And in the process, the Pistons lost about $500,000 to $600,000 of cap space. How, you ask? Well, let me explain.
Should the Pistons decline Chauncey Billups option, the Pistons have $49.9 million in committed salary. That includes Monroe's qualifying offer and cap hold (and also Siva and Harrellson nonguaranteed contracts), but not Villanueva's, Stuckey's, or Billups'. That gives the Pistons approximately $13.3 million in cap space, assuming a $63.2 million cap.
Dinwiddie counts as $0 figuratively towards the Pistons cap room, but not practically. He was projected by many outlets to be a first round pick had he not been injured. By many sites, Dinwiddie was an excellent value pick for the Pistons.
And excellent value picks normally require longer term commitments than just the minimum salary. Teams can go over the cap at any time to sign a player to a minimum salary contract. But a minimum salary contract is for a maximum of two years. Anything longer than that requires teams the use of the MLE or cap space (the BAE and room exception are for a maximum of two years). It's become common practice in the NBA for teams to sign 2nd rounders, especially in the 30's, to 3 or 4 year contracts.
And that's what I expect the Pistons to do with Dinwiddie. I expect a first year salary of the minimum ($507,336) with a possible bump up to $550,000 or $600,000, followed by a guaranteed second year at the minimum salary, and a nonguaranteed third year at the minimum salary. The Pistons signed Khris Middleton and Tony Mitchell to similar contracts. And his first year's salary is going to count against the Pistons cap number practically, if not figuratively, thus taking away around $500,000 to $600,000 of cap room.
The Pistons could get around this by not renouncing Villanueva and Billups (I expect Stuckey to sign with another team during the 9 day moratorium period), and thus keeping the MLE available, and using that to sign Dinwiddie. I wouldn't be shocked if they did that. But if they decide to use cap space to sign other players, then my prediction for the first official Pistons signing is the 38th pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
And his mustache.