Gerald Henderson has been rumored to be on the Detroit Pistons’ wish list since as far back as February. The Charlotte Bobcats’ wing may now be available, too, with Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that “Charlotte’s exploring sign-and-trade possibilities with multiple teams.”
Could the Pistons be on that list? It’s entirely possible.
Detroit still has those always-valuable expiring contracts of Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva to dangle as trade bait. Stuckey’s one-year deal might make the most sense for the Bobcats, since he plays a similar shooting guard-type role to Henderson.
Henderson’s currently a restricted free agent, but it appears that he and the Bobcats are having no luck figuring out a long-term deal. The 25-year-old Duke product scored 15.5 points and shot 33 percent from beyond the arc last season.
The Pistons have made upgrading their shooting guard/small forward spots a priority this offseason, from the drafting of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the signings of Josh Smith and Italian star Luigi Datome. Both Smith and Datome, however, are slotted for the 3-spot (with Smith also expected to chip in at power forward, along with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond).
Aside from the rookie Caldwell-Pope, who’s off to a shaky start in the NBA Summer League, the Pistons do not have a true shooting guard. Brandon Knight, who played well there last season, seems destined to open the year as the Pistons’ point guard, possibly with Stuckey at the 2.
Henderson would be a piece that fits the puzzle much better. He would could hold down the starting shooting guard role for the year, as Caldwell-Pope assimilated to the NBA, and has enough versatility to slide to the small-forward spot whenever Smith moves into the paint.
The Pistons still have upwards of $4 million in spending money under the salary cap at the moment; Henderson’s qualifying offer from the Bobcats as an RFA is for $4.2 million in 2013.
However, if the Pistons pulled off a sign-and-trade deal here that included, for example, Stuckey heading to Charlotte, it would clear Stuckey’s $8 million-plus 2013 salary. So, the Pistons could ship out Stuckey, add an arguably more reliable Henderson and free up additional spending money.
The Bobcats no doubt would want more than just Stuckey or Villanueva for Henderson, and Charlotte already owns Detroit’s Round 1 pick in 2014 — it’s a top-8 protected pick, so if Detroit lands at No. 9 or lower, the Bobcats would inherit the spot.
Still, this might be worth exploring for Joe Dumars, as he continues his overhaul of the Pistons’ roster.