In the midst of his seventh NBA season, the veteran has thrived in his new role as Detroit’s sixth man, and has arguably had his most productive season to date. He’s averaging 14 ppg in just 25 minutes per contest and is shooting 45 percent from the field, which is a career best.
Stuckey has the potential to be a solid contributor in the NBA for years to come, but the Pistons should think carefully before issuing him a new contract. There are those who believe in the “contract year phenomenon,” which is the idea that professional athletes exceed their usual performance level in their final year of their contract only to slip back to normalcy once they achieve a hefty payday.
Obviously, there’s no way to tell if Stuckey fits this particular description until the 2014-15 season. However, if he keeps up his current rate of play, he may ask for a contract similar to the one he has now, which paid him $8.5 million each of the past three seasons.
Although Stuckey is arguably the team’s most productive player, Detroit shouldn’t bite on giving him a huge deal.
The Pistons have several holes to fill this offseason and will have a decent amount of salary cap space in order to accomplish this. If Detroit ends up holding on to forward Greg Monroe, they will surely be giving him a new deal in the $40-$50 million range.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be a smart idea for management to shell out big money to Stuckey as well. If he likes playing in Detroit and is willing to see the end of this rebuilding project, a compromise could be in order that allows Stuckey to earn $4-$5 million per season.
If the veteran prefers to get one last major deal in his NBA career, he may choose to look elsewhere. Although it would be disappointing for the Pistons to lose him based on his recent productivity, it’s something they may just have to accept.