According to the Detroit Pistons, Rip Hamilton watching the entirety of Wednesday’s game from the bench as his name was being tossed around in Carmelo Anthony trade rumors was a complete coincidence. Here’s the report, courtesy of Mlive.com’s Chris Iott:
A Detroit Pistons source said Wednesday and repeated today that the benching of Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton was a coaching decision — and nothing more than that.
There has been some speculation — and at least one news report — that Joe Dumars ordered the benching of Hamilton to prevent his veteran guard from being injured because of the possibility that he could soon be traded to the New Jersey Nets.
But the source said that is entirely untrue and that the decision to bench Hamilton was 100 percent coach John Kuester’s.
According to several published reports, discussions continue about a possible trade that would send Hamilton — along with Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups — to the Nets.
So one report said that the Pistons benched Hamilton to keep him from getting hurt, which would severely reduce his trade value. Now the Pistons are saying that Hamilton was benched because the coach of the Pistons thought playing him would not help the Pistons win, which would hurt his trade value if it were true. If the Pistons really are trying to trade Hamilton, this is an odd official stance to be taking. This Carmelo stuff just gets weirder by the day.