I will be the first to tell you that Richard Hamilton should be traded, if at all possible, and that his huge contract extension was Joe Dumars blunder. We need to move on with Ben Gordon, a guy I like better right now because he can create his own shot. We also have Terrico White, who looked great in the pre-season, and will need a seat on the bench next season.
That doesn't excuse the way he has been treated lately though. According to Rip, in a recent article on ESPN, the Pistons have never spoken to him about the potential Melo trade or why he has not played since January 10th or their future plans for him.
This guy was part of a Championship team, built by Joe Dumars, and deserves better. That Championship memory is the only reason Joe is still here because almost every Darko-type decision he's made since then has pushed them further from the top.
I'm not saying they should play him for charity's sake, or ask him where he wants to be traded so that he can decide his own fate. I'm just saying that the coach should explain what's going on to him, in a man-to-man sit down. At the very least, Joe should talk to him as a former player, and someone who should appreciate the effort Rip has given to this franchise. He should show the type of class we have all grown to expect out of him and make this right.
Maybe then they can bring him off the bench so he can showcase what he has left for another team in need, which would also help us facilitate a trade to get that huge salary anchor off of our backs before it ruins any chance we have of completing this rebuilding process.