The Pistons sent shock waves through their locker room moments before Wednesday's game against the Pacers with the news they had traded away longtime veteran Tayshaun Prince and fourth-year forward Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies and received point guard Jose Calderon from the Toronto Raptors.
Calderon's expiring contract ($10.5 million) was certainly a key motivation for Pistons president Joe Dumars, who has very quietly gone about making over this team, setting them up to be a key player the offseason.
Come July 1, the Pistons will have $35 million in committed salary — or about $25 million in cap space if the league's cap doesn't move upward.
With Prince's $6.7 million and Daye's $2.9 million coming off the books, they're taking in more salary with Calderon so it's not likely they'll make another deal this season unless it's even money across the board.
A few players have performance bonuses that could be attained, so taking on another salary could push them near luxury-tax territory, something owner Tom Gores wants no part of.
But with the Collective Bargaining Agreement starting more punitive penalties to taxpaying teams next season — at a two-for-one penalty for every dollar over the tax (it's dollar-for-dollar this season) — the Pistons will be waiting with open arms in the offseason to take on good players teams can no longer afford to keep.
It's the same strategy that resulted in All-Star James Harden landing in Houston as opposed to staying in Oklahoma City, and what facilitated the blockbuster deal the Pistons involved themselves in Wednesday.
This summer's free-agent crop isn't very impressive, being highlighted by Atlanta's Josh Smith, Dallas' O.J. Mayo and Oklahoma City's Kevin Martin. Smith wants a maximum deal, and others in the first tier likely will command more than their actual value, making it a dangerous proposition in the long-term.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130201/SPORTS0102/302010355#ixzz2JewdEDL8
Moves free up cash for Pistons' future
Detroit News | Feb 1