Although it seems like a trend to give expensive veterans on bad teams a buyout so they can go play for a championship contender, it’s not very likely that the Detroit Pistons are going to go down that route and “help out” Tayshaun Prince.
Prince isn’t happy because after getting traded from the Grizzlies to the Boston Celtics, he believed he was going to get a buyout and become a free agent, available for contenting teams to sign and help out in some way to go for it all. The Pistons (and the Celtics as well actually) are in the playoff mix in the East, but Prince, an NBA champion in 2004 and finalist in 2005 with the Pistons, wasn’t hoping to end up playing for the Pistons this season,.
But Detroit don’t need to comply. They made this deal, letting go of a few players in a three-team trade, in order to keep Prince with them until the end of the season. Not because of his ability (averaging 7.6 points per game this season) and deteriorating defense, but a simple matter of cap space and mathematics. Prince clears $7.2 million from the books once he becomes a free agent, and the Pistons won’t be signing him next season.
Stan Van Gundy makes it perfectly clear that the Pistons have no intention of giving Prince a buyout, because it simply doesn’t make sense to trade for a player with a higher salary than the two guys they sent in exchange combined and then buy him out. The Pistons are already going to pay a lot of “empty” money after releasing Josh Smith earlier this season, a move that has worked out quite well for them on the floor.
I understand he didn’t get what he wanted but the question you’re asking should be asked of (Celtics president) Danny Ainge, not of us. We didn’t break any agreement with him. There’s no reason for us to buy him out. They could have bought him out if that’s what they wanted to do. We wouldn’t have traded for a guy to take on an additional $1.2 million to waive the guy. Why would we do that? And then we’d still need another guy at that position. If that were the case, we would have kept the guys we traded out and Boston could have waived him. I understand he’s upset because he was led to believe one thing but that’s certainly not on us.
Prince won’t retire at the end of this season. He’s about to turn 35, but he’s still capable of giving quality minutes to teams, probably contenders which seems to always be the goal for veteran players trying to taste success for one last time. But he has a chance to play a bit more for the team he is most known for being a part of, and although he might feel like he’s getting screwed in a game of economics, it makes no sense for anyone to assume the Pistons are going to buy out his contract.
Prince played for the Pistons from 2002 until getting traded midway through the 2012-2013 season to the Memphis Grizzlies. Midway through this season he got sent to the Boston Celtics in a big three-team trade, spending six weeks in Boston, averaging 8.4 points per game in only nine games before moving back to Detroit.