Darrin (Mio, Mich.): Carmelo to Detroit? Can it happen?
Langlois: If Anthony is truly intent on leaving Denver, speculation that seems to take on a little more credibility by the week, then the other half of the speculation " that he’s just as intent on landing with the Knicks " has to be seriously considered by any potential Denver trade partner. At the very least, you’d want assurances from his agent before agreeing to a deal that he would look favorably at a fair-market extension offer. The Pistons had serious discussions with Denver about Anthony two summers ago, before eventually coming back to the Billups-Iverson trade. It’s anybody’s guess what direction Denver would choose to go should management move forward with plans to trade Anthony since the Nuggets currently do not have a general manager. Would they want veteran talent to capitalize on the few prime years Chauncey Billups has left? If so, then perhaps Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince would hold attraction, though their combined salaries (roughly $23.5 million) would mean Denver would have to add at least $2 million (roughly Arron Afflalo’s deal) to Anthony’s $17 million to make the deal work. I think it’s more likely Denver would ask the Pistons for Prince and his expiring $11 million deal plus young talent " maybe Austin Daye or Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe and a No. 1 pick. If you’re the Pistons, you have to know that Anthony would be here for the long haul before cutting that deep into the future.
Randall (New York City): With Carmelo wanting out of Denver to go to the Knicks, do you think the Pistons could get involved and trade Rip and Maxiell to Denver for a first-round pick, get Eddy Curry from the Knicks and have Carmelo go to New York? The Knicks don’t want Curry any more and with Tay and his contract off the books after next year, it can give us flexibility plus a first-round pick. Ever happen?
Langlois: There’s not enough in that deal to grab Denver’s attention, Randall, though you’re right to think that the Knicks could use the attractiveness of Curry’s expiring contract as part of a three-way trade to add Anthony. They might have to wait until closer to the trade deadline to do it, though, when Curry will have less than $5 million still coming to him.
Shawn (Toledo, Ohio): Do you think Joe Dumars would trade away Rip for an expiring contract? According to the ESPN trade machine, Peja for Rip would work. The Pistons would have a ton of money coming off the books at the end of the season between him and Prince. The Hornets are trying to impress Paul, so I think they would go for it.
Langlois: I wouldn’t rule something like that out, Shawn, though my guess is Joe D would prefer trading Hamilton to a team with a trade exception if it came to a choice of one or the other, as opposed to a more conventional talent-for-talent trade. And there are some teams out there holding trade exceptions after the summer we just experienced. The benefit of a deal like that " which would then give the Pistons a trade exception " is it gives you the luxury of time and the flexibility to deal with 29 other teams, not just the one that is interested in acquiring your player, Hamilton in your example. So let’s say the Pistons traded Hamilton to one of the teams with a trade exception and got back little " perhaps a future No. 1 pick, for instance " in the here and now. But the trade exception the Pistons would get from such a deal would allow them to take back a player from any team in the league for one year, as long as his contract is no more than 100 percent plus $100,000 of the value of Hamilton’s deal (or approximately $12.6 million). That means that any team in the league that wants to shed a contract at the trade deadline, for instance, whether it’s because they’ve fallen out of the playoff race and decide to rebuild or merely to cut payroll in anticipation of the new collective bargaining agreement, could send a player making that much or less to the Pistons without the Pistons needing to send anything back in terms of talent or money, necessarily.
Clark (Santa Cruz, Calif.): If Rip and Tay play well and stay healthy, do you think Dallas would be interested in swapping either for Chandler at the trade deadline? I question whether Chandler will accept a backup role after starting for Team USA and all reports are that he is in good health.
Langlois: Impossible to project what Dallas will be of a mind to do at the trade deadline, Clark. I suspect they took on Chandler after re-upping with Brendan Haywood for huge money (six years, $53 million) with an eye toward matching up with the Lakers’ size in the West. The Mavs have options at the wings " Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd (who guards shooting guards almost exclusively now) and Roddy Beaubois. Nobody among them is quite like either Prince or Hamilton, though, so it’s possible either of them would be attractive enough to the Mavs to part with Chandler, I suppose. But that would leave them short a big man, unless Alexis Ajinca blossoms unexpectedly. One more thing: Even though the Mavs paid big for Haywood, I don’t think that automatically makes him their starting center. The Mavs might well decide Chandler is a better fit in their starting lineup alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
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