Since Wednesday's game was too much of a downer to discuss at length, I'll just continue beating this Mike James rumor as far into the ground as possible. Here are Chris McCosky's thoughts from his blog:
I am getting a lot of emails about Mike James -- as usual. He might be the most popular ex-Piston ever. People have a real over-inflated sense of what kind of player he is. He was perfect for the Pistons in 2004. He was a high-energy guy who teamed with Lindsey Hunter to wreak havoc off the bench with their trapping and pressing. He would be perfect in that role for the Pistons again this season. Except, understand, he doesn't see himself as that guy. He sees himself, and he is being paid as, a starting point guard. He sees himself as a No. 1 or No. 2 option. Not a role player.
That said, I am sure Joe Dumars has made inquiries about him. As I wrote in the Burning Questions that went up on the website Tuesday, James and Nazr Mohammed both signed mid-level exception contracts last summer, James for four years and Mohammed for five. James has been benched in Minnesota. Minnesota wants front court help. So, there is a chance. But listen, Kevin McHale is going to do all he can NOT to trade James to the Pistons. First of all, he has to think he can get a better deal. Second, why would he want to help the coach he fired two years ago (Flip Saunders) win a championship? Dumars will have to work some magic to make that deal happen.
I don't think McHale should be convinced he can get a better deal: if James is a better player than Mohammed, why did he sign the same contract but for one less year? And while Mohammed's performance in the first half of the season has certainly hurt his perceived value around the league as compared to a few months ago, can't the same be said even more so for James, who's seen his scoring halved to 10 points per game as well as experienced marked drops in his FG% and 3FG%?
The McHale/Saunders angle is interesting, but I doubt it's a priority for McHale, whose own job security is a concern if he doesn't get the T'Wolves into the playoffs this year (and perhaps even if he does). Plus, it's always better to trade out of conference, especially in Minnesota's case where the T'Wolves are hanging onto the No. 8 seed by a thread (it'd be silly to trade with a current 9-15 seed since that team could end up pushing the T'Wolves out of playoff contention).
If McHale were debating between two comparable offers from Eastern Conference teams, maybe he goes out of his way to snub Saunders. But if he's deciding between comparable offers from a Western team and an Eastern team, he has to go with the East, right?
When James is traded to the Jazz at the deadline (that's my prediction, at least) this will all be moot, but it makes for good conversation in the interim.