Brandon Knight's Emergence Could Spell End for Rodney Stuckey on Detroit Pistons

Jay WierengaCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2011

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 23:  Richard Hamilton #32 of the Detroit Pistons celebrates a three-point basket with teammate Rodney Stuckey #3 while playing the Miami Heat at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 23, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Miami won the game 100-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

I was reading the Detroit News this morning, and amidst the stories that bombard you on their new online site, one in particular caught my attention:

"Pistons rookie Brandon Knight boosting team's energy."

Now, this is welcomed news any way you slice it.

One, it is good to hear that Knight, this year's lottery pick, is finding his footing so quickly.

Two, given how anemic this Pistons team has been the last few years, it is nice to hear that someone is capable of boosting their energy without the use of a cattle prod.

And three, this signals the passing of the torch from the Rodney Stuckey-led Pistons to the Brandon Knight-led Pistons.

Alright, let's be clear about Stuckey. He was a talented player that was placed into a tough situation.

Right off the bat, he had the baggage of being involved in a trade for Darko Milicic, a dubious distinction.

Then he gets hurt and misses half of his rookie year.

Then he is asked to take over for a legend at a position that he really isn't fit to play.

Then he has to deal with a new coach seemingly every year.

Add to the mix the tumult caused by a crazy shuffling of roster pieces and some real diva-like behavior by former All-Stars, and you have a recipe for disaster.

But we have a responsibility as men and human beings to deal with whatever life throws you, and to be fair, Stuckey should have handled plenty of things differently.

There is a lot of blame to go around, and Stuckey gets some of it.

But that is the past. The Pistons are trying to turn the page and move forward, and Knight's emergence is nothing but good news.

So how does this impact Stuckey?

Currently, Stuckey and the Pistons are in a holding pattern. He is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Pistons have the right of first refusal for his services.

So this gives the Pistons three tangible options. They can choose to offer him a multi-year contract, they could sign his offer sheet for a one-year deal or they can choose to trade him.

A fourth option could emerge wherein another team offers Stuckey an offer, but that hasn't been in the cards so far.

The first option seems like lunacy to me. Stuckey is a talented player, but what exactly is he? Either he is a flawed point guard, or a flawed shooting guard.

As a point guard, he makes bad decisions and has questionable court vision.

As a shooting guard, he can't shoot from distance, which is kind of a big deal for a "shooting" guard.

But he is the most athletic player on the roster, and probably the best perimeter defender. He is young, and can get to the hoop whenever he wants to.

But Stuckey and his agent, Leon Rose, want a boatload of cash, and Stuckey really hasn't proven that he deserves it, especially considering the amount of money the Pistons are already paying shooting guards Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon.

The second option is not without its pitfalls as well. It could entice another team to make an offer, putting Detroit in a weird position with Stuckey.

Or assuming another team doesn't swoop in, Stuckey could sulk given his relatively meager $3 million one-year contract and just walk after the season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

But the more likely scenario is that it forces Stuckey to play hard in order to get the big bucks he wants next summer. Also, it makes him a low-risk option in case Detroit wants to trade him during the season.

The third option is to recruit another team to do a sign-and-trade for Stuckey.

This is a good plan, but there really hasn't been a market for Stuckey. It could be due to his reputation from last year's troubles, or it could be due to his erratic play on the court.

For whatever reason, nobody seems to really want Stuckey, which makes trading him difficult.

More than likely, possible trading partners like the Clippers, Warriors and Pacers are waiting for the smoke to settle on Dwight Howard and Chris Paul before they turn their attention to players like Stuckey, who are probably more like second- or third-tier players in most teams' minds.

Regardless, the play of Knight strengthens Dumars' hand in bargaining with Stuckey and his agent, and that can only be a good thing.

Personally, I would love to see Detroit sign Stuckey to his one-year offer sheet. Give the young man a chance to prove that last year was a fluke, and that he can develop into a player that can play next to Knight.

This is a low-risk situation that makes the most sense for all involved. Hopefully this is what Dumars is thinking.