The NBA trade deadline came and went, and the Pistons opted against joining the fun. That's not necessarily a bad thing for fans -- shameless plug: go read Sean's "10 reasons Pistons fans should be excited." For a player like Charlie Villanueva, though? Detroit's inaction puts him in an uncomfortable position: forgotten at the end of the bench, without a chance to audition for his next contract.
But wait! If he's willing to sacrifice a bit of the remaining money he's owed this year -- and the Pistons are willing to pay him to go away now instead of waiting until the end of the year -- there's still a chance he can gain his freedom this season in the form of a buyout and perhaps latch on with a contender looking to bolster its bench with a stretch four.
Nobody knows if the Pistons front office would consider making such an offer, but if they want to explore that option, Villanueva is willing to listen. From Vinnie Goodwill of the Detroit News:
"Anything’s possible. Right now, it is what it is," Villanueva said. "I wish I could help this team in any way possible, but they’re going in a different direction. It’s part of the business, but if it presented itself, that’s something we’d look at, for sure."
To put in perspective what this decision would actually cost, MLive.com's David Mayo crunched the numbers
A buyout could prove too expensive for Villanueva to accept. He makes about $105,000 per game, so even if the Pistons bought him out after this three-game homestand with 25 games remaining -- they currently have 28 games left -- Villanueva would have to balance their offer against his $2.6 million remaining salary at that stage.
Surely there's some middle ground to be had, right? With nine years of service, he'd be eligible for $1.316 million if he were forced to settle for the league minimum. Is it worth gambling several hundred thousand that he might earn more if he could prove himself down the stretch? That's a decision both Villanueva and the Detroit's front office needs to make.
Now your thoughts.