Here's a silly Chauncey Billups scenario coming out of Orange County:
If the Clippers are willing to ante up for Billups, 30, they can bid big with sign-and-trade chips besides Corey Maggette: If Minnesota's first-round pick isn't in the top 10, the Clippers will have that pick and their own in the middle of the first round in one of the deepest drafts in recent history. Billups, who has said he is open to leaving Detroit, would be a dream solution and has the drive to push the Clippers into true title contention.
It's so ridiculous I almost didn't bother mentioning it, but I just so happen to be in a hole-poking mood:
Hole #1: Why would Detroit want Maggette? He's a talented swingman who can get to the hoop, but Detroit already has a couple of guys that play his position (namely, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince) that they happen to like. Plus, they already have three other guys even if Billups leaves that will make an eight-figure salary next year -- why would they add a fourth to their bench? Carlos Delfino is not Corey Maggette, but at $1.8 million next year he offers more bang for the buck at less than a one-fifth Maggette's salary.
Hole #2: More draft picks? The Pistons already have three picks in the upcoming draft, including two relatively low first-rounders, and he's proposing we get one or two more? This is a deep draft, but getting a third mid-to-low first-round pick does nothing unless it's part of a bigger deal, i.e. Detroit packaging all these picks to move high into the lottery -- which I doubt will happen considering Greg Oden and Kevin Durant (assuming they come out) are close to once in a generation players who won't be traded.
Otherwise, stockpiling picks is useless simply because there won't be a roster spot for all those rookies, let alone a rotation spot: even if Chauncey leaves, the only spots opening up will be Dale Davis' (he's gone for sure), maybe Flip Murray's (who at least says he's not opting out of his contract), and likely Chris Webber's (barring another hometown discount). Sure, Lindsey Hunter may decide to retire, but that decision certainly wouldn't be based on declining play considering he still does what does well.
Hole #3: Billups has said he'll entertain offers, but that consensus among those following team seems to be that he's simply looking to strengthen his negotiating position, not leave town.
Joe Dumars has already said money won't be an issue, so if Chauncey wants to return, he will. If Chauncey decides he'd prefer a change of scenery, well, of course the Pistons will attempt at least some kind of sign-and-trade, not only to get a comparable player but also to preserve the ability to make some moves without being constrained by the cap.
I haven't yet analyzed our cap figures for next year (where are you, Microwave? I know you probably have ...), but the Pistons won't want to get caught in the same position as this past summer, where Ben Wallace left and most of the money that was earmarked for him was suddenly unavailable because the Pistons were already over the cap. ((Quick and easy refresher: you can go over the cap to re-sign your own players. That's not completely accurate -- we won't be able to go over the cap to re-sign Chris Webber, since he just signed this year -- but that's the gist of it.)) But a sign-and-trade for an expensive and injury-prone bench player? Not going to happen.