Detroit Pistons: 5 Trades To Part Ways with Prince and Hamilton and Move On
After winning the championship in 2004 the Pistons remained contenders for several years. When they started to slip, they looked ready to go in a new direction. They traded their best player, Chauncey Billups, let other key guys walk and signed some free agents to long-term contracts.
It looked like a change of direction, and yet they can't seem to let go of their last few championship team members. This has kept them in the worst place to be in the NBA: not quite bad enough to ensure a team-changing draft pick, but not good enough to be in contention for the playoffs. Holding on to the veterans has also hindered the development of young players by keeping them from the court.
Detroit should trade R.I.P. Hamilton (rather than deactivating him and making everyone mad) and Prince to make space for other players who will be there long-term, and move forward in the rebuilding process.
As most teams could use a vet with good defense and decent offense on an expiring contract, the Pistons should have no trouble finding a new home for Prince. Hamilton might not be as attractive because he still has a lot of money owed to him, but he is a very good player nonetheless.
Here are five potential trades to free them from misery in Motown...
Dallas could use either one of these guys after losing Caron Butler to injury. Butler's expiring contract would match up salary-wise with either. They would rather get Prince in all likelihood because of his expiring contract, but they would have to give up more to get him. To acquire Hamilton, they may only have to give up Butler's contract.
There are murmurs that Dallas doesn't want to take on bad contracts unless it makes them surefire contenders, but I have two words for you: Brendan Haywood. Hamilton may be what they need, a consistent wing threat who plays good defense. I fully expect Dallas to make a move of some sort; Mark Cuban just can't seem to help himself.
The Utah Jazz have lost a plethora of wing players in the past year, and I think that has hurt them more than losing Boozer did. They have been struggling lately, and they may want to make a deal before the deadline to stay in contention. By adding Hamilton and Prince, both of whom would be good fits there, they would improve on both ends of the floor and have some added depth.
They may need to do something to try to keep Deron Williams happy if they don't want to be the next Cavs/Nuggets.
Here's one trade idea that could get them back up there with the Lakers and company:
For Detroit, as with most deals that would involve Hamilton, this deal is all about saving money and making room for younger players. These are both expiring deals, and they could save even more money by buying out the rest of Kirilenko's deal this year. Every opposing shooting guard would dread going up against both the irritating Raja Bell, and Hamilton, who is known for growing his fingernails out and inflicting painful scratches.
(Raise your hand if you need some veteran guidance!)
The Kings have three things every team would love to have: plenty of talent and size in the big man rotation, a franchise-leading guard who is a skilled playmaker and plenty of young talent. They also have some things that nobody wants; namely drama and immaturity. That is what is holding them back right now.
The Kings' two likely cornerstones, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, both have their issues. 28-year-old Francisco Garcia is forced to be the veteran leader even though he hasn't seen significant time on a winning team. They desperately need a true veteran to help their young players' growth.
One thing that Detroit needs besides money savings and youth is size. A trade including Samuel Dalembert and Tayshaun Prince would make tons of sense. Sacramento would get their vet while Detroit would get size, and there would be little risk involved since both players are on expiring contracts.
Another less likely trade could involve adding Hamilton and Garcia to the deal. Although this may help the Kings, I think it is unlikely they will want to take on Hamilton's contract even if they could lose Garcia's.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors definitely could use veteran help. But more importantly, they need some more defense and more depth. Prince would be a good complement to what they have in place now.
A trade involving Dan Gadzuric's expiring contract and talented yet underachieving forward Brandan Wright should be enough to bring Prince to Oakland. It wouldn't involve taking on more salary in Detroit, and would give them one more piece with some potential.
The Warriors would finally have a defensive-minded player and someone who would keep Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright from having to play 40-plus minutes a night.
Tayshaun Prince might be just what the doctor ordered for the young Clippers. They are stacked with young talent across the board, but a small forward with Prince's skills would be a great complement to high-flying bigs Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and playmaking guards Baron Davis and Eric Gordon.
Detroit gets their first post scorer since Rasheed Wallace in Chris Kaman. The problems with this deal would be if the Pistons didn't want to take on money, and if the Clippers don't want to give up Kaman, who is probably a better player overall than Prince. But with the emergence of Griffin and Jordan, Kaman is much less important to them. And for the Pistons, it is very difficult to secure a good big man so it may be worth a shot.