The Detroit News
Auburn Hills — Trade season is over, which means the present Pistons roster will be what you see for the rest of the regular season, right?
Not exactly, if Charlie Villanueva gets a buyout of the remaining amount of his contract, enabling him to latch onto another team where he might get more minutes. His expiring contract didn't fetch the suitors the Pistons believed it would — a league-wide trend, actually — but a buyout is another option.
“Anything’s possible. Right now, it is what it is,” Villanueva said. “I wish I could help this team in any way possible, but they’re going in a different direction. It’s part of the business, but if it presented itself, that’s something we’d look at, for sure.”
Villanueva’s close friend, former Piston Austin Daye, got a second chance when the Toronto Raptors traded him at the deadline to the San Antonio Spurs, a franchise that has put D-Leaguers like Danny Green on the map.
The two talked Thursday, and Villanueva reminded Daye he has an opportunity in front of him, probably one Villanueva would love to have.
“I’m so happy for him. So happy,” Villanueva said. “He’s on one of the better teams in the league and he’s gonna get an opportunity to give him a chance. I told him, ‘This is your chance to shine. Everybody can forget about what happens in the past if you shine now.’”
Orlando’s Glen Davis had been on the trade market, but when the buzzer sounded on the deadline Thursday afternoon, he and the Magic negotiated a buyout on the remaining $13 million owed Davis over the next two seasons.
Considering half the season is over, more than two-thirds of the $8.5 million due Villanueva has already been paid. He also hasn’t made a public stink about not getting minutes, so there’s probably a little hope his professionalism will earn himself a “get out of a jail free” card in the coming future.
It probably makes sense for both parties to part ways at this point.
The Pistons could save a little money and Villanueva would likely give up some cash in the hopes to set himself up for a contract next season.
The two sides have until March 1 to negotiate a buyout, giving Villanueva enough time to find a team.
Villanueva has been around for plenty of foolishness since his arrival. He was one of the few players who didn’t participate in a team boycott of a 2011 shoot-around in Philadelphia a day after the trade deadline.
“I’ve thought about that (stuff). But there’s always a right and wrong way to do things, and I’ll always do the right thing,” Villanueva said. “I’m a professional. It’s a privilege to play in this league. My situation ain’t so bright right now.”
With the Pistons going back to the Will Bynum-Andre Drummond combination, Villanueva could be valuable on that second unit because he at least poses the threat of shooting, which spreads the floor.
Bynum has certainly been vocal about the benefits of playing Villanueva, who has played more than 10 minutes just seven times this season and only appeared in 14 games.
“I’m not gonna say nothing,” Villanueva said. “As players we talk about it. Has it been looked at? No. But I feel like it’s something that can definitely work.”
But he’s not counting on a look.
“Can it (work)? For sure. I want to play. I want to help this team win. If it’s not here, then I’m still young, I have a lot of years of playing left. I want to play.”
After reiterating several times he’s not a coach, Villnueva said he’s “past frustration. I’ve just accepted it. It’s part of the business.
“It’s hard because I love this game. I’m very passionate about the game. You have to come to grips. They’ve made their decision, it doesn’t matter what I do in practice, what work I put in.”
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