A. Sherrod Blakely says Rip Hamilton is out tonight because of a "family situation involving his child." Krista Jahnke of the Detroit Free Press termed it "family emergency" but confirmed that it did not involve a death, which is good to hear. Blakely pointed out that Hamilton is still considered probable for tomorrow's game in Orlando, so hopefully this isn't too serious.
(Update from Need4Sheed: "I don't think we need to worry about Rip, a person in the know says he's missing tonights game due to the birth of his child.")
Flip Saunders told the media that he was going to start Arron Afflalo instead of Flip Murray at the two-guard spot? Seems odd, right? Not if you consider Detroit's depth problems right now with Rodney Stuckey out and Lindsey Hunter still getting into shape. Keeping Murray in the backup role ensures at least a little bit of consistency when the starters leave the game. Even so, Jahnke reports Afflalo was completely caught off guard:
Saunders said he might not even tell the guard until closer to game time. We reporters didn’t really let that happen. Finding Arron in the locker room, told him the news and he looked at us at first like, "Huh?"
But Afflalo took the news in stride. Afflalo said the news won’t change his focus.
"I’m excited to play, ready to get out there and have fun," Afflalo said. "Get a win."
Leaving the thin backcourt for a moment to consider the thin frontcourt, here's a nugget I totally missed from Chris McCosky's blog in the Detroit News yesterday:
The thin frontcourt is one of the reasons the Pistons waived Sammy Meija. They saved about $200,000 by dumping his non-guaranteed contract. That leaves them around $700,000 under the luxury tax threshold. So, if one of the veteran big men goes down with an injury, the Pistons would be able to reach out to, say, Chris Webber, and bring him in on a veteran's minimum contract (roughly $1.4 million, half of which is paid for by the league) without having to pay the tax.
I knew the Pistons were close to the tax, but I didn't realize the numbers would work so perfectly. Granted, Webber has reportedly indicated all along that he'd like multiple years and something more than the veteran's minimum, but maybe he has a change of heart in a couple of months. If not, maybe another available veteran will.