Playing Keep or Cut with Each of the Detroit Pistons' Free Agents
With four unrestricted free agents and one player with a non-guaranteed contract, general manager Joe Dumars and the Detroit Pistons have big decisions to make this summer about the future of their roster.
Their free agents include two starters and a key member of the bench, but the Pistons will have more than $20 million in cap space if they let all five players leave. Throw in two draft picks, and the Pistons' roster may look vastly different in 2013-14.
2012-13 Statistics: 41 games played, 9.9 minutes, 2.9 points, 37.5 field goal percentage, 28.0 three-point percentage, 7.97 PER
2012-13 Salary: $473,604
Kim English didn't play much as a rookie, and when he did play he wasn't particularly impressive, but the Pistons should bring him back for his second season.
He only shot 28 percent from behind the arc, but as a senior at Missouri he shot 45.9 percent from three. With a roster lacking quality shooters, the Pistons should give English a chance to find his jumper.
Defensively he isn't quick, but at 6'6" and 200 pounds he has the size to defend strong shooting guards. And while his playing time was almost exclusively against bench players and in garbage time, he did hold opposing shooting guards to a PER of 14.1 (below the league average of 15), per 82games.com.
Overall, there is very little to lose by bringing him back for the 2013-14 season. His non-guaranteed salary is just $788,872, so unless the Pistons need the money to sign a big-time free agent, the financial implications are minimal.
While odds are that English will remain an end-of-the-bench player, they should not give up too early on a potential three-and-d shooting guard. Just ask Arron Afflalo.
2012-13 Statistics: 18 games played, 14.3 minutes, 5.3 points, 35.5 field goal percentage, 7.9 PER
2012-13 Salary: $10,924,138
After being acquired from the Charlotte Bobcats last summer, forward Corey Maggette appeared in just 18 games for the Pistons before being benched for the season. And at 33 years old, he doesn't have any kind of future with the youth movement in Detroit.
Even in his limited appearances, Maggette showed that he had deteriorated as a player. He averaged career lows in points and rebounds, and shot his career-worst percentages from the field, three-point arc and free throw line.
Maggette has no chance of playing for the Pistons next season, and at this point in his career his suitors around the NBA will be very limited.
2012-13 Statistics: 72 games played, 24.8 minutes, 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 11.3 PER
2012-13 Salary: $5,000,000
In 2012-13 Jason Maxiell played more minutes and started more games than in any season during his eight-year career (all with the Pistons). But with the emergence of Andre Drummond earlier than expected and the Pistons looking to build for the future, his time in Detroit looks limited.
The undersized power forward has provided energy and toughness in his time with the Pistons, mostly off the bench. Those intangibles allowed him to average over 19 minutes per game over the course of his career despite being very limited offensively.
Maxiell can still finish close to the rim, and he is an average shooter from the right block and the free throw line, but he doesn't do anything else well. And as his athleticism fades it will become more difficult for him to score against taller big men.
Defensively, Maxiell is a strong player and did block a career-high 1.3 shots per game this season, but he was a below-average defender overall. According to 82games.com, opposing power forwards posted a PER of 16.6 against him. Opposing centers were even better, with a PER of 17.8.
Maxiell was very good off the bench for the Pistons during their final three trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, but he should not be in their rebuilding plans. Instead of signing him, they need to use their cap space to find a young big man to back up Drummond and Greg Monroe.
2012-13 Statistics: 65 games played, 18.8 minutes, 9.8 points, 46.9 field goal percentage, 3.6 assists, 16.62 PER
2012-13 Salary: $3,250,000
After an awful 2011-12 season, Will Bynum bounced back to have arguably the best season of his career.
He shot a career-high 46.9 percent from the field, and averaged more points (18.8) and assists (6.2) per 36 minutes than in any other season, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Bynum has never been a good three-point shooter, but he was one of the few Pistons capable of creating his own shot this season. He is a good mid-range shooter and finishes well at the rim for being just 6'0."
His problems lie at the defensive end, where opponents can take advantage of his size. According to 82games.com, opposing point guards posted a PER of 18.1 against him this season. He also commits fouls at a high rate, averaging 3.8 per 36 minutes.
Bynum's ability to come off the bench and score in bunches is a valuable quality, as frustrating as his turnovers and shot selection can be at times. On this Pistons team that struggles to score, Bynum can play the role of a poor-man's Nate Robinson.
He may be 30 years old, but Bynum has shown the effects of aging less than Maxiell. The Pistons should bring him back as a situational third point guard, but only if he signs a short-term deal for less than his current $3.25 million salary.
2012-13 Statistics: 73 games played, 29.6 minutes, 11.3 points, 46.1 three-point percentage, 90 free throw percentage, 7.1 assists, 18.8 PER
2012-13 Salary: $11,046,591
Jose Calderon played very well for the Pistons offensively after being acquired from the Toronto Raptors in a mid-season trade. Not only was he the only pass-first point guard on the roster, but he was also their best shooter.
Calderon was exceptional from almost every area on the court—he shot 52.7 percent from the field and 52 percent from the arc. He and Brandon Knight (36.7 percent) were the only to Pistons to shoot above the league average of 35.9 percent from three.
Most of his value on offense was mitigated by his inability to stay in front of opposing point guards. Despite averaging 1.3 steals per game, he rated even worse defensively than Bynum, giving up a PER of 19.2 to opposing point guards, per 82games.com.
The Pistons need a true point guard, but Calderon is not their answer. He is still capable of starting in the NBA, but he will be 32 by the time the 2013-14 season tips off. They need to find a starting point guard for the long haul, not just the next season or two.
Whether they draft a point guard in the lottery, sign one in free agency or decide to give Knight another shot at the position, the Pistons need to let Calderon walk this summer. The most important thing for them is to get younger and find players who can grow with Monroe and Drummond.