As the Detroit Pistons enter the home stretch of their most active offseason in several years, the controversy surrounding the acquisitions via draft, free agency and trade of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings has declined from manic-depressive undulation to the calm before the season's promised dunk-fueled storm. It's quiet now.
Maybe too quiet.
The fact remains that the franchise still holds two assets that will almost certainly benefit them more in the form of trade bait than on the basketball court: the expiring contracts of Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey.
Like many of you likely have, this has driven me to ESPN's NBA Trade Machine to tinker and try out different options, attempting to put together plausible deals that the Pistons would benefit from. One ugly, mind-screwing trade proposal has captured my imagination, and I share it with you for your ridicule and debate.
Yes. Completely nuts. Let's discuss.
But, why? Why would anyone do this?
Receiving: SG Aaron Afflalo, PF Jonas Jerebko, draft pick(s) from Phoenix
Randy Foye currently projects to be in contention for Denver's starting SG spot. Mix that in with the Nuggets chaotic offseason so far, and that is the key ingredient in a recipe for missing the playoffs. Afflalo's return would give them the perimeter defense and shooting they will need to avoid a very disappointing season.
This trade also allows them to jettison the Nugget-hating Andre Miller. (Maybe he's just a realist, as in, "In reality, we suck.") Randolph never got a chance to shine there, and if they receive a draft pick in this deal, they should be more than pleased.
Receiving: PG Andre Miller, PG Kendall Marshall, PF Charlie Villanueva
Sending: SG Aaron Afflalo, PF Al Harrington
The Magic talk a good game, but who really believes they actually want to convert potential-stud rookie shooting guard Victor Oladipo into a point guard just because they're weak at that position? That way lies Rodney Stuckey. Even a rebuilding team needs some semblance of structure, so acquiring a veteran PG and a young PG stabilizes that position for them as they seek all-around improvement through the draft.
More importantly, however, this deal extricates them from a contract they really don't want nor need (Harrington), and frees them up to rebuild on the fly by pursuing two near-max contract players over the course of the season - one with their nearly Rudy Gay-sized (so close!) trade exception from the Dwight Howard trade and one by trading their expiring contracts, if they so choose. Of course, they could also let those contracts expire and use the cap flexibility in the following offseason. This trade also won't hurt the team's pursuit of a premium draft pick in the loaded 2014, so it's a complete win, even if it doesn't mean fewer loses.
Receiving: PG/SG Rodney Stuckey
Sending: PG Kendall Marshall, SF/PF Michael Beasley, draft pick(s)
Ah, the crafty Suns. Acquiring assets and squirreling them away for a rainy draft day. Would they be willing to deal one to Denver - a far-future first rounder perhaps, or a near-term (2014 or 2015) second rounder (or two) - to remove Kendall Marshall and Michael Beasley from their lives? I think the answer is an unequivocal, "YES." Marshall was already on the trade block before his underwhelming Summer League performance, and Beasley is persona non grata in virtually every way imaginable. Getting an expiring contract attached to a player worth taking a flyer on is a bonus compared to the prospect of pawning these two off on someone else. That only leaves ...
Receiving: SG/SF Wilson Chandler, PF Anthony Randolph, SF/PF Michael Beasley, PF Al Harrington
Sending: PG/SG Rodney Stuckey, PF Charlie Villanueva, SF/PF Jonas Jerebko
Heh. Yeah, I know, right?
But, there's beauty here, if you'll just see it. Let's get the obvious good out of the way; Wilson Chandler is a multidimensional baller. He struggled with injury last year, and as a result, his advanced numbers and value have taken a serious hit. But, when he has been able to contribute, he did so in a big way. His injury woes look to be behind him, so what you're left with is a plus-athlete who can defend three positions and doesn't need the ball to be effective.
Randolph has height and more upside than departed C Slava Kravtsov. The scary part, the Beasley/Harrington part, is what makes the deal feasible. Why would anyone take Rodney Stuckey or Charlie V. after what they've shown for the last four years? Because you are solving their problems. In this trade scenario(sic), these guys actually provide solutions for Orlando and Denver, freeing up money while giving some on-court production.
For Detroit's part, it isn't as risky as it seems; both Beasley's and Harrington's contracts have outs. Beasley's last year is unguaranteed (with good reason). Harrington contract is only 50% guaranteed, though he might be that stretch four the team could use who really wants to contribute to a contender. This makes it even easier for them to extend the contract of PF Greg Monroe.
That's a price well worth paying to get Wilson Chandler, who will provide the total defense and perimeter shooting package that Detroit needs to win now and win later.
What do you think?
Too risky? Would you rather take the risk of waiting for a different deal? Comment and vote below!