I'm not writing this post because of disgust with either of these players. I'm writing this post with concern for the Piston's long term success and what I fear next year could do.
As we all know, we have 4 players coming off the books this year: Calderon, Maggette, Maxiell and Bynum. To me, Calderon is playing like he always does. Maggette, well he isn't playing...he and the team know his place. Maxiell started the season just like most players in a contract year do, hot. But he has since fizzled off and is now not playing because of an eye issue. Bynum, he's been Bynum: quite sporadic. Next year will be contract years for both Stuckey and Villanueva, two of the Pistons streakiest players.
Now some might say that this could be a good thing. Villanueva and Stuckey's contracts are of a decent size to where they could be great trade chips for teams looking to get ready for a better FA market than the one out this year. Or maybe they'll be playing so well that the Pistons will get decent offers for them on top of their contracts being trade chips and we'll get what we need. Sadly, I don't think that will actually happen. Stuckey is a career 13.4 PPG scorer (declined each of the last 4 years) on 42.1% (declined each of the last three years) FG% and doesn't shoot 3's very well (28.3%). Villanueva is a career 11.8 PPG scorer on 44.1% shooting. Honestly, and it kind of pains me to say this, Villanueva would probably be the easier one to trade because of his height.
But here's why I think the Pistons should move both of them now. There is another player on the Pistons who will be in a contract year, has consistently improved, and is likely (HOPEFULLY) a key cog in the Pistons rotation for many years to come. That person is Greg Monroe. As his agent has already stated, he's not likely to entertain offers this offseason because Monroe stills has time to improve more. And that's a smart move, both for Monroe and for the Pistons. But with Monroe playing in a contract year and likely to be starting next to Andre, our chances to get to the playoffs have increased.
I want to get rid of Stuckey and Villanueva now rather than during the season through trades for other players is because of time. Though I may think more of this than I should, I don't like the disruption of new players into a lineup halfway through the season. I didn't mind Calderon as I'm hoping we keep him. But if we're looking likely to make the playoffs next year, I want whomever we're likely to get for Stuckey and Villanueva on the team before the start of the season as to allow time to develop chemistry.
I fear that if the Pistons don't make the playoffs next year coupled with either not having been able to trade Stuckey and/or Villanueva will likely have Joe D (if still employed as Piston GM) resign Stuckey and/or Villanueva because they will have been playing good in a contract year. Now, that is unless the Pistons don't even come close to making the playoffs. I don't think that would be in the best interest of the team and I fear Joe may look at Stuckey as the next Prince, holding onto him longer than he should at the detriment of the team.
I'd like to hear your opinions though. Do you think Monroe playing in a contract year pushes us any closer to the Playoffs? Do you think it's more beneficial to use Stuckey/Villanueva as trade chips or moving them now for their replacements? Do you think the Amnesty class would be better used rather than trading Villanueva?