Rip Hamilton and Chris Wilcox have been fined by the Pistons for missing shootaround in a “sleep-in” protest yesterday, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. No word on possible penalties for the other three Pistons who missed shootaround, nor those who were late. (Update: Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey were both fined for being late. No fines for Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, or Ben Wallace who had legitimate excuses.)
Even stranger, Berger reports there is no indication that management will fire John Kuester despite this disaster. The Pistons instead will continue to work on a buyout offer. And that’s where things get really difficult. Because apparently, Hamilton’s already turned down such an offer before.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that before the deadline, the Pistons had arranged to finally trade Hamilton to the Cleveland Cavaliers using the Cavs’ trade exception. The Cavs would have then bought out Hamilton, and he would have had his choice of either the Bulls or Celtics to go and join a contender. Hamilton turned down the offer.
Yeah. Turned it down. After all this. After the screaming tirades and being benched and non-communication and all of that, Hamilton turned down a way out.
In the movie “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray’s character says “You make choices and you live with them” in reference to the fact that he no longer has to do so. Apparently Hamilton thinks he’s going to be able to wake up at the end of this season and do it all over again.
Stein also reports that internal sources claim the “protest” was overblown, that the missing practice players were mostly sick or not in attendance because of miscommunication. Until this whole thing is sorted out, count us in the skeptical category.
If Hamilton has actually turned down such an offer, even if he’s not getting the full amount (Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News reports the amount at $16 million of the $24 million the Pistons still owe him, plus he’d end up making whatever the Bulls or Celtics would pay him, he’s being ridiculous. You signed a contract and are owed the money as long as you play for the team. If you’re no longer willing to play for the team, you have to surrender some amount. If the team wants to bench you for your behavior, so be it. You get paid, they get their roster spot. Kuester’s obviously made this situation untenable.
But Hamilton needs to deal with reality, and act like a professional to reach a solution with the Pistons.