie Villanueva, PF

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    Trade Value: Nearly Un-tradeable

    Villanueva has seen his value to this league plummet over the last few years.

    He went from a solid free agent signing with upside to a pariah relegated to the purgatory of a losing team's bench.

    In a further twist, he was cut from the Dominican Republic's Olympic squad this week due to being overweight and out of shape.

    He is on the books for over $8 million for each of the next two years, including an $8.5 million player option that he will certainly take.

    Potential Suitors

    Plenty of teams could use a stretch four off the bench, including Dallas and Oklahoma City, but nobody wants his salary.

    Given how poorly he has played over the course of his tenure in Detroit, he isn't going anywhere, especially if the Pistons Amnesty Gordon.

Will Bynum, PG

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    Trade Value: Fair

    Will Bynum is a solid player. He can score in bunches, and has solid court vision.

    But he is undersized (barely 6'0"), and will be 30 shortly after the season begins.

    His salary isn't bad ($3.5 million next year), but there are younger players out there with as much talent with a lower price tag.

    At the end of the day, Bynum is little more than a journeyman and is valued as such.

    Potential Suitors

    Most teams could use a backup point guard, including Brooklyn (if they can keep Deron Williams), the Lakers and Phoenix if they lose Steve Nash.

    It's hard to see Bynum securing much more than a late second round pick.

Tayshaun Prince, SF

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    Trade Value: Weakish

    Prince is a tough player to assess.  

    On the one hand, he is perhaps the most recognizable Pistons player and has a great reputation around the league. He could provide depth, leadership, and toughness—not to mention playoff experience.

    On the other hand, he has a salary that will make some folks shy away ($21+million over the next three years) and is on the wrong side of 30 with a lot of miles on those skinny legs.

    Potential Suitors

    Minnesota and the Clippers make a lot of sense for Prince. Each of those teams could use more veteran leadership on very young teams.

Jonas Jerebko, F

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    Trade Value: Promising

    Jerebko has a lot going for him. He plays with a lot of intensity, has good size, and loves mixing it up in the paint.

    He also has some decent offensive moves and is very young.

    That being said, he already has had one major injury and is guaranteed $9 million over the next two years with a player option of $4.5 million the following year.

    Potential Suitors

    There really aren't a lot of teams that couldn't use Jerebko. Young bigs that can shoot and like contact are always in demand.

    The Pistons could easily get a solid package that could start with a second round pick and a young perimeter player.

Austin Daye, SF

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    Trade Value: Intriguing

    At this point in his NBA career, it is safe to call Austin Daye a bust.

    He was a mid-first round pick that entered the league with a world of potential to go along with his lanky frame.

    But he quickly found himself in the doghouse for two separate coaches, and seems permanently planted on coach Lawrence Frank's bench.

    However, he still is young (24), has great length and the makings of a good offensive game.

    His salary isn't terrible ($3 million this year, then a $4.1 million qualifying offer), and he could still prove valuable in the right scenario.

    Potential Suitors

    Young teams with little to lose and a lot to gain could take a gamble on Daye.

    The Hornets, Bobcats and Cavs could all be options.

Jason Maxiell, PF

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    Trade Value: Solid

    Maxiell represents a solid trade chip.

    He is big, provides a solid skill set and is a physical player.

    He also has a small salary (player option of $5 million this year) and is just 29.

    Potential Suitors

    Maxiell should be targeted by a number of contenders to provide a physical presence inside.

    Boston seems like a natural fit, especially if they lose Brandon Bass.

Rodney Stuckey, G

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    Trade Value: Superb

    Stuckey is the most physically gifted, athletic and dynamic player on the Pistons roster.

    He is an above-average defender, can get to the hoop with ease and is starting to develop a solid jump shot.

    Add to that the fact that he is young (26), and his salary doesn't seem so bad.

    In fact, after an excellent season this year, it can be argued that his $8.5 million annual salary that is owed to him over each of the next two years is a bargain.

    Potential Suitors

    If the Pistons decide to deal Stuckey, there will be a long line waiting for him.

    Portland is a natural fit, given that Stuckey is a Pacific Northwestern kid (Seattle) and the Blazers' need for a shooting guard.

    But the Lakers could use a combo guard to take some pressure off of Kobe Bryant, and the Clippers and Denver could each use his talents.

    The Pistons could easily secure a high first round pick plus talent for Stuckey, which again makes Portland a solid fit.

Brandon Knight, PG

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    Trade Value: Blue Chip

    Brandon Knight has the potential to become a star in this league.

    He showed flashes of great skill last year—his first in the NBA.

    Furthermore, he is cheap ($2.8 million next year, then two affordable team options before he can become a restricted free agent in 2016) and extremely young (20).

    Potential Suitors

    There are roughly 25 teams out there that would value Knight.

    The problem is that there is no way the Pistons could get equal value for Knight, given his potential.

Greg Monroe, PF-C

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    Trade Value: Top 10 League-wide

    You read that right. If the Pistons decided to trade Monroe, they would have one of the top 10 tradeable assets in the league, maybe even top five. 

    Monroe's mix of size, skill, age and salary make him a player to be reckoned with.

    He is already one of the top five centers in the league, and could easily fit into any team's system.

    Furthermore, he hasn't even scratched the surface of his potential in this league.

    Potential Suitors

    Everyone. Seriously, every NBA team would at least think about Monroe, and the smarter squads would put together their best offer.

    Monroe could fetch the best player on nearly every NBA franchise.

    Simply put, if the Pistons decided to explore trading Monroe, they could name their price.

    However, Monroe is perhaps the only player on this team that is purely off-limits.