With a lot of cap space to use and not enough players who can generate points, the Detroit Pistons are hoping they can persuade the Toronto Raptors to agree to a trade deal that will give them, in return, Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva, with their expiring contracts.
The Raptors aren’t expecting a lot to happen next season in terms of climbing out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference. With Gay being owed $37.1 million for the next couple of seasons, including $17.8 next year, the Raptors would prefer to try and move him, regretting the trade they made for him last season when the Memphis Grizzlies were shopping for buyers.
The Pistons tried acquiring Gay back then and missed. With over $20 million in cap space, the Pistons are hoping to land Gay and another high-profile player, Josh Smith probably. Both Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey are the team’s highest paid players, making $8.5 million next season, the last on their contracts.
Villanueva averaged only 6.8 points per game last season, getting less than 16 minutes a night. He began his career with the Raptors (a 7th overall pick in 2005, but was moved quite quickly to the Milwaukee Bucks). Stuckey is another first round pick (15th overall) who some thought was going to be the future of the Pistons when he was drafted in 2007, but the move from point guard to shooting guard hasn’t agreed with him too well, as his minutes and numbers (11.5 points per game last season) have slowly been dropping for the last three seasons.
The Pistons are quite tired of being out of the postseason conversation for so long. Their goals of getting at least one big-name free agent, while adding Gay through a trade and re-signing Jose Calderon (quite desirable around the league) should propel them into playoff contention, especially in the East, where finishing with less than .500 is often enough to be in the top 8, and with the Bucks falling apart while the Celtics and Hawks weakening substantially, they have a great shot if they make the Gay deal work.