Had the Detroit Pistons successfully traded Richard Hamilton to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the whole mess of yesterday's protest could have been avoided. Like the protest, which many believe was orchestrated in part by Hamilton, the reason the trade didn't go through was also Rip's fault.
The trade would have given Hamilton not only a way out of Detroit, but an immediate way out of Cleveland. As part of the trade, the Cavs were going to buy out Hamilton either immediately or in the summer, according to ESPN's Ric Bucher. If the buyout happened immediately, Hamilton could have taken his money from that and still landed somewhere else to finish the rest of the season. (The Celtics were reportedly interested in adding him if he became a free agent, for example.)
Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears' reports that the buyout with Cleveland would have been worth $16 million. Originally it was believed to be less than that, but this news makes Hamilton look even worse, as MLive's Justin Rogers explains.
Under his current contract, Hamilton is owed approximately $25 million in guaranteed money, and close to $29 million if he plays the contract out. That includes the remaining $3-4 million from this season, $12.6 million next year, and $9 million in guaranteed of the $12.6 million for 2012-13 season.
I wrote Thursday that you can't reasonably expect a player to sacrifice millions in a buyout, especially at the age of 33. But the argument should be reconsidered with this new information.
Based on the buyout number of $16 million and what Hamilton could have made the rest of the season with another team, it's possible he could have made up the difference of his Pistons contract next summer during free agency. There's no guarantee obviously, but at the very least he could have left the Pistons, head coach John Kuester and all of this drama behind. Instead he's still here and the drama is getting even more prevalent.