Ben Gordon to Bobcats: Detroit Pistons' Move to Dump Salary Is Shortsighted

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor IJune 27, 2012

The Pistons turn their back on the under-performing Gordon.
The Pistons turn their back on the under-performing Gordon.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On paper the Detroit Pistons sent Ben Gordon to the Charlotte Bobcats (via ESPN) for swingman Corey Maggette. In reality, they sold a first-round draft pick for $12.5 million.

Just which year the pick will be surrendered is not yet determined, as the pick is protected based on the Pistons' draft status.

If the Pistons fail to make the playoffs in 2013, the pick is pushed to 2014. It is protected from the first eight selections in 2014 and the top pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

There are no protections in 2016.

Maggette will make $10.9 million in the upcoming season, before entering free agency in 2013. Gordon’s contract has two years and $25.6 million left.

Considering the Pistons will still need to spend a minimum of $3 million on a roster player for the 2013-14 season, their real net savings will be in the $12 to $13 million range.

The move will clear some salary cap room, but the Pistons aren’t lacking in that area. They have under $40 million committed for the 2013 season.

Detroit could have maintained Gordon’s salary cap hit, added a quality player next season and held on to their draft pick.

The Pistons aren’t overly vocal on why they made the move, which is understandable. This trade was about saving money, and they do so at the expense of future competitiveness.

To be fair to the Piston front office, it is understandable they would want to move Gordon. He has not played up to expectations since signing his five-year, $50-plus million contract in 2009.

The play of Rodney Stuckey made Gordon expendable, and Maggette will be a better fit for the team next season.

However, the Pistons were 25-41 last season, and don’t figure to be playoff contenders next year. Should fans be excited about missing the playoffs by five games instead of 12?

Surrendering a first-round pick will hamper their level of competitiveness in the future, and could cost them money in the long run.

Fans should be upset that finances are more important than future success. Combined with placing an inferior product on the field, attendance and revenue will drop.

The Bobcats are thrilled with their acquisition. Not only do they fill their most glaring need for a backcourt shooter, but they also acquire a first-round pick for a player that hasn’t made an impact on their team.

Maggette was injured and missed much of last season for the 7-59 Bobcats:

With this trade, we have acquired two things we covet in our plan to build this team. By acquiring a young and proven talent in Ben Gordon and a future first-round draft pick, we have both addressed our need for three-point shooting and acquired an additional asset to help continue to improve our team in the future.

Rod Higgins, Bobcats president of basketball operations

The Pistons have filled their need for saving a few dollars in salary. In doing so they will also likely push the surrendered pick off for a few more years.

The odds of them making the playoffs over the next two seasons are low.