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This trade isn’t sexy, but it’s necessary.
The Pistons would give up Richard Hamilton and a lottery-protected 2013 first-round draft pick in return for Mehmet Okur and Raja Bell.
It’s true, Joe Dumars would be trading one overpaid, past-his-prime player for two overpaid, past-their-primes players, but it’s not that simple.
Much like Prince, Hamilton hasn’t outlived his usefulness as an NBA player, but he’s outlived his usefulness as a Piston. In his current physical and mental state, the negative contributions that Hamilton would bring to Detroit would far outweigh any positives that he’s capable of bringing to the table.
Hamilton needs to go somewhere where he’s needed, and given the marginal talents that Utah has started at shooting guard over the past couple of years, the Jazz could use a proven scorer at that position.
Even with rookie Alec Burks coming in to eventually take over as Devin Harris’ running mate in the backcourt, the Jazz are weak on the wing. While Utah may choose to start Burks right out of the gate, there’s no reason that Hamilton couldn’t carve out 30+ minutes per game.
With Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap already installed as starters, the Jazz need to ship out Okur to clear space in the frontcourt rotation for promising young bigs Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
The Jazz will have money to spare with Andrei Kirilenko likely headed out of town, and making this move for Hamilton both improves their team in the short term and provides an opportunity for their future stars to develop.
Hamilton’s contract remains an albatross, but the adding a first-round draft pick to the mix and taking back the $6+ million left on Raja Bell’s contract should sweeten the pot enough for the Jazz.
For the Pistons, this trade would be a no-brainer.
Although Dumars would be taking on over $1.5 million in additional salary in 2011, the deal would clear over $9 million off the books in 2012.
Though Okur’s production declined sharply in 2010 and though its unlikely that he’ll return to his 2005-2009 prime, he possesses a skill set that should age well. Seven-footers that can knock down threes at a 35-40 percent clip will always be able to carve out a role in the NBA. There’s no reason that man formerly known as The Turkish Tornado shouldn’t be able to give the Pistons 15-20 minutes per night and kick in nine or so points and seven or so rebounds.
Sure, that’s not exactly full value for the nearly $11 million that Detroit would be paying Okur in the last year of his deal in 2011, but it’s far better than the Pistons' current situation.
Moving Hamilton out of town will go a long way toward alleviating the logjam in the Detroit backcourt, freeing minutes that can be redistributed to Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, and Brandon Knight.