Detroit should want him, but whether they need everything that comes with his play is a question for Dumars. Stuckey’s worth dives when the ball is out of his hands. Kuester couldn’t save the Pistons last year – or his job – in part because he couldn’t manage the mercurial Stuckey. Among his worst hits from last year were a benching in November against Atlanta for ignoring Kuester, refusing to enter the game in the fourth quarter in April against Chicago, and not showing up for practices and mocking Kuester from the bench later in the season.
If Detroit wants to pay him between a mid-level and a Gordon, Stuckey may feel his best offer is on the open market, where Detroit can match any offer sheet he signs; in effect, he and Rose could force the Pistons’ hand and truly judge their loyalty. The problem is any testing of the market will be met with reluctance stemming from leaguewide memories of his attitude problems.
There’s another scenario that could be the best option — even though it’s the one Stuckey surely doesn’t want and could leave the team exposed, as well.
The scenario is a one-year qualifying offer of $3.8 million. It allows Stuckey to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and in the best of both worlds, sets up long-term payday for the him and a short-term playoff spot for the team this year.
He’d be underpaid now, but he’d certainly have something to play for, whatever his clashes with previous management. There’s no question Stuckey is good enough to be a catalyst for the Pistons this year, under the right contract. It’s just a matter of opinion — Dumars’ or Stuckey’s — how the “right” contract is defined.
What do you think is a fair deal for Stuckey?
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