While nothing is certain for many players on the Detroit Pistons roster, it’s appearing more likely that Charlie Villaneuva will be back with the team for one main reason: They don’t have any choice.
There’s no secret the team would like to unload Villanueva, who’s entering the fifth and final NBA year of his $35 million contract. It was one of the worst moves team president Joe Dumars ever made as Villanueva’s production has gone down since he came to the team. But they’re stuck with him because of their financial obligations.
Villanueva has the option of declining the $8.5 million player option by June 30 and becoming an unrestricted free agent. He has made it known that he plans on picking up the option as it’s obviously way too much money for him to let go.
He’s obviously acting the way anyone would with that kind of money at stake. The Pistons were hoping someone else would pick up Villanueva, but his numbers don’t make him attractive for $8.5 million, even though he’s only 28. He was coming off an injury-plagued 2011-12 campaign this past season, but he saw action in 69 games for Detroit with an average of 15.88 minutes a game and shot 37.7 percent from the floor. He averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Prior to coming to Detroit, Villanueva averaged 26.9 minutes, 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds a game with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he hasn’t been the same since.
The Pistons just have to hope Villanueva stays healthy and puts in some quality minutes so they get their $8.5 million worth.