Rodney Stuckey was facing a critical make-or-break season entering this year, with the odds likely stacked against him. He responded by surpassing all expectations, emerging as the Pistons' best scorer and playing some of the most consistent basketball of his career.
While Stuckey hasn't been directly mentioned in any roomers, at least not since the rejected Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva to Toronto for Rudy Gay proposal in July, he apparently understands there's speculation.
Last month Mike Payne made a case for moving Stuckey before his contract expires, which I definitely recommend revisiting, but here's the main point:
This season, the red-hot Rodney Stuckey is Detroit's best trade asset. He scoring efficiently, he's getting to the line and he's playing very well on an expiring contract. That's a very attractive value for teams that are approaching the playoffs and need an offensive spark without the commitment. For Detroit, it's an opportunity to acquire picks and prospects for their own execution or for future trades. Other players might bring back more value to Detroit, but with Stuckey, they're not giving up anything they're not likely to lose this summer in free agency.
Additionally, as MFMP points out, there are younger, better values, and better fits who would likely be on the market to replace Stuckey for the Pistons this offseason.
With that extended introduction in place, what's Stuckey worth?
As effective as Stuckey has been this season as a scorer, that's really all he's brought to the table this season. He is at least filling the hoop at the highest rate of his career, scoring 20.3 points per 36 minutes, compared to 16.6 for his career average. His true shooting percentage of 54 percent is also well above his career average of 51 percent. The vast majority of his work has come off of drives and pull-ups, as he's been shooting threes considerably less than the past two seasons.
So his primary value would either be to a team looking for veteran help from a perimeter offensive weapon that can attack the rim from both guard positions for a playoff push, or to a team looking to attack the free agent market in the offseason. Funnily enough, that could describe the majority of the league. How much does a player like that return? Well, it depends on what you're shopping for.
If Joe Dumars is interested in using Stuckey's expiring contract to acquire a big name player, he probably can. As the base for a move for the likes of Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, or Eric Gordon, Stuckey could certainly be a possibility. Although, each of these players would likely result in the Pistons overpaying and, as MFMP mentioned in his piece earlier referenced, shouldn't be who the Pistons are chasing. No more magic beans, please.
Boston turned Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks into multiple picks, potentially first rounders. The Pistons should be following that model. MFMP suggested Denver as a landing spot, Stuckey returning Andre Miller, Jordan Hamilton, and a 2nd round pick, which remains exactly the type of return the Pistons should be chasing. However, some additional possibilities could include facilitating an Omer Asik trade, copying the Bobcats' Ben Gordon deal by taking picks for an extra year of salary for the likes of Andrea Bargnani, or the always lovely possibility that rids the Pistons of Josh Smith.
While it's unlikely that any team is drooling over the possibility of landing Rodney Stuckey, his value is at a peak for the Pistons. Joe Dumars should make the most of it - it also has a clear expiration date. After the trade deadline, Stuckey will just be a scorer who doesn't fit for a team due for an extension that the Pistons shouldn't want to pay.