Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Darko... Cato... Darko... Cato... ?

Oh, if only I had written a blog entry about the rumored Darko trade yesterday, instead of slipping it in the comments yesterday. (Great discussion, though.)

As Big Al said, it's probably more pertinent to discuss scenarios that could actually happen and could impact this year's team, rather than drive yourself crazy over "what ifs." So here we go: Would you trade Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo to Orlando for Kelvin Cato and a first-round pick in this year's draft?

My first thought was, "Absolutely not!" How does that make the Pistons better? In fact, it weakens the team because, as Big Al also mentioned, they'd be short a back-up point guard. They already have Cato on their roster. His name's Dale Davis. And if you wouldn't trade Arroyo for Cato straight up, or Darko for a first-round pick, why would you make this deal? Orlando gets the better players. It looks even worse when you consider that the selection would be "lottery protected," meaning if it was among the top five or seven picks, the Magic would keep it.

And that's not even addressing the fact that you'd be giving up on the second overall pick in the 2003 draft over only three seasons.

Then it was pointed out to me that I was missing the true reason for the deal. No, it doesn't help this year's team. But it could help down the line by creating space under the Pistons' salary cap. $8.5 million of space, to be exact, in the form of Cato's expiring contract. And that money would help Detroit re-sign free agent to-be Ben Wallace, as well as help pick up more free agent help next season.

So is the deal worth making under that context? I'm no salary cap expert, so I don't know if Detroit will already have enough salary cap room to re-sign Wallace. I believe they would, based on what I found. But that depends on whether or not Ben wants a "max" contract. (And there are rumors Chicago might be willing to give him that kind of deal.) Then the Pistons have to ask themselves if Wallace is worth that kind of money. (That argument is a whole other blog entry.)

I still say it's not a good trade. Detroit's giving up assets and receiving none in return. If Joe D has other trades worked out to supplement this deal, then it looks better. (Anyone giving up a point guard? How about you, Toronto? Would you trade Mike James, even though he's your best player right now?) And I think it's now become clear that there are enough questions about this season that they have to be addressed before the Pistons can look at next season and beyond. Of course, that could be why I'm typing this instead of working as a NBA GM.

Nine days and counting until the NBA trade deadline...

▪▪ Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything in the Orlando newspapers about this deal. They're more curious about Steve Francis possibly getting traded.



  • At February 14, 2006 3:01 PM, Blogger Big Al said…

    Listening to the radio yesterday, it seemed like most of the local sports talk show hosts would have made this trade immeadiately. But I still don't get it. If it could be done without Arroyo, or get a third team involved to bring in a point guard, then I seriously consider the Orlando offer. Otherwise, no dice.

    You're right, Ben Wallace's upcoming free agency and deciding if he's worth a max contract is the subject no one on the Pistons wants to bring up. I bet he's willing to give Detroit a home team discount, but how much of one?

    Mike James sure looks like the one that got away, doesn't he? It'd be great to have him back, but considering how he's currently playing, Totonto would never give him up, and I doubt James would accept a trade to a team where he'd be a backup anyway.

  • At February 14, 2006 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The partial protection is new to me and may be a deal breaker depending on it's range.

    One more thing. Explain to me how a top ten pick and cap room is not considered 'assets'? Especially with your obvious loose definition that includes Arroyo and Darko. Which to me is like saying Kevin Federline is a rapper. While Technically true its not saying much.

  • At February 14, 2006 5:07 PM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    It probably is a loose definition, but by "asset," I mean someone who can actually make a contribution on the floor.

    Arroyo's play might drive us all crazy, but he's still giving the team 13 minutes a game to spell Chauncey or Rip. And he's played in every one of Detroit's games, unlike Cato, who's played in roughly half of Orlando's.

    Of course, Darko's not playing at all. But who's to say that top 10 pick would, either? Either way, you're banking on potential, upside, etc. With Darko, at least you know he's a player that some other teams want.

  • At February 14, 2006 11:23 PM, Blogger twins15 said…

    Yeah, I don't really like this deal either for Detroit. Lindsey Hunter does not really inspire confidence at this point, and I still think Darko can be solid in time. I just don't think it makes too much sense to trade away your backup PG/SG for basically nothing that will help you this year, especially considering Detroit is one of the main contenders for the title.

    By the way, I linked this post of yours in my blog. ;)

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