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Rodney Stuckey vs. Lawrence Frank: Stuckey returns from benching

Why was Rodney Stuckey inactive against the Magic? Is he still considered a long-term building block -- or might he be traded by the NBA's Feb. 21 deadline? Right now we have more questions than answers.

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Stuckey unproductive in return after being benched

Rodney Stuckey returned to his regular off-the-bench role on Tuesday night, as Lawrence Frank promised before the game, following his somewhat mysterious one-game benching.

Stuckey also returned to being unproductive.

In 27-plus minutes, Stuckey had seven points on 1-for-4 shooting, an assist with two turnovers, a block and two rebounds. Stuckey was also on the floor for most of the Bucks' initial comeback. He got to the free throw line six times (missing two) and made his only three-point attempt, but he may as well have been benched for this game, too.

To be fair, Stuckey wasn't the only player who under-performed and certainly wasn't the worst. That said, he was being held under a close microscope after his little dispute with Lawrence Frank and subsequent benching, so it didn't help that the 26-year-old, who is in the midst of his worst season of his career, looked, well, like complete shit again on Tuesday night.

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Pistons should facilitate Grizzlies-Raptors deal

Rodney Stuckey seems to be the odd man out in the Pistons' guard rotation. And while no trade was imminent when he got benched by a "coach's decision" that doesn't mean he can't or shouldn't be traded.

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Rodney Stuckey returns (but for how long?)

The Detroit Pistons host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, and after being benched for Sunday's tilt in Orlando, Rodney Stuckey is expected back in uniform.

Stuckey also spoke with reporters, seemingly in good spirits:

It's nice to see the Pistons will be at full strength, but it's worth asking, might his days in Detroit be numbered? Officially, the word from the mountaintop says no -- Joe Dumars flatly denied a trade being in the works when asked by MLive on Sunday. But just because Stuckey's benching wasn't related to a specific trade doesn't mean he's not available.

It's crystal clear by now that Stuckey is no longer part of Detroit's long-term vision -- or at least, Lawrence Frank's interpretation of it. Brandon Knight is being given every opportunity to succeed (or fail) as the starting point guard, with Stuckey being relegated off the bench. And the fact that Stuckey needs the ball in his hands to produce (and has regressed to near rookie-level production without it) hasn't gone unnoticed. From MLive's David Mayo:

Twice in two days, immediately after Saturday's practice and before Sunday's game, Frank made unspecific negative references to player types which might be construed to apply to Stuckey. He noted that players who can only be effective with the ball or with specific teammates can't play a regular role.

"If you can only play well with certain guys, you know what you're called? A specialist," Frank said Sunday. "When you can play with anyone, you're a rotation player."

Stuckey is a known quantity around the league, for better or worse. He comes with a fair amount of baggage, but it's worth noting that he seems to be aware. As we learned last year (and as Vince Ellis noted again today), Stuckey is candid about visiting a therapist to deal with anger issues. If another team is willing to give him a fresh slate for his various run-ins with coaches and puts him in position to succeed on the court, he could be a relatively low-risk gamble: As Ellis notes in the above link:

The timing is curious, with the Feb. 21 trade deadline approaching. Stuckey is a player who intrigues league executives. His name comes up in conversations when teams are doing their due diligence about perspective trades.

And he isn't that expensive. If he were traded a team could audition him for the remainder of the season. If it doesn't work out, only $4 million of his $8.5 million salary for next season is guaranteed, so a team could turn him loose before the June 30 deadline.

Is Stuckey returning to normal usage because he's being showcased for a trade, or because he's a legitimate building block for the future? We'll find out by Feb. 22.

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Rodney Stuckey to be active vs. Bucks

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Why was Rodney Stuckey benched?

Stuckey was a healthy scratch Sunday against the Orlando Magic. Answers as to why he was inactive are sparse but we try and put together the pieces.

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Rodney Stuckey inactive against Magic

Rodney Stuckey is inactive. That much is known. Why he is inactive is a mystery.

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