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Dumars almost traded Tayshaun Prince … for Stephen Jackson?

Update from Chris McCosky's blog:

Here was Joe Dumars' response to a San Jose Mercury News blog about trade talks involving Tayshaun Prince and Stephen Jackson.

"A complete lie," he said.


Yes, Stephen Jackson. As in, Stephen "jump in the Palace stands and start throwing haymakers" Jackson. I have a hard time wrapping my head around this, but that's the scuttlebutt put forth by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.

Some background: there's an on-going power struggle in Oakland between Warriors president Robert Rowell and GM Chris Mullin. Basically, Rowell has undermined Mullin at every turn, making top-down decisions that often contradict what Mullin is trying to accomplish. As Kawakami explains, that includes a potential deal involving Jackson:

Rowell’s personal intervention to make sure Stephen Jackson gets his maximum contract extension, even though SJax still had two years left on his deal and is 30 now.

The Jackson thing gets weirder and weirder: I’ve heard from three NBA sources that Chris Mullin and Pistons boss Joe Dumars had continuing, open-ended discussions about a possible deal that would’ve focused on SJax moving to Detroit and Tayshaun Prince coming to the Warriors.

(Side editorial note: TAYSHAUN PRINCE? One of the 25 best, most versatile players in the league? Who is two years younger than SJax? Nothing against SJax and what he means to this team… but… Tayshaun?)

To be clear: There was no agreement. No papers being drawn up. Just talks. Interested, directed talks. That doesn’t seem like a fair deal (for Detroit), so there would’ve had to be other players or picks involved.

But Dumars is still looking to change up the Pistons’ chemistry and Prince has three years and $30M left on his deal, so moving him for SJax’s two years and $15M would free up some future cash. (Bringing SJax back to the Palace at Auburn Hills would be… interesting.)

The two sides started talking last summer and agreed to keep talking up to February 2009 trade deadline, if nothing else occurred.

So what's occurred since then? Rowell went behind Mullin's back and started talking about a hefty extension with Jackson, which almost certainly would scare Dumars (and any other sane GM) off. Don't get me wrong, I like what Jackson brings to the table -- he's nearly as strong of a defender, he's versatile and more assertive on offense (sometimes to a fault -- he shot just 40% last year, largely the result of jacking up 501 threes).

Jackson averages about $7.4 million over this year and next; Prince averages about $10.3 over the next three. Obviously the Pistons would be getting another player and/or pick, but still, moving one of the most respected Pistons for a guy who literally went after fans sitting in the VIP seats at the Palace would take a LOT of PR spin. (That said, as a fan of the NBA, Tay would flourish playing Nellieball. I wouldn't want to see it, but I'm just saying.)

That said, take all of this with a huge grain of salt. Dumars talked to a lot of GMs last summer, so there's probably dozens of similar rumors that would be just as shocking were they ever to see the light of day. But still ... wow.