Hollinger's PER Diem: Nov. 4, 2008

So we have some unfinished business to discuss from the big trade -- namely, what will happen to Antonio McDyess?

Basically, three primary possibilities exist. He can retire, he can play for the Nuggets at his current salary or he can accept a buyout at a discount to his current salary. Two other, less-likely options also are possible, but we'll get to those in a minute.

First, retiring is preposterous, because McDyess is still productive and has about $12 million in guaranteed money coming his way if he slips on a uniform. The second option is a possibility, but perhaps it's a distant one, given McDyess' displeasure with the trade.

Which takes us to option three -- buying out McDyess at a discount. Incentives to do this come from all sides, but much depends on how strong the Pistons' interest would be in bringing back McDyess.

Presumably, McDyess would like to end up making somewhere near the equivalent of his former salary and still would like to be paid this year and next year -- as is guaranteed if he were to simply report in Denver.

And presumably, the Nuggets would be far more amenable to buying out McDyess if the discount was large enough to put them under the luxury tax -- which it would be if he agreed to forgo approximately $9 million in salary, which is more than half of the $13 million left on his deal.

But McDyess would not be able to recoup that money with the Pistons. Because Detroit already used part of its midlevel exception to sign Kwame Brown, McDyess would be eligible for only a biannual exception deal that would pay him about $3.9 million over the two years.

So basically, if Dice wants to stay in Detroit, it's likely to cost him about $5 million.

On the other hand, he might be upset at the team for trading him -- especially because, as per the rules, he can't collect a check from Detroit for 30 days before he re-signs. That could induce him to check behind door No. 4 -- signing with another team entirely. Scanning around for contenders who still have most of their midlevel exception left, one team jumps off the page: the Lakers. Would they be willing to bring in McDyess at a salary that could make him whole? If so, one imagines McDyess could suffer through two winters in Southern California.

Finally, the fifth option. Denver can trade him to a third team, as long as it's a one-for-one deal (otherwise, the Nuggets have to wait 90 days). Presumably, this would happen only with McDyess' agreement, as well as the third team's, but it opens the floor wider as far as a future home for McDyess is concerned.

Thus, this all basically comes down to Antonio McDyess. He can play in Denver and be well-compensated, play in Detroit after waiting 30 days and be less-compensated or, perhaps, play in a third city and have his cake and eat it, too. Given the complexities, I suspect it might be a few days before we know the answer.

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.