I'm still in shock, and until this is official (which apparently will be any minute now), I'm not assuming anything. But, for the sake of argument, if this trade goes down the Pistons will be major players on the free agent market next summer. Consider this: Allen Iverson (who makes $20.8 million this year), Rasheed Wallace ($13.68 million), Walter Herrmann ($2 million) will be unrestricted free agents, and Rip Hamilton ($10.56 million) has the option to become one. All in all, that's at least $36.48 million -- and potentially as much as $47 million! -- coming off the cap.
Of course, the Pistons are already over the cap, so it's not like they can spend all of that. But if you take Billups, McDyess and Samb out of the picture, and also remove the three other soon-to-be unrestricted free agents (Rasheed, Herrmann and Alex Acker), the Pistons are on the hook for just under $38 million next season. And if you remove Rip Hamilton from that total, it's just $27.3 million.
The salary cap for next year isn't set yet, but a safe estimate is probably $60 million. In other words, if this trade goes through, the Pistons will have at least $22 million and as much as $32.7 million to spend next year. The numbers are rough estimates, but you get the point: it's a lot of jack.
You know the summer of 2010 (LeBron! D-Wade! Bosh!) that everyone talks about? Detroit is suddenly a player. Tom Ziller noted this on FanHouse, and As Henry Abbott breaks it down even more on TrueHoop:
Down, the road the Pistons becomes the driving force of big-time free agency as soon as Iverson's contract comes off the books next summer. The Pistons will combine a winning environment, one of the most respected general managers in the game, and -- depending on salary cap levels that are yet to be set, and extensions that may yet be given to existing Pistons -- likely enough cap space to sign two free agent players to max contracts over the next summers of 2009 and 2010.
Feast your eyes on this list of players who will be available. 2010 free agents include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Ray Allen, Tyson Chandler, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Joe Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Redd.
The two that jump out to me are, of course, Chris Bosh and LeBron James. They played together nicely on Team USA, and now Dumars can at least entertain the notion of signing not one of those two, but both.
Bosh and LeBron? It's not going to happen. But it could. Wrap your head around that.