The trade deadline is two weeks away but there's not much buzz surrounding the Pistons.
Their two biggest assets -- second-year center Greg Monroe and rookie point guard Brandon Knight -- are the main pieces of their rebuilding process and virtually untouchable. Everyone else on the roster is available, but the Pistons are only interested in deals that would deliver young talent and/or draft picks without adversely affecting their long-term salary cap space.
One thing is for certain: G Rodney Stuckey isn't going anywhere. Not because he's untouchable, but because he's ineligible to be traded. He re-signed with the club late in training camp and the NBA rule prohibiting teams from trading recently signed free agents would still be in effect through the March 15 deadline.
Stuckey missed most of camp while president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and Stuckey's representatives negotiated a three-year contract.
Beyond that, the Pistons have more liabilities than assets on a team that's 12-25, even after thumping Charlotte 109-94 Wednesday. Giving Tayshaun Prince, who turned 32 Tuesday, a four-year contract to stay in Detroit increasingly looks like a bad move. His scoring average (12.2) is the lowest in eight years, while his field-goal percentage (40.6) and three-point percentage (32.0) are career lows. It's hard to see a contender willing to pick up the three remaining years of his contract.
Ben Gordon has not been the impact player or go-to scorer the Pistons were expecting and he's got $25.6 million remaining on his contract after this season. Charlie Villanueva has been injured most of the season and is owed $16.5 million during the next two seasons. It would be a major coup for Dumars to trade either one without getting saddled with a bad contract in return.
The rest of the Pistons roster is filled with role players and aging veterans. Add all those factors together and the Pistons are unlikely to make a trade. They haven't made a deadline move since sending little-used guard Alex Acker to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2009.
Their last deadline deal of any significance was a four-player trade in 2006 which sent colossal disappointment Darko Milicic to Orlando. That netted a first-round pick that they eventually used to draft Stuckey. Despite the lack of rumors, it's still an uneasy time for some players.
"You see it on every team," said Coach Lawrence Frank, whose team plays at Memphis on Saturday. "That's the thing. Everyone has the same problems. It comes down to whose causing the problems and how they're being handled. You saw it last year with all the rumors and the guys who were impacted. It's human nature, so you might as well be honest about it."
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